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Google Mapping Natural Gas Leaks

July 17, 2014

Google and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) have entered a partnership to track possible natural gas pipe line leaks.  The partnership will be building upon the company’s existing Google Street View technology that is part of  Google Maps.  The goal would be to use innovative online maps to monitor the risk and track natural gas leaks.  The map, using the Google Street View and Maps services, will use new sensor and analytical technologies to track methane.  Methane, a prominent gas component in natural gas, heats up the earth 120 times more than carbon dioxide does.

Karin Tuxen-Bettman, a program manager for Google Earth Outreach, says that “This pilot project is meant to explore and understand the potential for EDF and others to map and visualize important environmental information in ways that help people understand both problems and solutions.”  This pilot project also includes efforts to use Google Street View technology to track emissions from cars.

Steven Hamburg, EDF’s chief scientist, also remarked stating that “Methane leaks are a pervasive challenge throughout the natural gas industry. This is an ideal chance to put new science to work and to solve a major real-world challenge.”  The partnership between Google and the EDF will greatly benefit energy efficiency, reduce risk and harm, help increase safety and improve infrastructure.

Google and EDF have launched this pilot program by running its natural gas observation maps on Boston, Ma; Staten Island, NY; and Indianapolis, IN.