The Jane Goodall Institute’s Gombe Chimp Blog has gone live with a major renovation. It now makes full use of Google Earth to explore Gombe National Park and the stories that take place there. Start with the latest entry to see how. There is a ton of added information that can be overlaid on top of the high resolution imagery of northwestern Tanzania — archives, first of all, but also local landmarks, chimp bios (with links to videos), watersheds, human settlements, trails, park boundaries…
But what’s really innovative is how we’re asked to navigate this content. The popup window is turned into what amounts to a traditional web page (albeit using tables, as CSS is not available) with a column of links that upload further KML. This allows you to avoid the unwieldy Layers pane, in most cases.
All this turns the Gombe Chimp Blog into an instant favorite for science outreach. It also pushes Google Earth’s HTML rendering to the limit — it sure would be nice to be able to generate W3C-compliant rendering of CSS and XHTML inside Google Earth popups in the future. I, for one, would also like to see video depicted inside popups. It’s a natural thing to expect, from a user-interface perspective.
Kudos to Bryce Tugwell, BTW, for concocting all this. He adds that there is more enhanced data on the way. Hopefully, we’ll soon also get a network link we can subscribe to.