Google Earth – A community GIS ?

Australian flying car project revealed

The latest Google Earth mystery to achieve fame has been reported by The Register , an apparent flying car spotted in Perth, Western Australia. What interests me most about this and the “black helicopter” spotting craze, is how these sightings rapidly travel around the community of Google Earth Users.

Perhaps we are all guilty of focusing too much of the neat globe user interface and unprecedented availability of data in Google Earth – in fact the thing which Google Earth may be remembered for is as the worlds first truly global community GIS, in which its long term value is making available really useful community derived data-sets.

After-all if you are like me, when I buy something now on Amazon, I always check the customers reviews – valuing this information at least as much as the manufacturers data.

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

4 comments

  1. Laurence Penney

    Google Earth is wonderful, of course, and will be seen as long as a gigantic step in cultural history. One caveat is that imagery of any area should never get worse in quality (quite an undertaking!).

    But I’ve got concerned about accuracy of imagery: how will inaccurately-positioned imagery affect the long-term viability of placemarks? People inevitably assume that imagery is placed to the accuracy of its pixels, which is not the case at all. I heard that some of Barcelona moved 20m or so after an update at Google. More recently I noticed a big faultline in Monaco, scuppering my plans to make a KML of a lap of the race circuit! Without indications of positional accuracy of all imagery from Google, and without a timestamped, geotagged feed of regions that have “moved”, placemarks need to be treated with caution, and may be useless within weeks or months.

  2. Laurence Penney

    [Updated – sorry Ed!]

    Google Earth is wonderful, of course, and will surely be seen as a major moment in cultural history. One caveat is that imagery of any area must never get worse in quality – quite an undertaking!

    But I’ve got concerned about accuracy of imagery: how will inaccurately-positioned imagery affect the long-term viability of placemarks? People inevitably assume that imagery is placed to the accuracy of its pixels, which is not the case at all. I heard that some of Barcelona moved 20m or so after an update at Google. More recently I noticed a serious (~35m) faultline in Monaco, scuppering my plans to make an animation of a lap of the race circuit! Without indications of positional accuracy of all imagery from Google, and without a timestamped, geotagged feed of regions that have “moved”, placemarks need to be treated with caution, and may become irritatingly inaccurate within weeks or months.

    KMZ of faultline through Monaco

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  4. Chase Guttman

    The website The Register reported a seeing of a flying car in Perth,Australia at a test plant on Google Earth. The Register thinks that it is a flying car going at 80 knots. But it’s not a statue after photographers visited the site. It’s not that it is just a white car next to a black car parked. It looks like a flying car because the black car looks like the shadow of the white car. See the attached website

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