Thursday, July 21, 2005

Google Earth Is Too Cool

I finally got a free program called Google Earth to work on my computer and it is da bomb!!!

It has GPS capability built in just like MS MapPoint and it provides free satellite images. There are paid upgrades available and have a yearly subscription from $20 per year or $400 per year currently.

The real key if you encounter problems just like I did is that you have to go to the program from the Start button, change the setting there to use the OpenGL version, and then restart the program.

I kept trying to use the DirectX version by clicking on the icon located on my desktop and was not getting anywhere. The program seems to work very well with a broadband connection since it obtains the maps from Google's servers.

The images are basically the same as found within Google Maps, but there is a whole lot of other things that can be done such as place markers for various business, governmental offices, and nonprofit locations such as colleges, libraries, and schools.

There are a ton of Google Earth hacks found online as well that enable a person to map various information such as school districts, crime statistics, and other demographic data as an overlay over the images.

The overlays enable you to have an multidimensional (visual and data) view of any area within the world. I have not toured the rest of the world with it in detail yet, but I plan to.

I entered my own street address and zoomed in on my neighborhood. The center was not as accurate as desired, but I was able to see my own house within the image.

Since I have a GPS unit, I was able to confirm the latitude and longitude given.

I also entered the street address of the neighborhood where I grew up and I could see the street, but not pinpoint the house.

It seems that major metropolitan cities may have been photographed by satellite in greater detail while smaller cities receive a limited snapshot. You can zoom in on a rural town, but everything gets fuzzy faster than within a metropolitan city.

There is going to be more usage of GPS technology within daily life worldwide. We have offered information online through our GPS Concierge website.

It is one thing to have the technology while it is something else entirely to know how it can be used.

Keep it up Google!

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