We have an interesting comment from ProPublica, something we alluded to in the story.
We appreciate all the comments and questions; please be patient as we try to accommodate them all.
That's correct. It was built to prevent the river from doing what it did for eons when levees didn't constrict it. Make no mistake: The problems we face were created by engineering to keep the social landscape we established on the river viable. The solutions to our problems today are all engineering. And, even if the Master Plan works, we will have to have projects in place to continue engineering this delta as long as we want to live here.
Al, this obviously took an enormous amount of wrangling on your part to create this visualization using real images. Will you be able to duplicate this work more easily? Can someone else build on this to show changes in the landscape in their part of the world?
The demo on that link I just posted is a Landsat 8 image of New York City. It took about an hour to process that image in Photoshop and put up a simple app with Simple Tiles, so this is something that would not be hard to duplicate with a little bit of code knowledge.
Investors, like Vegas bookmakers, are usually ahead of the curve. Following the money sometimes means following the future bets. This is a developing story we will be looking into. Thanks.
I'd like to talk about what's next. Bob, we talk about the Master Plan to rebuild the coast. But are there people who say we shouldn't even try? Maybe it's futile.
There are people with credible scientific backgrounds beginning to ask that question - especially with the continually upgraded projections of sea level rise. They contend if we are doing true long-range plans - say into the next century - the money would be better spent paying to relocate people and industrial infrastructure above the current worst-case lines. That's another story we will be looking into more deeply.
Thanks Chris. We'll be looking into all that information. This is part of the point of view that we should be relocating, not trying to rebuild.
A comment in response to Bob's comment about relocating:
No question. The Dutch made the decision after the great flood in 1953 they would build for the future - and that future would be in thousands of years. So, while we have a storm protection system built for a 100-year storm, they built for the 5,000 and 10,000 year events. Of course, it's easier to get a consensus in a a small country than it is one covering almost an entire continent with 300 million people in 50 different political subdivisions.
If you take a look at the "with restoration" tab in the app under "An Uncertain Future," that's what the USGS expects the coast to look like in 2060 if the master plan is implemented. As you can see, even with restoration, there will still be extensive land loss
We're going to start wrapping this up. A question for Bob: How is this project different from the other stories you've done in the last 30 years?
Two significant differences. First, the great reach of ProPublica's brand. The quick national response to this is unlike anything we experienced at the T-P, even with great projects. The second is the fact-based nature of the maps. At the T-P we had some fabulous graphics that really told the story, but Al's ability to work with actual maps and photos is different and striking.
Al, final thoughts -- after working on this for so long, poring over these images and hearing the stories, what sticks with you?
Probably the visceral connection to the land people in South Louisiana have. We see a lot of online maps these days, and we wanted to create something that tied maps and views from space to actual people, where people live, where they work.
While Al's working on that, I want to offer a big +1 to what Bob said about Al's work. There's a reason no one has done this before -- it's incredibly difficult.
Thanks Steven. If you've got any photos from those days, we'd love to see them.
I think we'll end on that. Thank you for joining us, and thanks for spending time with Bob and Al's project. Share it with your friends.
Thanks to everyone who joined us. Please keep spreading the app, and everything you learned.
Keep the discussion going in the comments on ProPublica and The Lens. We read everything.
A final note: We're not done. This project is the first part of an ongoing effort to show people what's happening to this part of the country, and to allow people in those places to share their stories. Stay tuned.