GE for Scientists – Dr Jon Blower from the University of Reading won an award for ‘Best Paper’ at a UK e-Science Meeting in Nottingham for describing how Google Earth can help scientists share results with the general public. There’s a good write-up at ScienceWorlds which has a particular emphasis on environmental science, but applies to other sciences as well.
Human body – Speaking of science, IBM announced last week that it is building a tool for exploring the human body which works similar to Google Earth. A 3D way of exploring anatomy. Avi Bar-Zeev, one of the original developers of the application which became Google Earth, has posted some interesting thoughts about the enormous challenge for creating a human anatomy explorer using a Google Earth approach. He says he has been doing research in this area for a number of years, and that this project will be even more challenging than Google Earth. In particular because to do it right, you can’t just model a single body, but the endless possibilities of human variation – whereas, there is only one Earth.
Burma – OgleEarth reveals some Google Earth data which was commissioned by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to show before and after satellite photos revealing ethnic cleansing in Burma. Stefan makes some good observations about the increasing role of Google Earth to help visualize human atrocities, and the hope that the media will start to realize this and start sharing the KML files. Speaking of which, here is the KML for the Burma visualization.
Census Exploration – A nice new US census visualization tool for Google Earth has been released by Zonums Software. The new tool is called GE Census Explorer and allows you produce colorful 3D bar charts, pie charts, histograms, and scatter-plots. FreeGeographyTools has a good review and lots of screenshots. This new tool requires you to download an application, but a web interface is promised “soon”. Meanwhile, you could also try gCensus which does something similar for Google Earth using a web interface.
Virtual Earth – Microsoft continues to release a gigantic amount of new data for Virtual Earth. They recently pushed out over 10 terabytes of new imagery including many cities in the US, UK, France, and Canada (see the list). The data includes both straight-down aerial and satellite imagery and oblique “birds-eye” imagery. I wish Google was adding as much new imagery per month as Microsoft has been doing. In the meantime, you can get the best of both worlds inside Google Earth by using GlobeGlider which lets you use Virtual Earth inside Google Earth synchronized.
Cleanup Weekend – Google is promoting the weekend of October 13 and 14 as International Cleanup Weekend. They are encouraging the use of Google Maps and Google Earth to mark the location and plans of cleanup efforts and encourage people to attend and help out. There are already over 100 locations world-wide with clean-ups mapped. To join the effort, simply visit Google’s starting page and add your plan to the map.
Links: GE for scientists, Human body, Burma, Census Explorer, Virtual Earth, Cleanup Weekend
October 2, 2007