Yesterday GEB wrote about some Google Earth maps for sharing public information about cities (the fire hydrant story). A regular GEB reader, Joe Wade, sent me an E-mail telling me about an excellent Google Earth plugin interactive map for a city. Peachtree City in Georgia (near Atlanta), has built this Google Earth plugin map which lets you turn on many layers of GIS information. Included are layers for fire hydrants, potholes, police reports, parks, floodzone map, bike trails maps, restaurants, churches, and much more.
I believe the developers of the Peachtree City map probably wanted to use Google Maps, but they have so much data to present they ran into the limitations on data in Google Maps. Google Earth is much better at handling large datasets. Also, the plugin API enables you to build your own interactive interface around the map. They used this so they could present a long list of layers in a friendly fashion. So, this map is an excellent case for using Google Earth API and plugin.
One thing the Peachtree City map doesn’t have yet is the ability for people to report issues/problems. Adding the ability for citizens to add complaints for things like potholes would make this an even more useful utility. For an example of how this could be done, look at the Pune, India citizen complaint map.
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.
This is a very impressive use of GE plugin and the most civic data I’ve seen in one place publicly. (part of) Georgia is now competing with Alabama for best GIS system!
Uncle Eddie says
WebGIS is great when you are connected to the internet! My work frequently requires me to spend time in the field performing data collection on an interactive map. What does Google earth do for me?
Frank Taylor says
@Uncle Eddie: Actually, one of Google Earth’s greatest features is that it can be used offline (without an Internet connection). You can cache up to 2 Gbytes of imagery, 3D terrain, and other data – plus, you can save KML files with important content – and then use it in the field. Lots of scientists and other mapping afficionados are taking advantage of this. I use Google Earth on my boat for extra navigational value and tracking purposes without an Internet connection (when out of range).
See this post:
A visit to the Peartree City site on Safari produces the message that the GE plug in is only available for Windows, which was pointed out by GFB in summer.
Is there any news about an OS X version simply for those of us who want to view stuff like the Peartree City site, and if and when available will it need a special download?