While I’ve been running around this week preparing my boat for a possible strike from a tropical storm, Google has been busy making several posts this week on Google Earth on the Google LatLong Blog. This week there have ve been a number of Google Earth focused posts. Here are some highlights:
Virtual Globes at AGU – For the last two years I’ve attended the American Geophysical Union fall session in San Francisco because they’ve held special sessions focused on using Virtual Globes for science applications (see my reports for 2006, and 2007). These sessions have been largely dominated by Google Earth applications since GE is the most popular tool for geospatial visualizations by the masses. This post is a call for abstracts for upcoming 2008 sessions and refers to a post at the Geo Developer Blog with more details.
New Georgian Data – This one really isn’t about Google Earth. Google took some flack recently for not having map data in Georgia (when the country was being attacked by Russia). Google has now added new map data, and lots of photos of the area are available through the Panoramio layer. The road data isn’t yet available in GE, but the photo data is (try searching for “Tbilisi” – if you search for “Georgia” you’ll probably go to the US state).
Hurricane Gustav Satellite Photos – Google has provided this story about how NOAA has already flown missions to gather aerial photos of the aftermath to Hurricane Gustav in the Mississippi Delta region. There is also a KML layer which lets you view the imagery. Fortunately, Gustav was not nearly as destructive as Katrina. During Katrina, Google put an enormous effort to help NOAA process aerial imagery quickly and make it available through Google Earth. This was really helpful to both disaster responders and people who had evacuated who wanted to determine the state of their homes and property after the storm. The post also describes healthcare information available from Direct Relief.
UNEP Layer Update – The Global Awareness layer folder contains a layer called “UNEP: Atlas of our Changing Environment“. This layer was introduced in September 2006. Google has now updated the layer and now showcases 187 sites around the world where the environment has been altered mostly by human development and destruction. You can compare older satellite photos to current photos and see things like the destruction of Amazon Forests, urban growth around national parks, melting glaciers, and more. Turn on the layer and zoom in to find the UNEP placemarks. Open the placemarks and read for more details including links to load image overlays to compare photos.
Postcards from Google Earth – Google has posted some tips on how to take cool views you see in Google Earth and use the built-in features to either send an image of that scene or the captured position (generate a placemark for that view) and E-mail it to a friend. This is a great tip for sharing what you see in Google Earth quickly and easily.