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November 17th, 2021

Another key benefit of using the tracker app is it's open-source database. This means that anything and everything collected through the app is recorded publicly, and available to download. As young geographers and cartographers, access to this information allows us to dip our toes into a crucial responsibility of scientists everywhere - data analysis.


"We believe in open data because we believe the key to solving plastic pollution is working together. View all Marine Debris Tracker data from around the world, or select a customized list from one of our collaborators. Filter by date and category, and choose what categories to include in your graphs. Inspired solutions begin with quality data."

What is the Marine Debris Tracker?


It's officially GIS Day 2021! To celebrate, we're featuring one of our favorite tools for citizen science - the Marine Debris Tracker app:

"8 million metric tons... That's how much plastic is estimated to enter the ocean every year. What are we doing to change that?

The Marine Debris Tracker is designed to help citizen scientists like you make a difference by contributing data on plastic pollution in your community. We've been tracking litter since before smartphones existed, and we're still driven by uniting technology and citizen science to fight plastic pollution. Every day, dedicated educational, non-profit, and scientific organizations and passionate citizen scientists from all around the world record data on inland and marine debris with our easy-to-use app, contributing to our open data platform and scientific research."


For today's Geo Week activity, we're challenging teachers and students to download the Marine Debris Tracker app and collect some local debris!


Use the tutorial below to get familiar with the app's tools, then track your collection effort under the Florida Geographic Alliance. We'll use this data tomorrow to put together some fun maps, and implement what we learned through the model of studying place:

Lesson written by the Florida Geographic Alliance.



Print this handout from National Geographic, and have your students fill out the Plastic Pollution Action Journal.

This brochure-style journal outlines a six-step process for thinking through your own plastic use, the plastic-pollution problem, scientific research, litter tracking, analysis, and solution-finding.

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