Map quest: Stockton’s science contribution grows

Karin Tuxen-Bettman shows off a trike mounted with a Google camera used to document the Amazon rainforest in 2009.

In the world of science and health, there’s a long list of Stockton “kids” done good — people who were raised and educated here and went on to advance our understanding of the world around us and within us.

Astronaut Jose Hernandez. Brain surgeon Alfredo Quinones. And how about Ashwin Vasavada, the No. 2 scientist on the Mars rover mission.

Let’s add another name to the list: Karin Tuxen-Bettman, who grew up near the University of the Pacific and recently made the news for helping Google document rising sea levels in San Francisco Bay.

As the Chronicle reported, the environmental group Baykeeper has been using a catamaran equipped with a Google Street View camera to map out 400 miles of coastline around the Bay.

The project, funded by Google, is intended to drive home the tangible impacts of climate change.

Tuxen-Bettman works for Google. She is expert at mapping wetlands. Operating the catamaran remotely by joystick is “basically a large-scale video game,” she told the Chron.

But she’s had far more exotic adventures. In 2009, Tuxen-Bettman traveled to Brazil’s Rio Negro Reserve for a similar project. This time the team mounted its camera on a trike, which was secured on a boat and floated down the Rio Negro River, the largest left tributary of the Amazon.

It captured 50,000 still photos allowing people sitting in their living rooms to journey deep into the rainforest.

Of course, the images also provide important insight on environmental concerns such as deforestation.

“We work with nonprofit organizations around the world on everything from conservation and the environment to humanitarian issues,” Tuxen-Bettman told The Record in 2012. “We train them to use Google’s mapping tools.”

“Being there (in the Amazon) was amazing,” she said. “The smells were beautiful. The sounds — just constant birds.”

Tuxen-Bettman went to Stagg High and was a Deltakeeper volunteer in the late 90s, helping reduce trash loads in local waterways.

For all of this city’s bad publicity, its homegrown talent has accomplished some pretty amazing things. Keep ’em coming, Stockton.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form.
  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Latest Tweets