NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio has released a long list of Google Earth time animations of weather satellite “movies”, and other scientific visualizations which had already been available as Quicktime movies or image sequences. This is the largest collection of GE time animations I’ve seen to date. Time animations are a feature only available in Google Earth 4 (Version 4.0.2091 or greater – download the latest GE here). The concept of taking these visualizations and georeferencing them into Google Earth is great. However, NASA needs to provide lower resolution versions for some of the GE time animations because some of them take up too much memory. Caution! If you are willing to brave the risk of extra large datasets here is the NASA web site. The GE time animations are the links on the right side of the page. Some of the animations include dozens of multi-megabyte images (so, not only do you run the risk of running out of memory, but they may take a while to download). I suggest clicking on the links with the photos on the left first to decide whether the movie or images have too much data to attempt with the GE version. One of my favorites from the collection is the animation of Hurricane Katrina (this is still very large, but worth it if your computer can handle it). Thanks to ‘barnabu’ at the GEC for the tip on these new NASA files.
The new time feature in the latest Google Earth 4 Beta (4.0.2080 or greater – download here) enables you to simply put a time stamp on your data and Google Earth will then allow you to animate through the data using a time slider gadget. A number of interesting applications of the time feature were implemented within days after the new beta was released. Brian Flood, the creator of Arc2Earth (a software application used to take data from ESRI ArcGIS software), has developed a very slick animation showing satellite photos of Hurricane Katrina, overlayed over sea surface temperature, and also includes vector track data and storm strength indicators. Download Brian’s Katrina file , and you should see the time gadget appear. Shrink the time slider width to a small size, then select the time “play” button (shaped like a right arrow play button on TV remotes).
I would like to see meteorolgists do this with current weather data. Weather sites should take note. Google Earth is a great visualization tool for weather. Check out some cool storm tracking tools and other weather resources collected by Google Earth Blog.
[UPDATE 1240 ET: That was fast! Right after I wrote this story the Norwegian Meteorological Institute releases a very well done set of time-based weather data . OgleEarth has the details.]
Last year the Google Earth Team contributed to the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in a very unique fashion. They worked with Red Cross, NOAA, FEMA, and other government organizations to provide aerial imagery (and other data), taken after the hurricane hit, inside of Google Earth just a few days after the devastating hurricane hit. Because GE is so easy to use, not only did the relief organizations use this imagery to help assess damage, but also the citizens of the damaged areas were quick to realize they could see what damage may have occurred to their homes (since due to the evacuations they were not able to return for quite some time). The GE team did a phenomenal job considering the amount of work involved in georeferencing thousands of new photos and creating methods for users to view the data quickly and easily.
Last week the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (one of the top US government mapping and GIS organizations) presented the “Hurricane Katrina Recognition Award” to the Google Earth team, as well as the Google Enterprise and Global Support groups, for their direct support during the Katrina disaster. Read the details in the Official Google Blog. They did a great job!
Here is a summary of some of the resources provided by Google for Hurricane Katrina. And here is a reverse chronological listing of stories written about Hurricane Katrina by the Google Earth Blog as the events happened.
The GE Community helped create some very valuable resources for Hurricane Katrina Victims, for official organizations responding to the crisis, and for millions of people around the world interested in learning more. There have been many stories in the news about these efforts.