EDF / Methane Maps

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) works to solve the world’s biggest environmental problems, including helping to combat climate change by locating methane leaks underneath city streets with Google Maps.

US cities researched with Street View cars
methane leaks mapped
data transparency
"With layered mapping, we've shown that there's an average of one leak per mile (in Boston) to one leak every 200 miles (in Indianapolis), demonstrating the effectiveness of techniques like using plastic piping instead of steel for pipeline construction. We hope utilities can use this data to prioritise the replacement of gas mains and service lines."

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About 25 per cent of the global warming we face at the moment is due to methane. It can be released from biological sources like landfills and cow pastures, but can also come from leaky pipes underneath city streets, delivering the natural gas that heats our homes and provides cooking fuel. It’s an extremely powerful greenhouse gas: it has 84 times as much impact as carbon dioxide over a 20-year timeframe. EDF’s goal was to identify and reduce those gas leaks to help slow climate change.


EDF joined forces with Google Earth Outreach to put methane analysers on Google Street View cars. While the cars drive to capture 360-degree Street View imagery, the analysers measure the concentration of the methane gas in the air. The team also worked with a scientist and professor at Colorado State University to analyse the spikes in methane levels and detect leaks in the underground pipes. EDF chose Google Maps APIs because they have the design features and flexibility they needed to visualise the data in a way that can be easily understood. Google Maps APIs allow the team to map the roads where Street View cars drive and the locations where the analysers detected methane leaks.


  • By making information about methane leaks transparent, EDF is providing a unique way for utilities, regulators and the public to work together and invest in infrastructure improvement and repairs
  • Capturing and visualising data in a way that can be easily understood by all stakeholders and partners
Infoxchange Google Maps Phone

APIs used

Millions of apps and sites use Google Maps APIs to benefit from a powerful mapping platform. Discover which set API EDF has used to create their Methane Maps website:


Google Maps Javascript API

Layer data on to roads where methane leaks are detected

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