Friday, July 2, 2010

Launching the GTOPP Website

It has been an exciting week, beginning with the news that Drs. Eric Hoffmayer and Sylvia Earle encountered hundreds of whale sharks in the northern Gulf of Mexico, near the site of the Deepwaer Horizon oil spill, and successfully tagged several of them with electronic tags. Working with Eric we were able to get access to the near-real time data coming in from the two sharks tagged with "Smart Position-Only Tags" (SPOT tags), and we decided that, ready or not, it was time to take the Global Tagging of Pelagic Predators website ( live to share the data.

With help from lots of friends at Google, NOAA, Mission Blue, the University of Southern Mississippi, Sun Powered Productions and our own team here at Hopkins, we got the site launched and have been adding new content to it all week long. It has been really exciting time, and we are really looking forward to continuing to add more content, and to developing new ways of sharing this information with our scientific colleagues, as well as educators and students, journalists and bloggers, and explorers of all kinds around the world.

In the weeks ahead we will be adding new information to the site, including data from our archival datasets and incoming data from upcoming expeditions by us and our scientific colleagues. We will be exploring different ways of displaying tracking data and the oceanographic data that surrounds it. And we will be striving always to keep things interesting, informative and engaging.

So with thanks to everyone who has helped us get here, and to anyone who is reading this and considering joining us on this journey, I offer the following words from Mark Twain:
Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Best wishes for the holiday weekend!

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