Links: Two new convergence examples

Back from skiing, I’m still in one piece, tomorrow Cairo, but first:

  • Convergence example #1: Mura Aktihanoglu writes:

    I thought you might be interested in hearing about my project that turns Google Earth into a multi-user environment:

    It lets you connect to and follow another user in Google Earth. As the user moves, you move too, in real-time. Avatars, sharing models is coming soon. And, by the way, it is free, if you’d like to try it.

    For PC only, as unype digs deep into the Google Earth API. (Not tested — no time this week!)

  • Convergence example #2: Word Finder, Google Earth Edition. Adding a physical component to traditionally sedentary pursuits is a great idea. Just wait till all phones come with GPS — a mobile version of this could be a killer app. Find a meadow, a few players with phones, have one phone “project” a shared game board, and let the physical exercise begin.
  • Ed Parsons on the quiet revolution that is KML search in Google Earth (and soon Maps).
  • Wikimapia fulfills a similar function as Google Earth Community — it it allows you to describe places and regions collectively, on top of Google Maps. You can add comments anonymously, and many Indian students have taken this opportunity to rate academic institutions. Not everyone is happy, reports Times of India. Just wait until people start describing military institutions. In fact, I’m predicting that article for next week, followed by one where some government body calls for “measures” to be taken. The only problem: As far as I know, unlike Google, Wikimapia has no connection to India, so there’d be no business interests to threaten as leverage.
  • BrightGIS will build you a billboard in Google Earth, reports Marketing & Strategy Innovation Blog. Writes BrightGIS, “Promote your business to the millions of users of Google Earth!”

    Oh really? Doesn’t that sound like everyone who downloads Google Earth gets to see your signs? Except that they don’t. The billboards get uploaded to the 3D Warehouse, and these items are only available via the 3D Warehouse network link. Google Earth doesn’t show you that link by default; the application’s default layers will only show you the “best of 3D Warehouse”, and it is unlikely that advertising signs that don’t exist in real life will ever get promoted that high. In other words, a minuscule proportion of people will get to see these billboards — and the ones that do will have done so by loading the 3D network link, stumbling across the placemark, seeing that it’s for a billboard, and then clicking through to it to download it and render it. None of this gets explained to the potential clients on the website. In others words, this borders on false advertising.

  • The Inquirer reports: Buenos Aires province tax authorities are using Google Earth to catch tax dodgers, comparing building permits with actual imagery.
  • Oil firm BP has hired UK’s Tadpole to georefence all of BP’s sites globally and to make this information available internally via Google Earth, according to this press release:

    Utilizing the Google Earth user interface, the system will provide a digital world map displaying the exact location of all BP sites across the globe. Each BP site will be represented by a point on the map that links to a virtual filing cabinet, displaying up to date site-specific data and compliance documentation.