The Google Earth Satellite? Please stop

Isn’t it amazing, just about every newspaper, magazine, blogger, or ?? writes at some point about Google earth. No surprise given the interest in the web service from joe public. What drives me nuts though is that most of these “writers” refer to the imagery as being “Google’s” as if a big bird is circling the Earth capturing high-res imagery almost daily. Hey man, the imagery is licensed from commercial image providers (like DigitalGlobe), government agencies, and others – most of us in the geospatial arena know this but I wish the writers would get it straight, perhaps even do a little research and fact finding! Just one example comes from a recent article from a UK publication (The Telegraph) in reference to a search for Waldo. The article states… “they also have to wait for Google’s imaging equipment to pick him up”. I’m just waiting for the people that are really powering Google Earth to maybe get some recognition at some point. This is akin to the small city of Nanaimo BC, Canada getting recognized as the leading local government power-user of Google Earth, yet Jason Birch who’s been behind the success barely ever gets a mention in any newspaper articles. For more about Google Earth check out this FAQ, and for a good recap of where the imagery actually comes from see this fine post on the Google Earth Blog… you go Frank! Perhaps one day users of Google Earth will be treated to a meta data layer that, at a minimum, describes the date and origin of all the data we’re seeing.

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One response to “The Google Earth Satellite? Please stop

  1. You make an excellent point, Glenn! I’ll be sure to make the distinction anytime I get the chance. You know, what they’re doing with the maps is essentially what they’re doing with newspaper articles — just providing an accessible platform for using other people’s work. However impresive the platform, it’s way cheaper than news reporting — or than satellites.

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