Through the use of the Google Earth API technology and a grant given to the sea turtle conservation network WIDECAST, Google is funding the tracking of a sea turtle named Jklynn as she follows an ancestral path to create nests across the Carribean.
WIDECAST (the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network) has tagged Jklynn with a satellite trasmitted and is now tracking and her as she moves from beach to beach. These are the same nesting areas that have been used for generations. Thus far, Jklynn has created several nests in the region of Klein Bonaire. Each nest may contain upward of a hundred baby turtle eggs.
To draw interested groups in further, WIDECAST created "The Great Migration Game". The game allows users to make predictions on Jklynn's path, with the most accurate guessers receiving prizes such as a smartphone with a year of 4G service.
Google Earth has been used for a wide array of special expeditions in the past, and it was only 2009 when the first deep-sea diving version of the service launched. It was at that same time that Google did its first round of funding for both oceanic preservation causes and scientific research involving sea turtles. That funding continued in 2011 with the Google Earth Outreach Developer Grant for WIDECAST.
Other projects for Google Earth have included tracking hurricanes, capturing Japan's tsunami damage, and keeping track of Santa. As a result of these projects and the built-in features, Google Earth passed one billion downloads in 2011.
Do you use Google Earth? When extras and projects like this come out, do you get involved? Do you feel that this is a good way for Google to use their funding and technology? Leave your thoughts in the comments, below.