Thursday, September 27, 2007

Google Earth's Purpose

Google Earth is an excellent tool for geography. While some may think it is merely to see one's house from space, the GIS abilities to add overlays and study data spatially is a key compenant to geography.

The makers of Google Earth agree. Brian McClendon recently spoke at the University of Kansas where he discussed the potentials for Google Earth and geography. A key point was that without geography problems arise. While I disagree with the statement "For the past 60 years, we’ve had more quagmires than victories," the lack of geographical knowledge both human (different ethnic groups and tribes in Iraq) and physical (a city built below sea level probably will flood) has caused series problems for the United States and the world.

1 comment:

Pangloss said...

From a practical point of view, imagine that you are moving into coastal Mississippi or Louisiana or Texas. You find a house you like. The price is affordable. You ask the seller or renter about flooding, recent storms being on your mind. They say it's perfectly safe. 35 feet above sea level. A mile and a half from the shore.

Before Google Earth you either had to go to the county land records to read the records, or take their word. After Google Earth you can check, find that the house is 7 feet above sea level, and choose where to live based on fact.

You're right about the importance of Geography.