News Roundup – Tax Collector, Google Federal, Virtual Worlds Conference

  • Tax Collector – An interesting article by Fernando Cassia in Argentina in the Inquirer describes how a tax collector in Argentina has been using Google Earth Pro to catch property owners who haven’t been paying taxes. The tax collector was “able to identify 362 undeclared finished houses and 284 construction sites, all spread in four exclusive gated country clubs”. This isn’t the first time tax collectors have been publicized for using GE – see my blog entry from December of 2005. But, this is the first time some real numbers have been released and a collector has gained such notoriety. I’m sure many tax collectors have been using aerial photography for some time in some countries like the US, but this may get more attention in other parts of the world.
  • Google Federal – The Washington Post has an interesting article about Google increasing its push to gain business in the US Government sector. Google is apparently holding a two day sales meeting to promote itself and over 200 government representatives came yesterday. The article highlights the fact that Google Earth is already being used in several parts of the government. And it goes on to say:

    For Google’s mapping product, doing more business with the federal government is like coming full circle. The technology behind Google Earth, which Google says has 200 million users, got its start in the intelligence community, in a CIA-backed firm called Keyhole. Google acquired Keyhole in 2004.

    This is the first time I’m aware of that Google has updated their number from nearly a year ago where they said they had 100 million users – now less than a year later they say they have 200 MILLION!

  • Virtual Worlds Conference – There is a conference March 28-29 in New York City called “Virtual Worlds 2007 – The Future of Marketing and Media” which I just discovered. This conference is really focused on ways to capitalize on new thriving virtual world applications like Second Life, World of Warcraft, and There. But, Google Earth has pretty big marketing possibilities even if it is only a virtual globe and not a real virtual world (the key difference being that you can’t currently go inside GE and meet up with other people). I’m kind of surprised I don’t see any folks from Google in the speaker list, but I’m sure someone will bring up the topic of Google Earth at the conference since there are more users of GE than any of the virtual worlds out there.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. In response to your Virtual Worlds Conference post, we are talking to the Google Earth folks about participating in the show. Will let you know if we have any news to report on that front.
    Chris Sherman
    Exec. Director
    Virtual Worlds 2007

  2. How is it that Argentina has up-to-date maps, but the US doesn’t? I live in a popular area in North Carolina, but Google maps and the latest Google Earth still show photos from over 5 years ago. My friends in various places around the states have reported the same thing.

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