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White House taps Google, other companies to help track climate change

White House taps Google, other companies to help track climate change

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The White House today announced a new effort to centralize climate change data while making it more accessible to the public, researchers, and companies alike. A new pilot section of the government's five-year-old (though recently-revamped) site tracks coastal flooding and sea level rise through a variety of data sets. According to the White House, other data will eventually be added to help track threats to food supply, energy infrastructure, and human health.

Data from the government and private companies

The initiative gathers data and assistance from a mix of government agencies and private companies. That list includes Google, Microsoft Research, Intel, and Esri. There's also environmental data from NOAA, NASA, USGS, FEMA, and others. However, the collection of data is just that — a collection — rather than a destination for tools that use it. But it won't be that way forever according to White House advisors John Podesta and John Holdren.

"By taking the enormous data sets regularly collected by NASA, NOAA, and other agencies and applying the ingenuity, creativity, and expertise of technologists and entrepreneurs, the Climate Data Initiative will help create easy-to-use tools for regional planners, farmers, hospitals, and businesses across the country-and empower America's communities to prepare themselves for the future," Podesta and Holdren said in a blog post announcing the project.

Some of those early efforts will include maps and mobile apps for climate changes made by Esri, a disaster risk field guide by the World Bank Group, as well as cloud computing resources from Google and Microsoft Research.