Raising Global Awareness with Google Earth
What do you do after flying to your home?
Technical Lead, Google Earth Layers
Mountain View, Calif.
What is the first thing most users do in Google Earth? Typically they fly to their homes, navigate around their neighborhoods and perhaps explore potential travel and vacation spots.
While this is a wonderful introduction to the power, utility and even pleasure of using Google Earth, increasingly there are much more interesting applications being launched that leverage the power of Google Earth to help the people, animals and plants of our planet.
As of this writing, Google Earth includes high-resolution imagery (sub-meter accuracy) for more than 30% of the world’s landmass and 50% of the world’s population. The 3D terrain model is also steadily increasing in accuracy all over the world. Try flying around Switzerland or Hawaii (10-meter horizontal accuracy) or Mount St. Helens (3-meter accuracy). In Africa, we have blended in extremely high resolution (2.5cm/pixel) aerial photographs taken by National Geographic explorer Michael Fay, allowing users to fly in seconds from outer space to see the eyelashes on a camel. Google continues to publish frequent updates to the imagery, terrain and vector databases, increasing our global high-resolution coverage, spatial accuracy and data freshness.
The power and reach of this technology have now been discovered by many non-profit groups, NGO’s, governmental agencies, scientists, concerned citizens and indigenous peoples who are engaged in efforts to raise awareness and inspire action on a range of issues: environmental, humanitarian, cultural, educational and disaster relief/response, among others. …