Cartography With a Kayak

A Seattle fish scientist uses technology, photography and good old-fashioned paddling power to create immersive digital maps of Puget Sound that document the impacts of climate change

My Way or the Waterway

From a grunge garage band to an Alaskan trawler, Brian Footen tested a lot of waters before realizing his fish-biologist destiny and launching EarthViews

A SEATTLE FISH SCIENTIST by the name of Brian Footen arrives at Shilshole Bay on a drab but dry May morning wearing blue cargo shorts, mud-stained hiking boots and a fossil gray Patagonia jacket with a salmon etched onto the right sleeve. A break in the wet spring weather is affording him a chance to share his quixotic expedition of paddling 1,200 miles in a kayak to digitally map Puget Sound’s nearshore, where the sea meets the land.

Before casting off in water as smooth as polished beryl, Footen attaches a GoPro MAX camera onto an industrial tripod in his Seastream Angler kayak. He fiddles…