Great gobs of geekery!!

Google Earth is the greatest geek toy since Al Gore invented the Internets.

For those who don’t know, Google Earth is an app that takes all those satellite maps from Google Maps and puts them on an active globe. You can fly around and zoom in anywhere on the planet. You can type in street addresses and get driving directions. You can use a little tool to measure distances of things you see. It’s nifty as heck.

But as with most of these sorts of things, it’s not the program itself that is so great (though it is a nifty app) so much as the ways in which people have been using it. Google Earth allows you to create your own overlays. So, people have come up with things like historical battle maps (like for Gettysburg and D-Day) that get put into place right on top of their actual locations on the globe. You can alter the translucency of the map, so you can see the real places underneath. Plus, these data overlays can have informational text that pops up when you click on the place.

This is a great way to get a frame of reference for news. For example, there is a new overlay from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that shows the location of all of the London subway stations and the areas of the bombings. It also includes links to more info and things like audio broadcasts from different locations. There is an entire community of users that have links to these data overlays.

Another cool thing is that these data overlays can be “live” connections with other servers that provide XML data feeds. So, for example, I am looking at the projected track of Hurricane Dennis combined with the latest satellite image directly from the NOAA server on top of the Google Earth globe!

Google Earth: Gettysburg Google Earth: Gettysburg w/transluscent overlay Google Earth: Gettysburg w/battle map overlay Google Earth: London Bombings Google Earth: Hurricane Dennis

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4 Responses to Great gobs of geekery!!

  1. Ric The Schmuck says:


  2. Annessa says:

    Now you know I just had to get it for myself. Curse you and your amazing-ness. Heh.

  3. AnnMarie says:

    That’s wicked! Even if you’re not a geek (and I’m not… not really..)

  4. Kevin says:

    I’m lucky I’m on my Mac. Otherwise I’d go off and play with it some more. And more. And some more, until I needed to go to class.

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