In a previous posting on September 21, 2007 called “New Perspectives: Looking Down and Under”, I wished for a “sea” feature to compliment the “sky” feature Google Earth had recently added back then. While I have no illusion that I had anything to do with it, you can still imagine my delight when Google Earth recently did just what I was hoping for... and then some!
With the new update to version 5, Google Earth now gives you the ability to explore and see the sea—you know, that stuff that covers more than 70% of the planet and of which we know embarrassingly little of?
But don’t take my word for it, go get this major update to an already fantastic tool and check it out for yourself. If you already have Google Earth installed, then just go to the Help menu and choose “Check for updates” and it will install version 5. Otherwise, head on over to the Google Earth download site and install it now.
I’ll let many of my fellow bloggers and reporters provide you with reviews and details to help you find some of the new nuggets that may be lurking below the surface (sorry!). A quick search will give you lots of choices, such as this review in the NY Times and this one from the BBC and these videos over on CNET News.
I thought there were some very telling quotes from the Google Earth staff, such as:
“We had this arbitrary distinction that if it was below sea level it didn’t count,” recalled John Hanke, the Internet entrepreneur who co-created the progenitor of Google Earth, called Keyhole, and moved to Google when the company bought his company in 2004.”
And as fascinated as I am with the sea and this major addition to Google Earth, don’t let me limit your exploration of the new version to just the underwater world. Google Earth has many other new features that are almost as exciting, such as “Historical Imagery” which let’s you go back in time and scroll through satellite images to see a time lapse visual display of things like the spread of disease or urban sprawl (or maybe those are the same?)
And for those like me who are also interested in the learning aspects of all things, be sure to check out new features such as a function called Touring which the NY Times article described as:
“.. let’s you create narrated, illustrated tours, on land or above and below the sea surface, describing and showing things like a hike or scuba excursion, or even a research cruise on a deep-diving submarine.”
And as Christopher Dawson reported in his blog on ZDnet Education
“Google has partnered with National Geographic, the BBC, Cousteau’s Ocean World, and several others to provide a wealth of information about everything from the global fishing crisis to footage of shipwrecks. Marine life census data, scientific expeditions, and countless links to information outside Google Earth make this a free treasure trove for science, social studies, geography, and even math teachers (how better to learn about coordinate systems?).”
OK, enough from me. Stop reading this and fire up this latest offering of Google Earth and have fun doing your own exploratory and experiential learning. Enjoy!
Lucky for me, I am off in the morning to help a friend sail his boat from St. Martin to Miami. While you are in Google Earth, you may also want to check out this area and get a bit of a geography lesson while you’re at it. Meanwhile I’ll be busy doing an even more intimate form of exploring and experiential learning. Which, by the way, is part of the reason for my limited access and postings of late, something that will continue for another week or so while I’m making this 1400nm crossing. "Sea you" on the other side!