SkyTruth Uses Satellites to Track – a Bicycle?!

[Update – July 28, 2014: Tony successfully completed the challenge and we have switched the map from a live view of his most recent location to a static overview of the whole journey.]

Shepherdstown, WV –  On Friday, July 25th, SkyTruth will turn our attention from aimless oil tankers and drilling sites in America’s Heartland to an unlikely suspect – a bicycle. Technically we’re more interested in the man riding the bicycle – Tony Long, Director of the Ending Illegal Fishing campaign at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Long, a former commander in Her Majesty’s Royal Navy (UK), is taking part in the Action London-to-Paris ride, a 24 hour, ~240 mile challenge to raise money for children’s medical research. Along the way Tony will be carrying a SPOT personal tracker provided by SkyTruth in order to demonstrate how remarkably simple and inexpensive it is to deploy a satellite monitoring system, whether it’s for a bicycle winding through the hills of Northern France or a 608-ton fishing vessel plying the waters of the South Pacific for tuna.

SkyTruth CTO Paul Woods is the brains behind putting Tony’s path on the map. “It’s a nice example of how easy it is for anyone willing to be transparent about their actions with a trivial investment of time and money.”

Some fishing vessels already employ AIS transmitters as a way of broadcasting their location to avoid deadly collisions at sea, but the use of AIS is not mandatory everywhere.

“Imagine if every commercial fishing vessel were as trackable as Tony’s bicycle. Overnight we could make it infinitely harder to hide illegal fishing,” Woods said.

Long agrees. “Tracking fishing vessels is a vital element of ending illegal activity – the only thing that is missing is the will to make it mandatory globally.”

“I am pleased to have SkyTruth’s emblem on my shirt,” Long said in an email several days before the challenge. “Having seen the great work SkyTruth are doing advancing tracking of fishing vessels from space I jokingly said ‘Track my ride to Paris?’ – I wasn’t expecting a reply of, ‘of course!'”

You can see Tony’s track on the map below. And you can sponsor Tony’s cause by clicking here.

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