Monday, March 23, 2009

Content in Context :: Place and Time :: Google Earth

ABOVE: modernism map mashup - A screenshot of Google Earth incorporating 1) data from the SEAA and NOPL 2) gathered by the Regional Modernism class in 2008 3) uploaded to GeoCommons and 4) layered over Norman's Chart of the Lower Mississippi by A. Persac, 1858 courtesy of David Rumsey Historical Maps.

Last week I was in Toronto participating in the Visual Resources Association annual meeting. I presented on NeoGeography and Pedagogy as part of the Engaging New Technologies Session. Hope to get the powerpoint edited with proper links and uploaded to slideshare soon. My presentation focused on some of the ways one can use Google Earth to explore architecture in context.

Recent content and functional additions to
Google Earth enrich the exploration of place at different points in time. We can explore place through user-contributed photos (Panoramio) and panoramas (360Cities) as well as Google-created street level panoramas (Street View). The Panoramio / Street View mashup in Google Maps is gorgeous. It presents an index of thumbnails of Panoramio photos that are mapped to the same Street View location. Superb! One can explore contemporary perceptions of ancient Rome through the University of Virginia's Ancient Rome 3D gallery. If the cool reconstructions leave you longing for the romance of ruins, turn on the 360Cities layer and tour the interior of the Colosseum. Or take a trip to Venice and glide from one panorama to the next, a virtual tour reminding us that monuments do not exist in isolation. Engaging the Historical Imagery function allows one to select the satellite view from different dates according to available imagery. This is an invaluable tool for those of us involved in the mapping of the recovery of the city of New Orleans. Turn on the Rumsey Historical Maps layer and you can select a historic basemap. I would love to see more maps of New Orleans available as base layers, especially the Robinson Atlas of 1883.

I have a number of ideas of how I'd like to see the Google Earth developed in the future - but will save those thoughts for the next post.

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