WASHINGTON Ã¢â‚¬â€ A team of software developers has created a free iPhone program that allows members of the public to report the presence of oil from the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico.
"Oil Reporter" was developed by CrisisCommons, an international volunteer network of technical and business professionals which has also created tools to help with relief efforts following the Haiti earthquake.
"Oil Reporter enables people to help with the recovery effort by using real-time check-ins to report what they're seeing on the ground," CrisisCommons said.
"Users can upload photos and videos, report oil sightings, harmed wildlife sightings and much more," CrisisCommons said in a statement.
CrisisCommons, which has set up a website at Oilreporter.org, said the data collected using the application will be mapped and managed by San Diego State University's Visualization Center.
"We want people to share what they see and to allow that information to be shared with everyone," CrisisCommons said. "We believe that if people share what they see and that information can be placed on a map, it can help organizations and communities with their response efforts."
The Oil Reporter application, which is also available for mobile phones running Google's Android operating system, provides phone numbers on where to report oiled beaches, wildlife as well as volunteer information links.
Google-owned YouTube, meanwhile, was urging users of the video-sharing website to upload their suggestions on how to stop the flow of oil from the well and clean up the damage left by the disaster.
As of Thursday afternoon, more than 15,300 people had submitted more than 7,300 suggestions.
BP was attempting to plug the well on Thursday as new data showed it was the worst oil spill in US history, surpassing the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska.