How Big is the Oil Spill in Relation to Your Home?

By now, the Gulf oil spill is without a doubt the most monumental environmental disaster of the past year, if not the past decade. But while we are being bombarded with news, often very graphic, of its scale, impact and consequences, it can be hard to digest information alienatingly outside the context of our own lives. We all know it's bad, but how bad? Big, but how big?

If It Was My Home

aims to address this by contextualizing the oil spill in relation to users' own homes – just type in your location and the Google Maps mashup will overlay the current size of the spill over your city (we covered an earlier tool here). Simple and powerfully effective, it suddenly puts things in perspective and makes the diaster incredibly, devastatingly palpable.

Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired U.K. and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.