Ann Arbor, Mich. – Going to the beach? Now you can get real-time information on beach water quality advisories, weather and water conditions all on your mobile phone.
The Great Lakes Commission (GLC), in partnership with LimnoTech and the Great Lakes states, has developed a free smartphone application that provides convenient, public access to swim advisories and other environmental conditions information for more than 1,800 beaches in the Great Lakes region.
Funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the myBeachCast application (app) retrieves locational and advisory data for Great Lakes and inland lake beaches in the eight Great Lakes states.
To download myBeachCast, go to beachcast.glin.net or scan your smartphone over the code shown at right with a QR code reader.
The app also features real-time and forecasted weather and lake conditions (e.g., water temperature, wave heights, wind speed/direction) and nearshore marine forecasts, drawn from the Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). myBeachCast allows users to discover local beaches based on the user’s location, view beaches and their status on a map, save favorite beaches, and get driving directions.
“The myBeachCast mobile app is an excellent tool for the states to better promote our beaches and relay beach advisory information to a much broader audience,” says Michigan’s Beach Program Coordinator Dr. Shannon Briggs, with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Water Resources Division. “Integrating regional environmental data online is immensely valuable as an outreach tool for our state and local beach programs.”
GLC Executive Director Tim Eder says the Great Lakes Commission is pleased to provide these new mobile tools for the beachgoing public to enhance protection of public health. “We hope improving the access to beach conditions information will be of benefit to the business and tourism sectors in our region, as well,” he says.
Data providers who are contributing to myBeachCast include the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin; Pennsylvania’s Erie County Department of Health; BeachGuard (Windsor Solutions); NOAA; and GLOS.
The app was designed for the Android platform by LimnoTech, a water resources and engineering company based in Ann Arbor, Mich., in partnership with the GLC and the states. A mobile-enhanced website available on the Great Lakes Information Network (see glin.net/beachcast/conditions.html) offers complementary information for web viewers, iPhones and other mobile devices.
The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by James Tierney, assistant commissioner for water resources at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, is an interstate compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators, and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Learn more at www.glc.org.