Google updates Katrina info for Google Earth (again)

Google Earth’s home page now has 2 major KMZ updates for downloading: One links to a collection of 3228 post-Hurricane Katrina images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) created “through some serious efforts by NASA, Carnegie Mellon University, and Google.” The other is a collection of all the overlays and placemarks submitted to Google Earth Community over the past 8 days related to Katrina.

This whole is an impressive example of collaboration and self-organization. Thanks to everyone involved.

What’s interesting from a social software perspective is that it is still Google Maps that provides the best means for dynamically updated user-contributed data, however. Witness the Katrina Information Map (with more possibly showing up on Google Maps Mania) that lets visitors add placemarks onto a map of Louisiana with messages or information. Google Earth’s “API” is still far too limited to let that quality and ease of interaction happen. Until it does, the application remains a one-way street when it comes to live updated data — easy to consume, but hard to contribute. This is probably the biggest obstacle left to Google Earth’s becoming the next generation browser.

[Update 09:21 UTC: One further thought: It also appears to be a lot easier to add an ad hoc “emergency” layer to Google Maps than it is to Google Earth. A feature request for Google Earth, then: A permanent “Emergency” or “Special” item in the the Layers directory that can be automatically populated with this kind of data, which we currently download manually.]

One thought on “Google updates Katrina info for Google Earth (again)”

  1. Google Adds NOAA Images to Google Earth

    Ogle Earth notes even more new data for Google Earth is now available. NASA, Carnegie Mellon University, and Google created an overlay for the 3228 post-Hurricane Katrina images collected by NOAA (through Sept 2nd).

    Stefan also points out that Goo

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