Finally a way to justify Google Earth at the office

latam.pngBrian Timoney of Timoney Group might think he is just engaging in some clever viral marketing when he releases demos of how he can help companies portray data in Google Earth, but this time he may just have come up with the best argument yet to justify installing Google Earth at the office, should your IT department have nixed the idea until now: You need it for financial analysis.

We’ve seen Google Earth used for geography, science, to illustrate historical events and as a social tool. Now it’s also an economic tool, as this network link of Latin American trade patterns makes clear. And there is some clever use of hovering involved. I love it.

[Update 21:51 UTC: Cory Eicher at deserves equal credit with Brian Timoney for this work.]

6 thoughts on “Finally a way to justify Google Earth at the office”

  1. I have specifically avoided downloading GE to the (lightning-quick) computer here at [Magazine focused on Finance in Latin America] precisely because it would change my marginally productivity from nil to negative. However now that may have to change…

    Out of curiousity, what’s the deal on using GE screenshots to illustrate stories? Is there a liscense, etc?

  2. Just keep in mind that if you are using Google Earth for anything work-related then you have to pay for it. It’s only free for non-commercial use.

  3. Also, the license says that you can’t copy the geographic information, print, or screen outputs. Whether this applies to screenshots like the one in this article is probably up to the lawyers to decide.

    You also aren’t allowed to remove the copyright notice like in the screenshot above.

  4. This discussion just highlights how badly screwed up current copyright law is.

    Ogle Earth provides Google with free postive PR, and still the wanking control-weenie lawyers are going to carp about what’s not allowed.

    Consider, for comparison, the enlightened approach Lego takes by encouraging their users to develop creative new uses of their Mindstorms product and publicizing those uses.

    Sure, there’s going to be some applications of Google Earth that will make the company want to hold its nose, but a little manure will also let a thousand other flowers bloom.

  5. I wouldn’t worry about it, and I don’t think Google is worried about it either, for one very good reason: The fair use doctrine. Read up on it here. Note in particular that “the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.”

    And this blog aspires to criticism, comment and newsreporting.

  6. Stefan:

    First, thanks for the props–and you doing your bit for the “viral” marketing campaign(!)

    As for the discussion above concerning licensing, I think it is helpful to bear in mind the duty Google bears towards its data providers. Specifically, Digital Globe et al are allowing their hi-res imagery to be streamed through the interface. What they are most concerned about is the prospect of folks capturing their imagery, re-tiling it, and commercializing it for their own purposes. This issue has been more pronounced on the Google Maps (Local) side of the house since people were putting scripts out there to automatically download map tiles and then re-stitch them on one’s local machine. You’ll also note that while Google Local’s service uses both NavTeq and TeleAtlas data, their ‘free’ API has only TeleAtlas data since NavTeq didn’t think giving their data away in the name of free mashups served their business purposes.

    In short, I interpret the rather far-reaching legal language as protecting the legitimate interests of those vendors who are providing data to Google, and that one-off screen captures, clipped images in PowerPoint and Word docs, and the usual ways people communicate aren’t the (mis-)uses in which the lawyers have an interest.

    My $0.02,


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