Time spent with Google Earth seems to have led to some interesting bainstorming among certain bloggers…
Londoner Dan Hill of City of Sound wishes for the ability to browse through time and to listen to sounds in Google Earth. As for the former, a time browser is coming — KML has (undocumented) time tags and a time browser has already been demonstrated in public by Google Earth CTO Michael Jones. As for the latter… I don’t know of any existing layer that links up to soundscape files, but this is something that’s trivial to make these days. Anyone have a library of such files, georeferenced? It’d be a cool project, certainly if connected to some kind of georeferenced QuickTime VR library for the complete immersive experience.
Alan Glennon moots a camera or camera setup that would not only record coordinates, but also its tilt and heading, importable into Google Earth via the <LookAt> tag. (Hey, why we’re at it, why not give Google Earth a zoom slider, just like a camera lens… No, not really.) He calls it “geovantaging”. Quite serendipitously, last Friday saw the release of GETrackr, which lets you geotag photos with exactly this kind of information, albeit manually, in Google Earth, in the absence of such cameras existing.
(An aside: Imagine for a moment that such cameras become ubiquitous. You could then use them en masse to “paint” the sides of Google Earth’s currently matte gray 3D virtual buildings with their real surfaces. Digitally Distributed Environments has a demo up of this technique, using Microsoft Local’s bird’s eye view painted onto a 3D example. The one tricky bit: the camera lens’s angle of view (wide angle to tele-lens) would have to be the same as Google Earth’s or else automatically adjusted via software when used.)
Alasdair Allan at The Daily Ack takes Alan’s ideas and wonders, what else could the camera do while taking the picture? He proposes some automatic data mining about the location you’re at, and perhaps live uploading to the net, viewable in Google Earth.
Meanwhile, Italian Cristian Contini has a picture up of when dinosaurs roamed the Google Earth.
[Update 21:11 UTC: Forgot to add a link to a post I had in mind for the brainstorming theme: Webby nominated World Changing blog asked its readers what else they'd like to see portrayed in Google Earth, and they got a load of suggestions back.]