It was recently announced that Michael Jones, one of the original founders of Google Earth, has left Google and is now CEO of a cool new VR glasses maker called Wearality. These glasses are unlike other VR glasses because of an ultra-wide 150 degree field of view thanks to patented fresnel lens technology. If you hurry, you can still join their Kickstarter campaign and get early access to these new VR glasses, which are reportedly awesome to behold. They are 88% of the way to their goal of raising $100K, and 8 days are left to the deadline.
I have always dreamed of seeing Google Earth done right in VR. Now we have someone at the wheel of a major new technology who has a serious interest in making that happen! You can already view Google Earth data in the Wearality glasses thanks to its interface with Google Cardboard, which shows StreetView data in stereoscopic 3D. It won’t be long I think before we see more Google Earth goodness from this company.
You can see a short (12 seconds) direct view of what its like looking through the glasses (view of a roller coaster) by someone who used their LG G3 smartphone looking through one lens (select HD mode for best viewing):
I’ve known Michael since he worked at Silicon Graphics over 20 years ago, and we have all used technology he helped create like OpenGL and Google Earth. The fact he has left Google to run this VR glasses company tells me he thinks this one will usher in yet another major computer graphics revolution.
Since the early days of Google Earth, people have looked for ways to use it to enhance real estate searches and information. You can go all the way back to 2005 to see an example that Frank posted, and it was just a month ago that we showed you some great tools from Jason Fox.
There is a company called CityRealty that is doing some interesting things with Google Earth that we thought we’d take a look at. By using Google Earth’s 3D imagery, then laying information and photos on top of it, you end up with a pretty slick way to view a city.
It’s not as interactive as I’d like to see (you can click around the map, but the imagery is static), but it’s a great way to show off a city.
In their press release, Daniel Levy, President of CityRealty, explained the new site as follows:
“Looking for an apartment in New York City can be daunting, and our new site is designed to turn the housing search in the most complex real estate market in the world into a simple, streamlined experience for those looking to make New York home. It’s our hope that our new and improved online resources, coupled with our tailored agent recommendations, will seamlessly guide customers from the start of the search to the moment they get their keys.”
In British Columbia there is a proposal to build a new dam at “Site C” to help generate affordable clean energy to the region. It sounds like a wonderful idea, but with any project of this size there are certainly downsides to consider as well. In particular, according to this report(PDF):
The District of Hudson’s Hope, a community of 1,100 people in the heart of the Peace River Valley, will be impacted more than any other municipality by the proposed Site C dam.
The video below explores the project, hears from involved parties, and makes great use of Google Earth to add context to the area and some rough looks at what the result of the dam would look like.
Frank Taylor here, still the publisher for Google Earth Blog. Five years ago I was deep in preparation for a 5+ year sailing expedition around the world, documenting the trip using Google Earth and other Google tools. So, I needed to recruit someone to help write the Google Earth Blog (GEB). I was very fortunate I already knew the perfect candidate, Mickey Mellen, and he enthusiastically took on the job. Mickey has done a fantastic job of continuing the GEB for nearly 5 years, and I couldn’t have been happier with his work. Fortunately for him, he also has an Internet services business that is taking off now. Unfortunately, this means he has to focus on the growing business and doesn’t have the time to continue writing the GEB.
We are 75% of the way around the world on our sailing expedition, but won’t be finishing the trip sooner than June of next year. So, the GEB needs a new writer for at least that long.
Here are the skills needed to be the primary writer of GEB (in order of priority):
Google Earth enthusiast and expert user, english speaking/writing
Familiarity with this blog and its content
Willingness to respond to readers who ask for assistance, at least to refer them to proper sources of information
Ability to grasp and write about the broad range of technologies using, or used by, Google Earth (GIS, science, 3D graphics, satellites, aerial photography, 3D modeling, etc.)
Experience with blog writing, blogging tools and image processing helps
Someone I know already a plus
Willingness to improve GEB content quality a plus
Ability to produce video demonstrations of Google Earth a plus
The writer will be paid based on a percentage of the revenues generated by ads on the web site. Please send me an E-mail (address at the bottom of this page) if you would like to apply. In your e-mail, present a case why you think you would be a good candidate for the job. Do not apply if you expect to be able to use GEB as an advertising platform for other products or services. Only apply if you think you can write the same kind of material as already appears in GEB. Links to your similar writings recommended.
DigitalGlobe is one of the leading providers of satellite imagery for Google Earth, and now they’re teaming up with the World Resources Institute to track fires across southeast Asia via their new Global Forest Watch Fires system.
Nigel Sizer, global director of the World Resource Institute’s Forests Program, said, “With DigitalGlobe’s imagery, you can see down to the individual tree level and even identify species. DigitalGlobe imagery is processed as color-infrared, enabling WRI to quickly distinguish between healthy and dead vegetation, draw burn area boundaries, and detect burn scars in order to assign accountability to the fires.”
It’s a great way to use DigitalGlobe’s impressive ability to capture imagery to make a difference in the world.