Public Data Is the Future of Science Outreach

Ogle Earth has an interesting little piece on a project called OBIS-SEAMAP. This project tracks marine mammal, seabird and sea turtle data around the world. The really intersting thing about the site is that they make the exact same data they use available to the general public for download. The more expert GIS users can download an ESRI Shapefile while the general public can download a KML file for use in Google Earth. As Ogle Earth points out, this is a great model for getting the public in general and younger students specifically interested in science and scientific ideas.
I know I would have thought it was the coolest thing in the world when I was in school to be able to track and analyize data in the exact same way as leading scientists in the field. Who am I kidding? I
still think it’s the coolest thing in the world! 🙂