App lets beachcombers help track tsunami debris

If you're planning to do any beach walking in Alaska in the coming months and years, you might want the new Coastbuster app from the University of Victoria in British Columbia. The Victoria Times-Colonist says the app makers want beachcombers to help track debris set adrift by the Japan tsunami by uploading photos of unusual items they find.

Photos will then be vetted by Oceans Network Canada and relevant pictures sent to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S agency heading tracking efforts for B.C. and the U.S. ...

Cara Lachmuth of Surfrider Vancouver Island, a group that conducts beach cleanups, is enthusiastic about the app. "I think this is incredible. It's such a great way to get people involved," she said. "No one else is documenting it like this and people love apps."

However, Lachmuth would like people to clean up smaller items, not just take photographs. The app can also be adjusted to study other topics, such as ocean currents, natural disasters or the health of shellfish beds, Moran said.

So far, the app is available only for Android phones. An iPhone app is in the works. Read more at the Times-Colonist: How you can track tsunami debris