As the world continues to grapple with environmental challenges, tools like SkyTruth Alerts have become invaluable for those who are passionate about tracking and responding to environmental incidents.
In 2023, SkyTruth introduced changes that expand the platform’s capabilities and provide additional monitoring opportunities. In this blog post, we’ll explore three new incident types added to SkyTruth Alerts — California Hazardous Materials Spills, Texas Oil and Gas Drilling Permits, and U.K. Oil and Gas Spills at Sea. Additionally, we’ll take a look at some new features incorporated into the Layers and Drag-and-Drop tabs.
New Alert Incident Types: Expanding Our Reach
California Hazardous Materials Spills
New spill incidents are pulled daily from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. You will find spills related to petroleum, chemical, sewage, railroad, weather, and other incidents, along with details on location, agencies involved, and a detailed description of the incident. These incidents are classified as Pollution Alerts on the map.
Texas Oil and Gas Drilling Permits
This data is updated daily by the Railroad Commission of Texas. Both horizontal and vertical wells are included, along with a timeline of the permit’s activity and identifying information for the lease, operator, well, and county. These incidents are classified as Drilling Permits Approved Alerts on the map.
U.K. Oil and Gas Spills at Sea
The United Kingdom’s Petroleum Operations Notices 1 (PON1) are used to report all releases to sea of oil and offshore chemicals that occur during offshore oil and gas activities. SkyTruth does a daily downloading and posting of new and updated spills. Data on each incident includes the date first observed, incident type (oil, chemical, etc.), organizations involved, and total quantity released. These incidents are classified as Pollution Alerts on the map.
New Layers Features: Less Clutter, More Customization
- You can now search for layers
- You can pin your favorite layers so they show up at the top
- For many layers, you can change the color and opacity shown on the map
We’ve also added some new layers, including Bathymetry, National Conservation Easements (US), FracTracker (US), NAIP imagery (US), Marine Protected Areas, Tailings Dams, Orphaned Wells (US), and Pipeline Routes from Oil & Gas Watch (US).
New Drag-and-Drop Features: Save the Data You Bring
- You can set the color and opacity for a dropped file
- After dropping file on the map, you can now save it for later use
- Saved files will show up in the My Layers category on the Layers sidebar
We’ve made dozens of other changes to Alerts in 2023, including:
- Many layers have geometric shapes (polygons, rectangles) that can be clicked for additional information. For example, after opening the Wildfire Perimeters layer, you can click on a fire outline for more information about the fire. You can then also click the icon to zoom into the fire outline, and even save it as one of your AOIs.
- Many new public maps are available.
- New Social Media Mode (this is a checkbox in the burger menu) can be used to create better screen captures (no map controls, larger attributions, etc.).
- New “Map Inset” option (from the burger menu) provides a nice map insert in many cases.
We always welcome ideas (email us at firstname.lastname@example.org) for improving our products and services. This year’s updates are the result of feedback from our users. Whether you’re an environmental advocate, researcher, or a concerned citizen, SkyTruth Alerts now has more tools and features to help you contribute to making this a better, more sustainable world. We hope you’ll explore these new features and let us know what you think!