Google Maps Methane Leaks in Three U.S. Cities

Google, partnering with the Environmental Defense Fund, has created a series of maps locating methane leaks around three cities in the United States. The question of just how much methane is leaking in a given city comes down to infrastructure.

1 minute read

July 19, 2014, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


In three U.S. cities, Boston, Staten Island, and Indianapolis, "Google cars roamed over the past year equipped with sensors to record methane leaks from utility pipes," according to Anya Litvak.

Their purpose: partnering with the Environmental Defense Fund, to map methane leaks. Methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted by the human activity of the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, although it is 21-times as powerful as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

"Gas utilities are required to calculate and report their lost gas rate to the state Public Utility Commission annually, but they don’‍t map the leaks and categorize them by flow rate the way EDF and Google did."

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