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 team of students from the German Europen School Singapore GPS tagged a whale shark in August. They are using Google Earth to show the track of this gentle 7 meter long creature which they named “Schroeder”. Whale Sharks are more whale than shark by most common perceptions. Their primary food is plankton which is why they have very large mouths so they can swim and capture large quantities of these small bits of food.
Download Schroeder’s track . You can see from the track that Schroeder has moved about 700 KM in the last month from the Seychelles (where they tagged him) towards the continent of Africa. This is an interesting application of Google Earth to visualize the track of a wild animal through the oceans. I expect other marine scientists who are tracking whales, turtles, dolphins, and many other sea creatures will begin to follow this excellent example for using our favorite tool. The students have created an english version of their site which you can find here. Their post at the GE Community can be found here.
By the way, I found a link on their web site to a story that Whale Sharks are getting smaller due to overfishing. Definitely worth a read since overfishing is a serious concern affecting sea life around the world.
A couple of years ago we took a sabbatical and sailed our catamaran PatiCat from the US to Bermuda, down through the Caribbean islands, back through the Bahamas, and finally back to the US. This was the realization of a life-long dream. While on the trip, we documented our journey through a web site with lots of photos and stories. I had generated some maps showing various parts of our passages, but I always felt it was an inadequate way to demonstrate where we were. That remained true until Google Earth came out.
Even if you have never heard of Geocaching, you’ll find the following network link an interesting way to explore the Earth. What is Geocaching? It’s a recreational byproduct of the GPS and the Internet. From the Geocaching FAQ:
The basic idea is to have individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is if they get something they should try to leave something for the cache.
One of my first serious uses of GE was to examine data from a recent backpacking trip. The backpacking trip was up Mount Wrightson, Arizona and I took my GPS along for the hike. I saved the track and waypoints from the GPS and imported them into GE. Then I superimposed a USGS topgraphical map of the area for further reference. I also added some photos taken during the trip (which I georeferenced using the GPS track and time stamps from the camera).
The result is a GE KMZ file which you can view which really illustrates the backpacking trip. Especially if you use the tilt function (I recommend using your middle mouse button if you have one) to see the rugged terrain of this 4000 foot ascent. You also get an idea just how fabulous the view is from this peak.
By the way, if you turn on “Borders” in GE you can see that the border of Arizona and Mexico is easily viewed from the peak.