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Handmade Boat With 6 Cameras Shows Unique Perspective of Md. Watersways

BALTIMORE (WJZ)-- From your couch, to a kayak, you can now explore nearly all of the Chesapeake's waterways online, all thanks to a Maryland non-profit, bringing conservation into the 21st century.

A pontoon has traversed and photographed thousands of miles of Chesapeake Shoreline, documenting the view from the water in an unprecedented way.

More than 400 years after Captain John Smith chartered these waters , a Maryland non-profit Chesapeake Conservancy is mapping Maryland with a 21st-century lens.

"[John Smith] used the technology of his time, with a compass and a pen to map the Chesapeake Bay," said Joel Dunn of the Maryland non-profit Chesapeake Conservancy."This pontoon boat brings the rivers of the Chesapeake to everybody's computers across the world."

The hand-made vessel is equipped with half a dozen cameras, stitching together a 360-degree view of nearly 3,000 miles of Chesapeake rivers.

The result looks similar to Google Street View. A free, online, interactive map of -- so far -- five treasured waterways all navigated by Ryan Crenshaw of Terrain360, who has the knowledge and the tan lines  to prove it.

"There's a living, breathing organism here that we all should be responsible for," said Crenshaw.

That responsibility includes valuing these natural treasures and keeping them clean.

Chesapeake Conservancy hopes, in the age of cell phones and tablets, to engage a young audience and ignite a passion in Maryland's waterways.

One goal of the three-year-project is to inspire people to take the virtual tours outdoors.

"Once you're out here, it gives you a fundamentally different perspective, and helps you understand how the ecosystem works," said Dunn.

A first-of-its kind online resource with goals of real-life results.

Chesapeake Conservancy hopes to have this project finished by the end of next year. The Chesapeake Conservancy is funded entirely by individual donations, foundation grants, and government grants.

To learn more about the cameras CLICK HERE.


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