Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Here's an example of "before and after"

Having recently moved into a new neighborhood, I’ve met a couple of new friends in the St. Michael area that wanted an example of what a Geo-Trashing map looks like. So I'll share a pair.
Our most successful project last year came from part of the north metro Mississippi River, on the west bank, which is largely under the jurisdiction of the Three Rivers Park District. They had only acquired the property recently, so there was still a lot of junk sitting in or near the river, waiting to be removed. I took several kayak trips down that stretch of river, and created an inventory map that looked something like this. (Click on the map below to enlarge.)

View Pre Clean-up Mississippi Targets 7-20-08 in a larger map
Note that this is a simple Google Map. We can provide versions in a variety of languages, including MapPoint (compatible with Garmin GPS devices), Google Earth, and even ARC-compliant language (the preference of most government agencies, architects and engineers). Each of the flags (or “waypoints) on this map represents a large trash item or debris field… and each of these sites has a corresponding photo. So the trash hunter knows what they’re looking for, as well as where they’ll find it.

But here’s the good news. After re-visiting this area of the Three Rivers Park District last fall, here’s what the map look like now:

View Post Clean-up Mississippi 9-20-08 in a larger map

Most of what was on that map was moved into a utility trailer, and disposed of properly. (The trailer load you see here weighed roughly 885 pounds, and all but one piece of trash—a wooden door frame—was to a scrap iron dealer and has since been recycled.) The one flag that remains on this map represents a water heater or LP tank I could not lift out of the muck on my own. (But here's a video of the stuff I could lift!)

You know, most of our clean-up work involves paddling along in a kayak, grabbing plastic beverage bottles, beer cans, bait containers or other light trash. But it’s the use of technology to inventory and then recover the big stuff that seems to get all the attention. So let me just offer this one simple reminder: Anyone with a trash bag and an old pair of tennis shoes can conduct a clean-up in a park, on a trail, or on a riverbank. Anyone, on any given day, has the power to improve a place.

© 2009 Mike D. Anderson, St. Michael, MN. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. wow, does that take me back (the google map of the Mississippi @ Brooklyn Center). That's where I learned to swim when I was 12 (44 years ago). There use to be a cottonwood tree on the riverbank at 57th & Lyndale that had a cable on it. A real favorite spot with us. My first river experiences were on the Mississippi between the Coon Rapids Dam and the NSP power plant on 43rd st. MN was a great place to grow up.