Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Google Earth (http://earth.google.com), is the desktop sibling of Google Maps. After launching it, you'll see that its rotating 3D globe is a bit more fluid than the flat 2D view of Google Maps. Google Earth in its basic version is free, but the paid version lets you generate videos with effects such as seamlessly zooming in to a location—the kind of effect you'd see in TV news coverage.
At this time, Google Earth has the most complete support for Keyhole Markup Language information files—including support for animations. Many organizations have data overlays that you can superimpose on the globe by checking the respective boxes of the Layers pane. A Wikipedia layer adds location-relevant information from the online encyclopedia; the Weather layers allow you to display clouds and forecasts; National Geographic magazine provides a layer with regional information, including photos, as well.