Whales are arguably the ocean’s most beautiful and fascinating creatures. They’re so captivating, in fact, that just a map tracking their movements can be strangely enchanting. For evidence, check out this new interactive map that lets you stalk numerous species of whales as they swim off the coast of Hawaii.
Smartmine, a subsidiary of the earth sciences and technology company GeoEngineers, assembled the whale tracker. The map allows you to follow sperm, beaked, false killer and pigmy killer whales as they meander near the islands. You can even track the movements of a specific whale. The map also visualizes ocean currents, and you can shift between an underwater view and a nautical map view.
Scot McQueen, chief strategy officer at Smartmine, said they built the map to draw attention to some of the lesser-known whales that live and breed in Hawaii. Every year, from about October to May, the endangered humpback whale steals the show and lures whale-watchers from around the world. However, there are plenty of other whale species that need protection.
“These whales aren’t that well known, and there is a ton of them that need help right now,” McQueen told the Huffington Post.
The map isn’t in real-time, but is instead based on recent data collected by Robin Baird of Washington’s Cascadia Research Collective. Cascadia was founded in 1979 to conduct research needed to manage and protect threatened marine mammals.
Of course, watching a blue dot on a screen pales in comparison to an actual whale-watching trip, but it’s the next best thing without having to leave the comfort of home.