Michael T. Jones, RIP

The driving force of Google Earth, Michael T. Jones, passed away today, January 18, 2021. I happened on the news via this post from Brian McClendon.

Simply put: This blog and its stories would never have happened were it not for Michael.

When I first encountered Keyhole Earth late in 2004, I took a violent liking to it — this was science fiction made real overnight, a stunning transformative technology that had arrived far sooner than I would have expected.

Keyhole Earth became a social phenomenon as Google Earth, not least for how it shaped our self-image as global citizens and as inhabitants of a global natural ecosystem, or how it brought geospatial power to the people.

I was fortunate enough to meet Michael on several occasions, and every time he was unfailingly generous with his time, his hospitality and his willingness to open up about his passions for technology and geography.

I was half expecting to see him again one day, so I could thank him for giving us this radical new way to see the world. R.I.P. Michael.