Google Earth meets Nature

Google Earth has made the pages of Nature Magazine. The big deal? What it offers researchers, in terms of the third dimension, the accessibility on the web, the ease of use, the bundled imagery, and the ability to share and collaborate on data. And that’s a big improvement on GIS:

With traditional Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software — which was previously the only way to deal with spatial data like these — combining the two data streams would have been a headache. With Google Earth it will be effortless, says Pedersen [a remote sensing specialist at the Technical University of Denmark]: “It provides a very easy interface to a lot of different data.”

The article goes on to say that even though GIS companies like ESRI were “caught napping,” they will be releasing a horde of new products to add onto Google Earth. Indeed, ESRI believes its new entries into the online market will be the Google Earth-killer. My prediction? Too little, too late.

Back to Nature. Go to the article to see the “curtain” of atmospheric data displayed at right angles to the satellite imagery. Cool.

See this other Nature article on Google Earth mashups and the environment.

One Response to “Google Earth meets Nature”

  1. liam says:

    It seems like Google Earth is more like a glossy lightweight cousin to ArcGIS than an actual competitor. I’m not terribly familiar with ArcGIS, but I’m under the impression it has quite a number of handy data analysis features and the like.

    What Google Earth has on its side is that it seems to have a relatively easy and pretty way of visualizing data: a mildly respectable nerd with no idea of how do to anything in ArcGIS can generate an XML file and throw it into Google Earth without too much of a fuss.