GPS Tracking Used in Icelandic “Message in a Bottle”

7 Feb 2020

Messages in bottles may sound so old and antiquated. But technology is putting a new spin on this time-honored tradition. In July 2018 a bottle containing a message and GPS tracking, was dropped into the ocean from a ship located just south-east of Iceland.

The project sponsoring the GPS tracked bottled message was designed to show how plastic and other garbage in oceans travel. The goal is to raise consumer awareness about litter and pollution throughout Iceland and beyond.

The project was a collaboration between eleven-year-old Atli Svavarsson, Verkis, and a popular Icelandic television scientist and children’s book writer. Atli, the eleven-year-old at the heart of the project believes garbage thrown into the oceans travels further than most humans realize and believes this project will show ordinary people just how far-reaching the consequences of oceanic pollution are.

This isn’t Atli’s first rodeo, either. In 2017 he founded the #savetheworld project encouraging people to go out into nature and pick up trash and garbage. He says he was inspired by Evar the Scientist to do his part to save the world by going out and picking up trash and then by encouraging others to do their part as well.

The GPS-tracked message in a bottle was found on a Norwegian beach in the town of Berlevag on New Year’s Day after being released in Iceland in July. Thanks to the GPS tracker, it was revealed that the bottle traveled more than 5,000 kilometers between July and December before landing in Norway.

The GPS tracking even allows users to follow the bottle’s journey online as it made its way across the ocean. It was interesting for some to see how the bottle seemed to spin aimlessly at times before being picked up and carried along with the current to other locations making it an excellent representation of the many items of litter thrown into the ocean each year.

While the story is an excellent example of the impact careless acts, such as littering, have on the planet, it’s also an ideal example of the positive changes a single person can make.

This project, inspired by an eleven-year-old boy, represents the power a single person can have when motivated to make positive changes in the world around them.

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