Washington DC is the first city I’m aware of to use Google Earth to report on the status of fire hydrants. The DC Water and Sewer Authority has released a KML network link which reports on both working and non-working hydrants throughout the city. Not only that, but if you see a hydrant which is not working you can report it through the KML file placemarks! While fire hydrants may not be an every day concern for most people, I think this type of public information ought to be easily accessible to citizens of cities all over the world. This is GIS (Geographic Information Systems) for the masses with Google Earth making it easy to visualize and use the data. via DCist
An even better example of this I read about a while back was a city in India which had released a similar file showing potholes. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the KML file for this one, but here is a Times of India story on it. (UPDATE: A commenter below provides the link to the potholes interactive map – it uses Google Maps.) I can’t think of the number of times I’ve wished I had a mapping application online so I could report a pothole since I read that. In fact, I may actually write my local county office and suggest they do that. You could even write an iPhone app to make it even easier to report location!
(UPDATE 30-Sept.: GEB reader Joe Wade points to an excellent Google Earth plugin GIS map for Peachtree City, Georgia. This is my new favorite city-wide GIS site. Check it out.)
Some other examples of GIS with Google Earth:
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.
Michael Naughton says
Here is the link to the website that can be used to report potholes in India
RJ Marquette says
There’s more to the DC thing. There was a serious fire at the Georgetown Library a while back and the fire department discovered the hydrant they wanted to use wasn’t working. The status of fire hydrants suddenly became a hot issue (sorry for the pun). Rep. Davis Asks For D.C. Fire Hydrant Investigation
Sheldon Huelin says
Google Earth amazes me on a daily basis. I introduced my students to Streetview, they couldn’t believe it actually existed.
That is great! Now I know that Google Earth can pinpoint locations of items such as fire hydrants.