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How did our Google Earth world change?

Before Google Earth, perhaps only the users of GIS systems or some encyclopedias had a truly spherical conception of the world, this changed diametrically after the arrival of this application for the use of almost any Internet user Virtual Earth but not for desktop), it is a great toy from the great Google, made to captivate people, it was bought from Keyhole in 2004 who marketed it as someone who sells tortillas; then Google gradually integrates it into its other apps, and is currently offering it in contextual ads. Google Earth works through technology called "stream" and with its link to Google Maps, you can see all the existing cartography in this database in 2 and 3 dimensions, also with the integration of Sketchup you can see the three-dimensional objects built with this tool.
Simpler files work with basic structures kml (Keyhole markup language), a simple xml. When given the option of being fed by users, it grew like foam, has Blogs Fans and their community Happens crowded with people going to the system known places, most repeated one, another and again because nobody is dedicated to erase them.
It is curious that there are versions For Windows, Mac and Linux, the most attractive of this application, like Google maps, is that its API is available for those who want to develop on it.
There are many reasons to be so popular, some use it for the simple fact of knowing places, apart from being a product of Google, is also an interesting toy, give a look at some of its attractions:


1. Attract the curious
I discovered Google Earth, through a friend of those who go to the municipalities browsing to see what they find, and he was the one who told me to try "Google earth", 🙂 It makes me laugh because when he gave me the executable that weighed 7 MB, I took it for gentle.
When I installed and played for a while I realized what could be done with this toy; When I was going to travel to Guatemala, I could find the specific direction where I would arrive, the restaurants and businesses nearby and of course, the 3D version where the volcano looks impressive.

For Central Americans who know little about their country, here is a sample of an area of ​​Lake Yojoa where a meteorite fell thousands of years ago, should see how it is visualized in 3 dimensions.


2. Attract hackers
For someone who uses ArcGIS o manifold, know that stick to Google Earth it's simple and that the displayed box generates an image that is stored locally. That was how one day we thought, what would happen if we displayed the city of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, with the orthophoto at 40 centimeter pixels, ArcGIS hung after three minutes and launched a message that was more blasphemous than technical, Manifold left the mouse showing a strange flicker, since it was night, we left it working… 3 hours later “voalaaa”, a box of 75 x 75 kilometers with the pixel at 20 centimeters. Of course, a couple of days later it could no longer be done because some robot detected the sequential download, but it can be done if it is done by random downloads and you convert the stream to an image associated with the sessionID, so if you first make the quadrants, you export them to a kml and configure an executable that randomly goes through each quadrant, and saves the image, then you just cut the edges with a simple Picture Manager and create a georeference file of the original kml... yes sir, for that world of cartograckers, Google is extremely attractive.

3. It's great for creatives
But not only can you do crazy things, you can also upload photographs, National Geographics does it, and if you want to do it, with Panoramio, you can have the best of your georeferenced photos, such was the attraction of this development that Google bought it in June 2007. There are other sites that have done similar things, such as the biblical landscapes or real estate applications.

To finish morise, the new version of Picasa already brings this functionality and now also YouTube.

4. It is also a great business toy.
Earlier we said that Keyhole charged for access, Google left this free, as well as the search engine and added a paid version that has some extra toys like linking it to GPS files and a few more confits, but for the vision of our friends on Google we know that They do not expect to amass millions of that plus version, unless there really is a business as round as the world itself.

Where is the business

There are a few things sponsored, such as National Geographic, the American Institute of Architects, and others, but those seem more like altruistic contributions from Google; So where is the business?
One of the subliminal tricks of the business aimed at original cartography users is satellite images or orthorectified images: In this sense, by turning on the “Digital Globe Coverage” layer, Google really becomes a catalog of the largest providers of satellite images, whose products are not worth twenty cents, so it is not very different from the search engine, as long as you see an area of ​​your interest there is an answer to the question how to obtain that image, you click and then you can see the quality, date, percentage of cloudiness and of course who sells it.

It is very likely that GoogleEarth will change many ways to handle spatial data, almost any GIS application can currently deploy its data and there is a lot of mashups y plugins Developing on its API, to such a degree that from the side of Microsoft or Yahoo no initiatives are seen to make it competitive.

And you, did the GoogleEarth world change you?

Golgi Alvarez

Writer, researcher, specialist in Land Management Models. He has participated in the conceptualization and implementation of models such as: National Property Administration System SINAP in Honduras, Management Model of Joint Municipalities in Honduras, Integrated Cadastre-Registry Management Model in Nicaragua, Territory Administration System SAT in Colombia . Editor of the Geofumadas knowledge blog since 2007 and creator of the AulaGEO Academy that includes more than 100 courses on GIS - CAD - BIM - Digital Twins topics.

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