Map shows environmental impact of trucker protest | CTV News

Map shows environmental impact of trucker protest | CTV News

A tech company has created an interactive map that shows the environmental impacts of the ongoing trucker convoy protest in Ottawa.

“This project is really about giving the stakeholders and people on the ground in Ottawa the ability to visualize the impacts of the protest,” Spatial Media creative director Aaron Bernard told CTVNews.ca from Toronto. “The main idea really is to take a complex idea like sound, or even air quality, and visualize that.”

Launched on Feb. 16, the new tool overlays colour-coded data onto a 3D map of Ottawa, allowing users to see protest effects like noise levels, air quality reduction and traffic closures.

During the second week of protests, for example, data shows how the stretch of Wellington St. fronting Parliament Hill registered noise levels from blaring truck horns that were equivalent to a sustained emergency vehicle siren, while residents across the Rideau Canal heard noise similar in decibels to an alarm clock.

Dozens of idling trucks meanwhile brought traffic throughout much of downtown Ottawa to a standstill and led to air quality projections that were more than 30 per cent worse than World Health Organization guidelines, putting Ottawa potentially on par with Mexico City.

The data is culled from multiple public sources, including news reports and user input, and will be updated regularly.

“We’re environmental scientists,” Bernard said. “We’ve taken our knowledge of how sound works and applied it to the protests and put it inside this interactive engagement portal so anyone can… visually see what impacts the trucks are having.”

Since Jan. 29, protesters opposed to Canada’s COVID-19 mandates have brought parts of downtown Ottawa to a standstill. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked Canada’s Emergencies Act on Feb. 14 to give the federal government sweeping new powers to tackle the ongoing demonstrations, which have spread to cities and border crossings throughout Canada.

Spatial Media is a tech company that creates digital three-dimensional visualizations. Founded in Australia in 2014 by Canadians, Spatial Media recently created an interactive map for Metrolinx’s Ontario Line subway extension project in Toronto.

“Our company, Spatial Media, is a visual communication company,” Bernard said. “We’re passionate about the tools and technology, and we’re trying to use it for good.”