Frogger Made Real: Using Google Earth to Map Toad Crossings

The common toad is becoming much less common in England due to a sharp increase in traffic- and road-related deaths, but with the help of Google Earth, some conservationists hope to reverse the trend.


Froglife, an amphibian conservation group, has mapped 700  crossings throughout the United Kingdom with a tweaked Google Earth application. The data returns live results on toad fatalities and crossings so that the group can notify the public of areas where the animals tend to cross.

“Google Earth software is allowing wildlife experts to use new creative ways to communicate important conservation issues to an increasingly techno-savvy public,” said Jules Howard of Froglife. “We’re delighted that more people can get involved in the Toads on Roads campaign by using this free software.”

You don’t need Google Earth to help out. If you see toads crossing a road, Froglife asks that you notify their campaign here.

The common toad was listed as a threatened species in 2007. Froglife blames high curbs on roads for many toad deaths. The animals can’t jump high enough to get out of the gutter and are eventually washed into drains where they starve to death.

The group can also dispatch their volunteer toad patrols who can help toads cross the roads safely. In the future, Froglife hopes that Google Earth can help the government decide where to build new roads and highways.

Image: Frogger screenshot on Atari 2600

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