Saturday, January 6, 2007

Google Earth's Geographic Web Layer

Recently, a new layer was released for Google Earth – the Geographic Web layer:

We’ve taken the rich data of Wikipedia, Panoramio, and the Google Earth Community and made a browsable layer in Google Earth. Now you can fly anywhere in the world and see what people have written about it, photographed, or posted. I went hopping around from the southern tip of South America to the mosques in the Middle East to the Maldives Islands, immersed in a wealth of information, and I really felt like I was visiting each place through eyes of people who had been there. It was really engaging to compare, say, the Grand Canyon through the photos in Panoramio to the view from Google Earth, where I could follow the Colorado River through each.

To experience this for yourself, all you need to do is start Google Earth and explore the world. As of today you will see new icons -— the Wikipedia globe, the Panoramio star, or the information “i” of the Google Earth Community —- so just click on any of them to explore information about a place. You can also easily turn it off in the Layers panel on the lower left. Source: Google Blog

If you want more photos than what currently is available at Panoramio, you can use Toad Media's Flickr Layer.

When simple push-button uploading will be available directly from the location, there is going to be an explosion of information in densely populated areas. I hope Google will come up with a well thought out rating and classification system for all sorts of data.

Add portable GPS-functionality plus personal preferences and proximity alerts and you can browse the world – without lifting a finger. Some movement of other extremities may be required.

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