GulfImpact.com was just released today by the Timoney Group. Gulf Impact is a powerful demonstration of how Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita affected the Oil and Gas Industry assets in the Gulf of Mexico. Brian Timoney is a GIS professional who really believes in the power of 3D visualization and provides consulting services to businesses interested in reaching the public using Google Earth.
The Timoney Group conducted tests to determine how best to present the data. There are over a dozen layers of data including oil pipelines, oil platforms, gas pipelines, hurricane paths, before/after production rates, and analysis tools. They chose a dedicated web site with an entry choice based on the type of person entering (general audience, energy professional, geospatial professional, or you can see the entire list of layers). The bar graphs showing the 2004/2005 production rates help illustrate just how serious the damage affected the industry. Try turning on hurricane paths and the bar graphs for oil production (’04/’05) for example. I highly recommend visiting the site for the full effect though.
The most interesting tool is the “Buffer Hurricane Paths” tool. This allows you as a user to input how large an area the hurricane paths cut. And another tool lets you input your own path. You simply enter a radius and colors. The server uses GIS tools to generate a new visualization for you and immediately place it back in your GE view. Make sure you read the “Preview” which provides instructions for using this tool. It involves looking at the Places folder after you download the buffer tool, and making a change in the browser window, but is actually quite simple to use. [Note: the Timoney Group reports there are some issues with the buffer tool and the Mac Beta version of Google Earth which they are working on fixing.]
This is a yet another powerful example of how a professional can make dramatic, and useful, visualizations with Google Earth. The Timoney group also produced a visualization for Jonah Gas and a South American Trade demonstration. OgleEarth has conducted an interview with Brian Timoney which is worth reading.