New Version of Google Earth & Updates to Google Maps Announced


In terms of the more technical audience, will you deepen the product's reach to the point of geospatial analysis for some users or will it remain more of a development tool for a commercial audience?

“I would split that - people who really need to do deep analytics with ESRI software will still do that because that's great software for people to do that with. I think a lot of GIS is deep analytics, and a lot of what is called 'GIS' is people taking the result of some analytics, done by a GIS expert and then building either a map, or a presentation board or a set of facts to make a case to others. All the people who decide where the sewer line goes are the people who actually use the GIS software to do that, the one expert per city, but the people who actually argue about it: the council members, the mayor and the public, there are hundreds or millions of these. The one was already well served by traditional GIS software. Our role is to serve the millions. We've addressed the needs of the millions.”

Jones suggested that the real question still remains: what about those people in the middle - the 20? “I imagine as we get richer, we'll address their needs a little better, but not all the way to the one. People who want to deeply examine the result of policy decisions, will be increasingly driven to the features we have in Google Earth, but they won't take them all the way to analytics.”

Google Earth 4 addresses what was a major omission in Google Earth 3, which was, if you had data, how would you use your data in Google Earth? “In Google Earth 3, you could put an overlay on top of our data, but that overlay image had to be of a size that would fit in texture memory all at once, like 2000 x 2000. But if buy an image from Digital Globe or another photo company, it's going to be a multi-Gigabyte 10,000 or 20,000 pixel square picture, which will never fit in the graphics hardware of anybody's computer. How would you overlay that onto Google Earth? It turned out that was kind of an ugly situation for people who were in the middle.”

To solve that, “We added this new feature (launched also on the 12th) called the Region Based Network link, that is a mechanism in Google Earth that allows developers, just through building their data through a Perl script or a C + program, to generate a database they can serve from a web server such as Apache, that would let their users fly over an arbitrarily big image. So people have already started posting USGS orthoquads, USGS topos, giant images produced out of traditional GIS programs,” explained Jones. “If you use the program to produce a watershed map for your county, and that map is gargantuan in its entirety, you can already start buying tools or look at Open Source tools that will take that picture, dice it up and prepare it to be streamed to Google Earth clients, so everybody in your DOT or constituency can actually fly around that in Google Earth on top of the regular data, but do so smoothly and fluently.”

Top News of the Week

ESRI announced the availability of a new version of the GIS Portal Toolkit. GIS Portal Toolkit 3 includes improved installation and configuration, better metadata management and access control, and integration with ArcGIS Desktop.

The GIS Portal Toolkit is a technology and services solution for implementing local, regional, national, and global spatial data infrastructure portals. GIS portals organize content (using metadata) and services such as directories, search tools, community information, support resources, data, and applications.

NOAA scientists have discovered areas of deep-sea corals in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary off the Washington state's Olympic Peninsula during a recent 12-day scientific research mission on board the NOAA ship McArthur II. Results from the surveys were dramatic. At least six species of soft coral and one species of stony coral were observed. In some areas scientists encountered fields of erect soft corals known as "gorgonians" with individual colonies as high as three feet and in other areas isolated patches of coral colonies associated with scattered boulders. Corals observed included giant cup corals, branching soft corals such as "bubblegum coral" and the stony reef-building coral Lophelia, discovered during the earlier pilot cruise in 2004.

GlobeXplorer's AirPhotoUSA announced the first comprehensive collection of 1-foot resolution aerial photography for the nation. The new offerings will be the highest resolution off-the-shelf seamless imagery commercially available on a nationwide basis. Guided by a '3C' mantra of industry-leading clarity, coverage, and compatibility, GlobeXplorer and AirPhotoUSA will make this data available through a combined suite of online and offline products.

Agreements/Alliances/Acquisitions, Inc. announced an agreement with Garmin International Inc. to serve as the exclusive real-time traffic provider in the continental United States for the Garmin Mobile(TM) 20 -- a GPS automotive navigation system that delivers Garmin's voice-prompted, turn-by-turn directions using Bluetooth wireless technology on Smartphones. Garmin is the market leader in the North American personal navigation device (PND) and is a recognized innovator in GPS technology and consumer electronics.

NAVTEQ, global provider of digital map data for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, and Roscartographia (The Russian Federal Agency for Geodesy and Cartography) have executed a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation to support the growth of the digital map industry in Russia. The memorandum acknowledges a mutual desire to promote the industry and raise awareness of the wide uses of digital map applications.


University scientists using Global Positioning System software, developed by NASA, have shown GPS can determine, within minutes, whether an earthquake is big enough to generate an ocean-wide tsunami. This NASA-funded technology can be used to provide faster tsunami warnings.

A team led by Geoffrey Blewitt of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and Seismological Laboratory, University of Nevada, Reno, demonstrated that a large quake's true size can be determined within 15 minutes using GPS data. This is much faster than current methods.

MWH is hosting a Coastal Cities Climate Change Workshop in New York City on July 13 and 14 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. The workshop will focus on sustainability issues and the effects of climate change on infrastructure, water supply, wastewater effluent discharge, socioeconomics and policy, and other issues unique to coastal cities and communities.

The workshop will allow participants from coastal cities and regions to exchange information, while also presenting to them the latest information on pertinent political, technical and academic global warming issues as they relate to water supply and wastewater infrastructure. Space for the workshop is limited but still available. Interested coastal region representatives are encouraged to call (303) 533-1932 to make their reservations today.

Telcordia announced that the UAE's Emirates Telecommunications Corporation- etisalat- is the first to deploy the latest release of Telcordia(R) Network Engineer to drive operational efficiencies and lower total cost of ownership, supporting its goal of aggressively deploying new technologies and services to its customers in the region. This highly sophisticated, award-winning solution is helping etisalat optimize its fibre network in order to quickly roll-out services, such as IPTV, and streamline its operations with Network Engineer's automated processes.

Wherify Wireless, Inc., developer of patented wireless location solutions and services for family safety and communications, announced it has completed the integration of SiRF Technologies Holdings, Inc.'s next generation SiRFstarIII GPS chip set solution into the Wherifone(TM) GPS locator phone. This will provide improved GPS performance and features. The improved Wherifone is being evaluated by select customers for pre-launch field trials and acceptance testing, and is expected to be commercially available by Fall 2006.

HP announced the expansion of its product return and recycling program to reach more customers and create new ways for people to discard used or unwanted electronic equipment in a convenient and environmentally responsible manner.

The company will host a series of product collection events in the United States throughout the summer to raise awareness and increase the rate of electronics recycling among consumers.

The collection events, which will accept a range of products from any manufacturer, will be held from June through September in Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico and Oregon.

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