Thursday, November 30, 2006

Google Earth in the GCMC

Google Earth: A Different View of the World

Google Earth is a program that shows satellite images and 3D overviews of major cities, mountains and other terrain, as well as business and travel information, streets, parks, and maps. A free version can be downloaded to desktops. Google Earth has been called "the democratization of satellite imagery," allowing millions of users to view places all over the world. Users can even tilt and rotate the view to see 3D terrain and buildings. Google Earth "puts the world's geographic information at your fingertips."

Since its introduction, millions of computer users have used Google Earth to view satellite images from all over the world. This new technology has created a fascination with some of the images that appear on Google Earth. A book available from popular booksellers is
Off the Map: The Most Amazing Sights on Earth as Seen by Satellite by James Turnbull and Alex Turnbull. This book includes unusual images that appear on Google Earth such as "Arizona's boneyard," the white snake of Baja," and "the hole in the coast of Mexico."

Users of Google Earth who discover interesting satellite images can also submit these sights to a website dedicated to the interesting views of the world, Google Sightseeing, which is located at (The site is not sponsored by or affiliated with Google). Submitters to this site have discovered hundreds of unusual sights in the satellite imagery, including dolphin-shaped islands, letter-shaped buildings, two different views of Aloha Stadium in Hawaii, and artistic shapes in the natural terrain. The image above is a satellite image of hills in Canada, but the submitter suggested a resemblance to a Native American listening to music on earphones.

Google Earth is available on all of the computers in the GIS lab of the Geospatial Center & Map Collection in Bracken Library. Visitors are welcome to use Google Earth in the lab to discover this new form of sightseeing.

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