Without proper data on maritime and coastal pollution –what and where it is, when– effective solutions are hard to design. Eyesea is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to mapping and eradicating global ocean pollution. Founded and run by volunteers from across the shipping and maritime industries, Eyesea mobilizes individuals around the world, many of whom are crew members aboard maritime vessels, to collect data and geotagged photos of ocean debris using a mobile app.
The records are then processed and analyzed by Eyesea’s artificial intelligence algorithms to identify the type and location of pollution, producing data that is used by Eyesea partners across the maritime industry to plan and execute clean-up efforts.
Reporting and visualizing across oceans
The first prototype of the Eyesea app was launched in 2020, to test how receptive shipping companies and their crews would be to the approach of using a mobile app to report maritime pollution. In just 12 months, users of the app collected 130,000 images and it was clear that there was strong traction with target users.
Eyesea realized they had the support to build a more performant and full-featured version version of the app, as well as a data management platform. While the proof-of-concept version of the app had used a very basic map, Eyesea knew from user feedback that a polished map experience that was lightweight and easy-to-use would be essential for the next version.
Crew members aboard vessels often have very limited time to make a report of pollution or debris, so the app needed to be very quick and robust enough to function in all sorts of conditions, on all sorts of devices, and all around the world.
Mapbox + Flutter combine for a powerful yet flexible solution
Eyesea identified Mapbox as a flexible and reliable platform, trusted by global companies to support rapid scaling up. In addition to a good reputation, Mapbox could provide the fast, reliable, and accurate map rendering that Eyesea needed to support an app that would work where connectivity was often weak and function across a wide range of types of smartphones
The Mapbox platform was also flexible enough to power both native and cross-platform mobile frameworks like Flutter, which was Eyesea’s preferred foundation. Within their Flutter application, Eyesea built a interactive map using the Mapbox Static Tiles API and Vector Tiles API, which serve the customized yet lightweight map tiles.
Eyesea and their development team at MariApps were impressed how smoothly the app development went, finding the Mapbox platform easy to build with, thanks to extensive documentation, implementation examples, and rapid response from Mapbox Support.
Support and partnerships to scale positive impact
With the new app deployed to volunteers around the world, the Eyesea team is now using Mapbox to develop a user-friendly pollution analysis and data management platform, including custom map visualizations to display the rapidly growing database of crowdsourced reports. Analysis of the data then informs cleanup strategies for Eyesea partners, including geofenced pollution reporting and management strategies around ports and other high-pollution areas.
Mapbox connected Eyesea with another innovative customer, Grundo.io, to explore a partnership with their machine learning technology for identifying and monitoring pollution from satellite imagery. The synergy between the two organizations resulted in Grundo joining the Eyesea network to collaborate on tech development.
A best-in-class map experience for an industry leader
As a map-based pollution reporting app, Eyesea requires top-notch location intelligence to power both map performance and accuracy. Mapbox perfectly meets these needs, enhancing Eyesea's capabilities and making it easier for volunteers and partner organizations to locate and document ocean pollution. The new Eyesea app is modern, easy to use, and powerful enough to scale to the global network that Eyesea is building. And the new data analysis and visualization capabilities of the growing Eyesea platform make it a market-leading way of understanding and communicating the distribution and density of maritime pollution as well as the most effective ways to remedy it.