From Green Right Now Reports

As part of it’s continuing effort to be transparent about what’s happening in the gulf, the federal government today announced a new website where anyone can see a map of the gulf overlaid with the current location, size and shape of the oil spill. NOAA shepherded the website in an effort to provide a variety of information in “near real-time.”

The map (shown here for midday June 14) shows the area closed to fishing because of the oil slick with a red line. The bright yellow spot marks the Deepwater Horizon wellhead. Coastal regions are color-coded to show heavy, moderate, light  or no oil contamination. Zoom in (on the live site) to see where the worst-hit and so-far unaffected beaches are.

Designed initially as an interactive tool for gulf coast “responders,” the multi-layered map contains information about what several agencies are up to and the location of federal agency response stations in the region. (Warning to the public: Some of the basic information is obvious. But this tool deep and dense; it’s also trigger-happy, you can easily find yourself zooming and shifting, and in a jolt, you’re suddenly viewing  images of Bermuda, still out of range of the spill’s tentacles).

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in conjunction with the University of New Hampshire’s Coastal Response Center developed the tool. Agencies contributing data include: Homeland Security, the Coast Guard, the Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA, NASA, U.S. Geological Survey and the Gulf states.

NOAA's BP oil spill map

“This website provides users with an expansive, yet detailed geographic picture of what’s going on with the spill; Gulf Coast fisherman, recreational boaters, beach users and birders will be able to become more informed,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, in a statement. “It’s a common operational picture that allows the American people to see how their government is responding to the crisis.”