Although it happened with very little fanfare, your world changed this morning at about 8:00 AM PST when Google released Google Earth 6.0. Since I’m not particularly fond of Google, I immediately downloaded this bit of software to my desktop and set about putting it to the test. And, being an honest man, I ‘ll be the first to admit that I was stunned by its functionality. Already well-known for its functionality across many potential applications, Google Earth may well be the “killer app” that will make similar applications simply dry up and drift away. Consider, if you will, the following brief summary of its highlights.
Near Real Time Airline Flight Tracking
Want to know where grandma’s flight is at the moment and if it will be on time? In partnership with flightwise.com, Google Earth can display the location of any regularly scheduled commercial airline flight operating in United States airspace.
Web Cam Views of Every Major Travel Destination
With Google Earth 6.0 you can “see what the locals are seeing” thanks to webcams.travel’s rapidly growing network of live web cams.
See the Terrain Before You Hike Over It
Thanks to the combined resources of Google Earth and wikiloc.com you can see the terrain of practically every major nature trail or popular hiking destination in the western hemisphere. No more surprises when you plan your next vacation!
“You Make the Earth, Shake, Under My Feet …”
With Google Earth, and the US Geologic Survey, you can find the location and strength of earthquakes. This is undoubtedly a must-have for all you California haters out there!
“Take Me Out to the Ball Game …”
Take a tour of every professional baseball stadium in the nation. If baseball isn’t your thing, try the college football stadium tour.
I think you will agree with me that the above-listed Google Earth applications are both impressive and useful. However, I wanted to have have the pleasure of e-mailing the 500 pound gorilla of Internet search applications to inform them that I had found the one obscure spot in the United States that they had managed to overlook: South Gibson Street in Warrenton, Georgia. Care to guess what happened?
After typing “Warrenton Georgia” in the “Fly To” box in the left side of Google Earth’s user interface, I was taken to the point where latitude 33 º 24′ 20.21″ intersects longitude 82 º 39′ 38.90″ which is approximately 514 feet above sea level and marks the intersection of South Gibson and Johnson Streets in my hometown of Warrenton, Georgia. I can attest to the accuracy of the image at the start of this posting since I grew up less than 50 feet from that intersection.
To wrap up this short article, I was quite impressed with the minute detail available in Google Earth. When combined with data from Google’s “partner sites,” it becomes one of the most versatile and useful applications that I have encountered online.
The 500 pound gorilla of the Internet has earned its bananas.