Connotea is a souped-up social bookmarking service, much like de.icio.us but with extra harvesting of metadata from articles in academic publications.
And now they’ve added support for geotags (using exactly the same markup as with del.icio.us and flickr), linking the locations directly to Google Earth.
You can read all about it on their blog. The upshot is that all the articles in a particular collection that have been geotagged now have their geodata available as a KML file downloadable via the “Geo Data” link.
This feature is new and experimental, and they’re asking for feedback, so do try it out.
I’ve noticed that the geotagging data is not provided as a ready-made network link pointing to a dynamically generated KML file, but instead as just a dynamically generated KML file, which creates static placemarks when opened in Google Earth. Instead, you might want to manually add a network link yourself in Google Earth, using the URL provided by the geodata button as the source. The next step would be for Connotea to do this work for us by giving us a network link to download, thus effectively providing regularly updated geofeeds by author or by topic. This way we could automatically keep an eye on all locations tagged for the avian flu in Google Earth, foe example, or all locations tagged by a particular author.
Since so much science is location-specific (think dinosaur finds, discoveries of new species, earthquake research, disease outbreaks, field research locations) this innovation is going to do wonders for contextualizing discoveries.