Here Be Dragons: Seattle’s Hazard Explorer

Image of an old world map by Abraham Ortelius showing hazards from old sailor tales.

Back in the day, maps like the one above were extremely important for sailors. If you were planning on venturing out into the open seas, it was best to know where all the mythical creatures were hanging out before leaving port. Nobody wants to run into a half-man/half-sea horse unexpectedly. Such an encounter could really throw a wrench into your pillaging/fishing trip. Being aware of the hazards that exist around you has always been important (even when those hazards didn’t actually exist apparently).

When this map was made in 1598, the ramblings of drunken sailors were considered “good data”. Luckily, now we have geologists, hydrologists, and seismologists that produce more reliable information for us to base our decisions on. Not only do these scientists produce better data, but they also drink less (most of them) and they don’t have scurvy, which is an added bonus.

We have come a long way in terms of how we collect data about the world around us and how we use that information to drive decision making. Check out the Seattle Hazard Explorer to learn more about some of the hazards that impact Seattle. Look at your home or place of work and think about how these hazards might affect you, your family, or your friends. Keep in mind that the map is currently limited to geophysical and weather based hazards, so you won’t see any killer sea horses or aquatic gremlins. Perhaps we will add this information at a later date.

Image of Seattle Hazard Explorer Map

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