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This startup wants to make a Google Street View for rivers, lakes, and bays

Interactive mapping has revolutionized the way we understand the land we inhabit, but not the water; America’s inland waterways are still just blue lines on a map.

Scott Gallagher, a retired fighter pilot, and Brian Foote, a fishery scientist, are trying to change that. The two men have launched a startup called FishViews and taken on the seemingly impossible task of making an interactive atlas of the world’s waterways.

They like to refer to their project as “digital preservation of what’s here right now,” because according to Brian, “these systems aren’t going to look this way five years from now, let’s make sure we understand what they look like right now.”

Gallagher and Foote use a range of technology — a customized panoramic camera, an underwater camera, a water quality meter, and a geo-locator — to document waterways and create 360-degree panoramic images. Who can use this information, and for what purpose? VICE News’ Nellie Bowles went to Texas to find out.

This segment originally aired March 22, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.