Tour of the proposed Belo Monte Dam Complex

Google has just released a very impressive tour showing the potential repercussions of the proposed Belo Monte Dam Complex on the Xingu River in the Amazon. The tour consists of a handful of 3D models, water animations, and a variety of other graphical elements to show the potential impact.

belo-monte-dam.jpg

To be fair, Google makes it clear that they don’t necessarily oppose the dam, stating on their blog entry: “This is a complicated issue with many facets, and the views of this poster do not necessarily represent the official viewpoint of Google Inc.; we support the use of Google Earth for visualizations to create dialog.
It is indeed an excellent use of Google Earth to show data in this way. You can download the full tour KMZ file from the International Rivers site, or watch the video below:

For more information, check out the full entry on the Google LatLong Blog, or you can read the press release here:

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 30 /PRNewswire/ — Amazon Watch and International Rivers have teamed up to create a state-of-the-art 10-minute Google Earth 3-D tour and video narrated by actress Sigourney Weaver, with technical assistance from Google Earth Outreach, in support of Brazil’s Xingu River Forever Alive Movement. Download the tour or view the video on amazonwatch.org. The tour allows viewers to learn about the harmful impacts of, and alternatives to the massive Belo Monte Dam on the Amazon’s Xingu River.

If built, the Belo Monte Dam would be the third-largest hydroelectric dam in the world. The dam would divert the flow of the Xingu River, an important tributary of the Amazon River, in order to produce electricity for industrial mining operations in the region. The dam’s reservoirs would flood 668 square kilometers and displace more than 20,000 people. Late last week, the Brazilian government signed the concession to build the $17 billion-dollar project, ignoring local, national, and international opposition, proven financial and technical risks, and the ready availability of clean energy alternatives.

The tour and video, called “Defending the Rivers of the Amazon,” illustrates the impacts that diverting the river along a 100-km stretch will have on the two indigenous tribes who have lived there for generations. It also animates the flooding associated with the dam, impacts on the region’s spectacular biodiversity, and maps over 60 dams planned for the Brazilian Amazon over the next two decades.

The original concept for the Google Earth interactive tour and video emerged when Avatar director James Cameron and Sigourney Weaver traveled to the Xingu River in April, accompanied by Amazon Watch and the Brazilian environmental organization Instituto Socioambiental (ISA). After speaking with some of the indigenous tribes and riverbank families who would be directly affected, Weaver commented that the Belo Monte Dam would be “a disaster for the Xingu River, for the rainforest, and certainly for all the indigenous people and families living along the river. Their way of life will disappear.”

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.



Comments

  1. Johnnie H says:

    Great video until she spouts off “truly clean energy” referring to wind energy. It is not clean…period. It’s a travesty and greatly destroys wildlife. Wind energy is about money…period…government subsidies given to people and construction and maintenance companies benefiting huge profits. The Green puppets need to wake up and focus on real solutions. I know this region of Brazil well and have spent much time there. Follow the money trail…corrupt Brazilian government, politicians, and corporations incapable of preserving the Amazon b/c they are lining their pockets. These dams will have tremendous worldly consequences; oxygen, water, wildlife, and People!

  2. Thanks for an impressive piece of political misinforming, malicious propaganda. Starting with the statement that “25.000 indians live along the river” — and forgetting to say that most of those live far upstream where the impact of the dam will be nil. It goes all down from there. All the issues raised by the movie are either presented in a misleading way or were considered and remedied for. (By the way, you should inform readers that you are NOT affiliated with Google in any way!)

  3. @Jorge: (a) We readers know this site is not affiliated with Google. Read the About page if you want to know more about this blog. (b) Can you tell me what issues were misrepresented here apart from the count of locals who will be displaced, and also if you are in any way affiliated with the project.

  4. Great DME support, thank you :-)

  5. looks gr8 m8

  6. whoooo!! Love it

  7. I love this!!
    it’s like music to my ears!!
    Up the DAM!!

  8. Yeah Dude This Is Amazing!! Love John Smith

  9. Great video, but its all wrong, love the idea of the Dam, amazing project

  10. Thanks for an impressive piece of political misinforming, malicious propaganda. Starting with the statement that “25.000 indians live along the river” — and forgetting to say that most of those live far upstream where the impact of the dam will be nil. It goes all down from there. All the issues raised by the movie are either presented in a misleading way or were considered and remedied for. (By the way, you should inform readers that you are NOT affiliated with Google in any way!)

  11. Thanks for an impressive piece of political misinforming, malicious propaganda. Starting with the statement that “25.000 indians live along the river” — and forgetting to say that most of those live far upstream where the impact of the dam will be nil. It goes all down from there. All the issues raised by the movie are either presented in a misleading way or were considered and remedied for. (By the way, you should inform readers that you are NOT affiliated with Google in any way!)

  12. Sophie Fraser says:

    @Jorge: (a) We readers know this site is not affiliated with Google. Read the About page if you want to know more about this blog. (b) Can you tell me what issues were misrepresented here apart from the count of locals who will be displaced, and also if you are in any way affiliated with the project.

  13. I love Geography! :)

  14. Dams rule! Three gorges was just proof that animals are no match for the superior human race.

  15. bobjonaslover says:

    Bob Jonas. You are an inspiration for this planet. People are in need for a dictator like you. This world is full of problems like AIDS and Justin Bieber, but i think you may be able to resolve these problems through genocide.

  16. Toby Lerone says:

    I for one think that the matter of the Belo Monte Dam is corkscrewing out of control. All interested parties should sit down around a table and work out a compromise. The local indigenous people should realise that progress comes at a cost – They must understand that Brazil is a rapidly developing country and needs address the energy issues it faces, head on.

  17. Danny Sykes says:

    Personally I am not a fan of the Indians, and as far as I am concerned there villages should be washed away or burnt to the ground #GoGenocide

  18. dan hands says:

    #cut4bieber i love geography and justin bieber and i find bobjonaslovers comments abusive. we need energy so go ahead belo nick monte.

  19. The Belo Monte Dam should never be built! Love you Sigourney Weaver! x

  20. Jap Turdston says:

    My knee hurts :( great video though and great blog! #GoogleEarther4Life

  21. shout out to the King’s geography boys, except Dave

  22. Rat Feelin says:

    Jap Turdston I hope your knee is better soon! How on earth did you manage to do that you silly sausage! #BeloMonte4Life
    Also, not too sure on the ‘#GoGenocide’…

  23. Purple is the new pink says:

    Toby Lerone, what an odd phrase to say something is “corkscrewing out of control”…

  24. Dr.Z.Blaze says:

    I have done extensive research into this project and as a doctor I conclude that this dam will have huge ecological consequences. Some species may be lost altogether including the ‘maweemawee’ fish that mates using its unbelievably huge corkscrew shaped penis. Down with the dam! Jap Turdston I am sorry for the loss of your knees and if you drop into my clinic I will give you a free appointment.

  25. llewelyn dowd says:

    i have done extensive research into this particular area, and have spent numerous hours building models of the proposed damn and examining the impact on wildlife, by pouring chocolate milkshake into the damn till it floods and seeing the area of my bedroom it spills. Geography is general knowledge no need to revise

  26. LORD MALCOM NELSON 2K13

  27. Shaun Billows says:

    what is brazil?

  28. Tom Dickinson says:

    I am, which is possible, half man half frog. All my friends call me kermit and the muppets character, the funny thing is, he is my uncle. Anyway, I live on the Xingu river and if the Dam is built I will lose my home and all the sexy lady frogs will move out. I really dont want the dam to be built… Or i may die a virgin. Peace and love.

  29. Alex Davis says:

    If your knee still hurt im happy to kiss it better ;) xoxoxoxoxoxox

  30. Biscuit the dog says:

    Jap Turdston, I heard you lost your knees in a dramatic corkscrew incident and I am very sorry for your loss.

  31. I cannot stand for this nonsense anymore! Sigourney is right! #Justice4Jap #BanBadminton

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