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Tech Companies to Help White House Map Climate Change

March 20, 2014  |  1:00pm
Tech Companies to Help White House Map Climate Change

In an effort to show the effects of global warming, the White House unveiled a new Climate Data Initiative yesterday to improve climate change awareness across the nation.

A section of the initiative, part of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, is a new website called climate.data.gov, which will be run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The website will show data sets for infrastructure and geographic mapping (roads, bridges, canals) from agencies such as the U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Homeland Security.

According to the White House blog post announcement, they’ve contracted Google, Microsoft, Intel and Esri to create new mapping software, applications and other technological tools for showing and preparing for climate-related risks, like fires, tornadoes, floods and snow storms. The blog post says nonprofits, academic institutions and local groups will also offer technological support.

With the White House’s go-ahead, the tech companies’ combined efforts will “create free and open ‘maps and apps’ to help state and local governments plan for climate change impacts.”

Google is to donate one petabyte of cloud storage for climate data and 50 million hours of high-performance computing with Google Earth. They’re also challenging the global innovation community to build a high-res global terrain model to help communities better prepare for climate impacts by anticipating them.

“Every citizen will be affected by climate change—and all of us must work together to make our communities stronger and more resilient to its impacts. By taking the enormous data sets regularly collected by NASA, NOAA, and other agencies and applying the ingenuity, creativity, and expertise of technologists and entrepreneurs, the Climate Data Initiative will help create easy-to-use tools for regional planners, farmers, hospitals, and businesses across the country—and empower America’s communities to prepare themselves for the future,” the White House says.

Simply put, President Obama wants Americans to see how climate change could affect their own towns by making it as easy as opening an app.

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