By now you’ll have heard about the fatal explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oilrig in the Gulf Of Mexio that is now leaking oil into the Gulf at an alarming rate. While efforts are made to prevent further leaked oil from the wellhead, a new app is helping members of the public as well as professionals report discoveries of oil on beaches and wildlife affected by oil.
App developer Intridea built Oil Reporter for Crisis Commons, an international volunteer network of tech and business professionals that provides tools and resources for crisis and disaster responders. Created in a few days using the Appcelerator Titanium platform, which converts web code into native iPhone apps, Oil Reporter enables members of the public as well as professionals to report oil on beaches and animals harmed by the spill. From within the free app, those wishing to help the recovery effort can upload pictures and videos, tag them with a GPS location and share them via social networks. The app also includes access to the Oil Reporter Twitter feed for live updates on the crisis and its recovery. For those wishing to sign up as a volunteer, the Oil Reporter app includes links and contact details for volunteer programs in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.
The app’s simple Report screen makes posting a report easy, with a text field to explain what you see, the option to add an image of your find and sliders to explain the level of oil and its effect on the wetlands. A drop down menu allows you to update on the effect the oil is having on the local wildlife. An additional Adopt-A-Beach option is coming soon which will offer training to those who wish to monitor a section of beach and provide updates via the web. No experience is required and you can sign up from the oilreporter.org website.
The Oil Reporter app has been built for iPhone and Android so far and interested organizations can use the existing Application Programming Interface (API) to create their own service or monitor their own recovery efforts.
Those wishing to help the recovery are asked not to touch anything they observe on beaches affected by the oil spill but simply to report it using the app or by calling (866) 448-5816. The app also needs GPS positioning in order to locate your observation and therefore requires you to turn on Location Services from your iPhone’s settings so that your report can be pinpointed on the Oil Reporter Reports page. All reports will be posted on the Oil Reporter RSS feed, found here, to avoid overlaps and help recovery teams reach affected areas. Intridea is also keen to point out that all data sent via the app will be kept private.
If you live near to an affected or likely to be affected area, downloading this application and using it if needed will play a key role in the cleanup of the oil spill which is currently leaking at least 5,000 barrels per day and poses a great risk to wildlife and local fishing industries.