Google and NASA announced an agreement last night that may have major implications for Google Earth. Google will be building a research facility on NASA property near Silicon Valley at the NASA Ames Research Center. In the process, Google will be gaining better access to NASA’s huge repository of space-related information. NASA will benefit from Google’s expertise in managing and organizing huge data repositories.
Google was quoted as saying “We already have Google Earth. We’d like to have Google Mars and Google Moon.” (Maybe this time they will show that the moon isn’t made of cheese?)
NASA was quoted as saying that the partnership was “…unprecedented, unparalleled and unequal.”
Apparently this announcement is largely based on a “memorandum of understanding” and they were not announcing a lot of specific details yet. However, you can bet Google Earth can only get better from this.
There is a good write-up on the announcement by the San Jose Mercury News at the Miami Herald here. And, the Google Press Release is available as well.
Google Earth News
Garmin has released a beta of their MapSource software which supports Google Earth directly. You simply pull down the “View -> View in Google Earth” and you can see your tracks, waypoints, and routes in GE directly. You can download the beta version of MapSource here. I was just playing with MapSource this morning and was thinking I should see if there was an update, and then I saw this blurb at OgleEarth. This new beta just continues to show how influential Google Earth is becoming. Nearly all of the primary geographically oriented software products are rushing to release convenient features to either support the GE file format (KML/KMZ), or direct access to GE.
If you don’t have a Garmin GPS, or don’t want to download the beta, then all you need to do is save your track (or get it converted) into the GPX file format. Google Earth allows you to open GPX files and will convert them for you. This is how I’ve been getting my GPS data into GE for months now.
This is the second time I’ve seen Geocaching.com owner’s Groundspeak stifle innovation and very useful enhancements. OgleEarth just wrote about this earlier today. Last month I wrote an article about Geocaching Google Earth showing a very powerful script written by Andy Fowler which allowed you to see Geocaches at the Geocaching.com web site from within Google Earth. You still had to link to Geocaching.com to see the useful data, it just made it MUCH easier to visualize where the caches are located by using GE. Here’s Andy Fowler’s views on what they have done, and I agree with him.
A new web site was announced last week which allows people to georeference WikiPedia articles. The Wikipedia is one of the grandest resources of information on the planet, created by the people for the people around the world (it’s available in at least 10 languages). The new web site is called Placeopedia. Placeopedia uses a slick Google Maps mashup interface to allow you to view “placemarks” of places linked to Wikipedia articles. Anyone can create a link (just like in WikiPedia, anyone can write or edit a story).
- You can now search your Places list
- The web window can be split vertically now, or you can pop the window out
- The Google Toolbar (after installation and restarting your browser) now has a “Search in Google Earth ”
I had just thought of the need for the search in Places the other day and now my wish is granted. It’s nice to see Google continuing to integrate GE with other applications. I’m going to check out the new web window features, but I suspect I will continue to use my favorite browser (Firefox).
I’m hoping they fixed the bug I had found earlier which forced the use of IE when you select the “Share with GE Community” menu option…yes, it’s fixed!