How to Watch the National Mall in Real Time

By Eric Hal Schwartz

- DCInno
Want to see what's going on around the National Mall but don't feel like putting on pants? Now you can, thanks to a partnership between the Trust for the National Mall, the Smithsonian Institution and New York-based startup EarthCam.
As you can see in the image above, the camera, donated by EarthCam, shows the view from the Smithsonian Castle’s North Flag Tower facing north and west. At the moment it's a beautiful, if snowy, day out, but time-lapse videos and panoramic views will be part of the offering from EarthCam too. The partnership was arranged in part to promote the next stage of the National Mall turf restoration project. The second part of the effort started in October and is supposed to create a healthy green lawn that won't need as much water or other resources to flourish.
“We are thrilled that this partnership will allow more people to understand the complex nature of the turf restoration while also educating the public about the need to restore and preserve our National Mall,” said Caroline Cunningham, president of the Trust for the National Mall in a statement.
The new lawn will have a four-foot deep combination of turf and soil with an underground drainage system to collect water for irrigation. Ideally, it won't be as easily trampled or killed by all the people and tourists tramping over it and will be able to stand up to weather that the previous lawn could not. The Trust compares it to a sports stadium in that regard.
It's a good fit for EarthCam, which has worked with the National Park Service a lot over the last decade. It's responsible for the camera that documented the repair of the Washington Monument for instance. Now it can show off what's being done to fix another part of the Mall too.
“The turf restoration is a major undertaking designed to create a more sustainable future for the National Mall,” said Brian Cury, CEO EarthCam. “We are proud to work with the Trust for the National Mall on this massive endeavor and look forward to showing the public what is being done to America’s front yard over the next couple of years.”
The live streaming robotic turf restoration camera, which faces north and pans east to west from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument, will also include time-lapse imagery and panoramas that illustrate the extensive repairs.
To view the live camera or learn more about the Trust’s Campaign for the National Mall, please click here.