What to do if you are the maker of Earthscape, the first virtual globe for the iPhone, and long comes Google with Google Earth for iPhone, with higher resolution satellite images and a revolutionary user interface?
You figure out what your product has that the competition doesn’t, and then you reposition it, is what you do. One feature unique to Earthscape for iPhone is that users can take georeferenced photos with the iPhone, upload them to Earthscape’s servers and have them displayed immediately on the globes of all Earthscape users on the iPhone, as well as on the Earthscape web site.
Google Earth has Panoramio, but its photos are vetted and take weeks or months to appear on Google Earth. With vetting comes quality, but you lose immediacy. That immediacy is what Earthscape is now focusing on, turning it less into a virtual globe for the iPhone than a live georeferenced photo publishing tool that happens to use a cool virtual globe on the iPhone for context.
To illustrate this point, Tom at Earthscape emailed with news of pictures taken and posted by Earthscape users in the fire zones around Los Angeles. One user in particular appears to be a fireman, using his iPhone to quickly take and share georeferenced photos. Here’s how they pop up on Earthscape:
Press on a picture to see it in closeup and other related info.
Another positive development is that Earthscape now also makes a user’s georeferenced photostream available as a KML network link (link from the user page), so you can follow a georeferenced photo stream from your desktop, live:
While Flickr does already provide live KML for your photostream, there is currently no way (that I know of) to publish and share georeferenced photos in real time onto a map on the iPhone besides Earthscape, because neither Google Earth for iPhone nor Google Maps for iPhone lets you add KML files or subscribe to GeoRSS… yet.