Yes, it’s summer and I’m looking for content to blog about and thankfully, I can make a tenuous link between beaches and Higher Education with this web site and, I hope, help you to enjoy one last trip to the sea before the students comes back and the next academic year begins in earnest.

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has launched a new web site www.eyeonearth.eu which profiles European beaches on a map and provides EEA water quality rating information.  I checked out the beaches I visited this year to see how they all faired and, luckily, they all scored extremely well.

Eye on Earth is the result of a partnership between Microsoft and the EEA and shows information on water quality at around 21,000 sites in Europe.  As a portal, it brings 7 years of historical data to users and should become a “global observatory for environmental challenges”.  It uses state of the art mapping from Microsoft Live Earth as well as environmental headlines from the MSN news feeds.

Just to prove that this is about work - where’s the link to Higher Education?  Peer Review.  Ok I did say it was tenuous but here’s a Web 2.0 site that allows users to search for and access relevant data, view it in multiple ways and provide input to a wider community.  The site encourages users to rate bathing sites and comment on them too.  This will add to the data and should help make European bathing sites a safer and more pleasant place to visit.

Just for interest, here’s one of the beaches I went to over the summer to illustrate how the site functions.  There’s also a handy Vista gadget with direct access to the sites data.

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