App provides real-time information on beach conditions

Project Summary: A smartphone app called myBeachCast allows beachgoers to check real-time conditions at 1,800 beaches in the Great Lakes region.

 

Project name: myBeachCast smartphone application.

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan.myBeachCast_2

Description: A smartphone app and Web site developed by the Great Lakes Commission, LimnoTech and the eight Great Lakes states allows anyone with a smartphone to access real-time conditions at 1,800 Great Lakes beaches. The app, called myBeachCast, provides information on swim advisories and other environmental conditions — including dangerous currents — for Great Lakes and inland beaches. The app tells beachgoers whether bacterial pollution from sewer overflows have caused any swim advisories, wave heights and whether the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued any advisories about potentially dangerous currents. The app is especially important in light of a number of recent Great Lakes drownings, most of which are caused by people getting caught in

A girl enjoys a sunny day on Riley Street Beach in Holland, Michigan. Photo from Flickr/stevendepolo.

A girl enjoys a sunny day on Riley Street Beach in Holland, Michigan. Photo from Flickr/stevendepolo.

dangerous rip currents. All of the data on the myBeachCast app is provided by government agencies. The app also allows users to discover local beaches based on the user’s location, view beaches and their status on a map, save favorite beaches, and get driving directions. Android phone users can download the app at: http://beachcast.glin.net.  And iPhone users can access the same information on a mobile Web site, at: http://glin.net/beachcast/conditions.html.

Approximate cost of project: $99,937, which was provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Resource challenges addressed: Water quality, public health, human exposure to potentially dangerous bacterial pollution, rip currents and beach safety.

Key partners (public and private): Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Great Lakes Commission, LimnoTech, the eight Great Lakes states and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Types of jobs created: Computer programmers, marketing and public relations specialists.

Results and accomplishments: The myBeachCast app has been downloaded more than 1,000 times.

Web site: http://beachcast.glin.net

Originally Published: July 31, 2013

 

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