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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Google Earth -- Too Cool For Words


By: The Editor

Google has just released a beta version of its new Google Earth software that is very impressive. Especially for a FREE application!

Using its Google Maps and Keyhole satellite technology, it allows you to search any address on the planet and get a birds-eye view of the area.

You can zoom in or out of the area and overlay street maps and points of interest. Gas stations, restaurants, ATMs, parks and a whole lot more can be pinpointed. You can also get driving directions and get a 3D fly-through of the route. Just what the road-warrior ordered.(continued...)

This program is great for anyone with a PC but is perfect if you're a notebook user.

In my consulting career, I often find myself in strange cities. It's easy to get lost and being a guy, I hate to ask for directions. I've used MapQuest and other online services of course but what sets this application apart is the unqiue 3D satellite aspect combined with the Google maps data. It gives you a much better persective of the terrain and landmarks you will actually encounter.

The street overlays are nice, but I'd like to see a map view toggle just like on the web.

There are premium upgrades and for only $20 Google adds a GPS option for real-time positioning data. Not sure how well it will work in a mobile setting though.

Because of the amount of data, you need a broadband connection speed to use it effectively which could be an issue when you're on the go. When WiMax becomes widely available this may not be a problem down the road. Only time will tell.

Also, the map data for North America is great but other parts of the world could be iffy. I'm sure Google will update this over time as usage increases.

Anyway, it's worth a look at and I highly recommend you visit:

http://earth.google.com

so that you can download your own version to evaluate.

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