Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fun App Tracks Great Whites

I bought the app that enables users to track great whites as soon as I heard about it.

Expedition Great White is fun and it stirs the imagination.  It is also a bit gimmicky but that's ok, especially if it creates a curiosity and even better, an appreciation, for sharks.

Here I am riding a bus or hanging out in my living room and I can see on a good map where Amy or any other sharks in the program are hanging about.  I can see them swimming.  I can imagine the color of the water.

They seem to enjoy the waters off southern California and the Baja lately.  That might have something to do with the fact that the Marine Conservation Science Institute, which tagged the sharks and is selling the app for a mere four bucks, is located nearby.

To be "locked in", the fish must put their dorsal fin out of the water for at least a few minutes.  That's when satellites pick up the transmitter.  The app comes with other good stuff like video and a bunch of great facts about the sharks.

The only downside to the app is the shark attack feature.  A red fin on the screen indicates where a shark attack occurred.  One click and you see when the attack happened and whether it was fatal or not.

My thought is this feature feeds into that shark sensationalism and blood lust that gets so many of them killed,  or ignored when someone says they need help.

At one point, the entire coast of California was stacked with red fins. It looked like you could not put a toe in the water without an encounter.  This creates an uneven view of shark attacks, especially considering on closer inspection, the red fin data covers attacks that have happened over a twenty year period. Few people may get that at the graphical display of red fins stacked along the coast.

That said, it's still a fun app and the fun might even last longer than a few days with this one.

The Chicago Tribune covers the app here.

The Marine Conservation Science Institute here.

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