As planners, geographers, researchers, etc. we're all excited about the opportunities that Google Earth provides for our daily work. But looking at this survey/question Lifehacker posted today (amongst a tech-savvy audience), it doesn't seem like the data, information and interactivity we create on top of it has hit the masses yet. At the time of this post, 66% use it very infrequently, though the options are poorly worded/incomplete. But the comments provide a nice overview of how different users apply GE:
... Google earth helps me get a nice lay of the land so to speak before I travel anywhere ... maybe for my science teacher trying to explain global warming, but the only time I've actually USED Google Earth was for a science project ... Sometimes, I will "fly" to my mom's house when I feel homesick ... I've used Google Earth to track most of our Geocaching expeditions ... I do a bit of cycling and skiing. It's great to export the kml file, and show other people where you have been ... and of course: I get a bit sentimental when I look at my own house in Google Earth, and see my old 1985 V-8 Thunderbird still parked in the driveway! I miss that car... I stupidly sold it, years ago
- just to offer a few sound bites. What really strikes me is that nobody mentions any planning related uses - no zoning maps, no 3D visualizations of new buildings, no fly-throughs for masterplans/comprehensive plans...
My last project at CU last year just launched. It's a showcase project to demonstrate the use of an interactive mapping tool to gather expert and local knowledge about future growth in the region, in this case the ACCEA Project.
We have constructed a policy-focused model to assess possible cumulative development effects related to the C-470 Corridor project. The emphasis in this analysis is on the explicit definition of development rules which govern whether or not specific parcels are likely to be built out. These rules are derived from review of local and regional policies. Our design relies on readily available spatial data and models as well as interviews or focus group meetings with individuals involved in local development processes. This interactive website could make the collection of feedback on existing data from developers, local experts and community members easier and more effective.
We decided to use Worldkit again as the mapping platform. Since this was a project with a quick turnaround time, messing with a custom mapserver application didn't seem worth the time. Worldkit provided a simple mapping solution with a tiled base map for faster loading, zooming and panning and flash overlays. Unfortunately Google Maps integration is not on the development roadmap for Worldkit so future use is somewhat limited if this is a requirement. By integrating Worldkit with Drupal, we gained access to Drupal's great set of features to quickly build a platform with different access levels, taxonomy, comment features, list building and export features.
My presentation at this years CommunityMatters conference, end of October in Burlington, VT. The presentation was giving a quick round-up of the paradigm shift happening in the realm of GIS/Mapping and setting the stage for the panel discussion that followed.
Full screen view
From his presentation:
Geographic tools have emerged that useopen-standards and support users creating and sharing their owngeodata. Together, these tools form a GeoStack that enable the entirelifecycle of data.
This talk will discuss the technologiesthat currently comprise the GeoStack and how it is enabling users toshare and use geographic data. Developers can fit their tools into anypoint along this stack, or add to existing services. We'll also discussthe future of the geotools.
I mentioned before that Google started indexing location of online content wherever supportd. So I checked if the content on iCommunity.TV was properly referenced and yes, you can browse through all the content on a map. I'm curious to see when there's gonna be a search interface that'll let users search for content more intuitively or even time-based. I bet we don't have to wait for that very long...