[UPDATE 0920 EST – Initially I was pointing to the wrong air quality EPA file. Story corrected.]
EPA Air Quality – The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a Google Earth file which gives a near-real-time report of air quality across the US (an Air Quality Index – AQI). The information comes from a web site callled AirNOW. The data is updated hourly, and you can tell at a glance based on the colors of placemarks where there are problem areas. The file uses network links to continuously update the data while you are watching. You can also keep the network link in your Places folder and turn it on whenever you want to check the AQI. The AirNOW site says that they are working to make the KML file compatible with Virtual Earth and WorldWind which are also supporting KML. [My apologies for not finding the right EPA KML file initially, there is another KML file on air quality from the EPA as well.]
DigitalGlobe – DigitalGlobe has already commissioned the satellite they launched in September – WorldView-I. According to details from AnyGeo, the satellite company began delivering data to its government customer on November 17, and will start selling data to commercial customers in January 2008. I’m impressed with how quickly they commissioned this satellite. It’s possible Google will receive some of the data at the beginning of the year, but I wouldn’t expect to see any imagery from the new satellite in Google Earth earlier than April.
Bolivia Protected Areas – A Google Earth Community member named ‘maartenzam’ has posted an excellent KML file showing the protected environmental areas in Bolivia (in Spanish). Bolivia has some of the most diverse plant and animal life on Earth in its Amazonian tropical forests. This is an excellent way to learn more about the areas. via María’s Spanish Google Earth Blog.