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Google Earth makes the news again as a tool of war

Filed under: GE In the News — by at 5:09 pm on Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Spotted this story hitting the home page of BBC News this evening. Unlike previous stories of GE being used to attack troops, this story focuses on GE being used as a form of defense planning for Sunni Muslims being attacked by Shia Militia. Although it does mention the use of GE by insurgents to identify ‘posible targets’:
From BBC News:

Google is playing an unlikely role in the Iraq war. Its online satellite map of the world, Google Earth, is being used to help people survive sectarian violence in Baghdad.

As the communal bloodshed has worsened, some Iraqis have set up advice websites to help others avoid the death squads.

One tip – on the Iraq League site, one of the best known – is for people to draw up maps of their local area using Google Earth’s detailed imagery of Baghdad so they can work out escape routes and routes to block.

It’s another example of the central role technology plays in the conflict – with the widespread use of mobile phones, satellite television as well as the internet – by all sides and for many purposes.

……

With Google Earth, the Iraq League website suggests, people can also work out the most likely approach of their attackers.

It’s thought that insurgents have also used the map site, examining the detailed images to pick out potential targets.

Click here for the full article.

New sunrise layer on Google Earth

Filed under: GE In the News — by at 12:54 pm on Wednesday, January 31, 2007

From the Google Blog

Many of us aren’t lucky enough to experience one of nature’s most glorious sights—the beauty of the sunrise—every day, let alone on demand. That is, until today. Now there’s a Google Earth layer that brings the sun’s ascent right to your computer screen, and Google Earth aficionados can also see video vignettes drawn from Discovery HD Theater’s “Sunrise Earth” program.

To view the videos, open Google Earth and select the Sunrise Earth layer under Discovery Networks. Follow the links in the pop-up window to experience the sights and sounds of one of nature’s most beautiful phenomena. Watch dawn rise over Stonehenge, Mayan pyramids, and Buddhist temples as it has for thousands of years. See the Katmai Bears emerge from their seven-month slumber to greet a new day. Witness the sun’s light bringing life to natural habitats around the world, from the forests of Costa Rica and the coast of New England, to the foothills of Turkey and the glaciers of Alaska.

 

Mechdyne Unveils Visualization Software for Google Earth

Filed under: GE In the News — by at 11:58 am on Wednesday, January 24, 2007

MARSHALLTOWN, IA, January 24, 2007 — Mechdyne Corporation today announced that its VRCO software division released Conduit for Google Earth Pro 4.0, a visualization middleware package that enables stereoscopic display of desktop-based imagery and viewing in multi-planar, large-scale immersive and interactive displays such as the walk-in CAVE and reconfigurable FLEX wall-size display systems available from Fakespace Systems, VRCO’s sister company.

A 3D interface to the planet, Google Earth Pro is used to visualize a wide spectrum of geo-referenced data exported from GIS, civil engineering, energy exploration and other applications. With Conduit for Google Earth Pro, applications can leverage ultra-high resolution stereoscopic display capability and a range of advanced 3D visualization features.

The Conduit middleware package enables a desktop application, like Google Earth Pro, to natively drive advanced visualization environments. This maximizes the potential insight and data interpretation accuracy, since stereoscopic viewing provides a realistic sense of depth that is especially useful when experiencing spatially complex datasets. Conduit makes it possible to use the multiple graphics outputs of PC clusters to drive the multiple projectors used for large-scale walls or walk-in immersive rooms, creating life-size experiences that completely fill peripheral vision and engage more of the senses. The Conduit package supports ultra-high resolution displays, using a series of tiled projectors or new 4096 x 2160 native projection technology, such as the Sony SXRD projector that forms the core of Fakespace’s Beacon 8MP stereoscopic PowerWall display system. It also enables user motion tracking that provides real-time, realistic perspectives as the viewer physically moves around when viewing the data. For intuitive navigation and manipulation of models, the middleware enables the use of wireless virtual wands, gloves and joysticks either on the desktop or in large-scale displays.

“Working with the LANL High Performance Computing Visualization team and VRCO software engineers, we have begun preliminary testing of Conduit to enable the use of Google Earth Pro in our immersive environments,” said Steve Smith, Lead Visualization Scientist, Decision Applications Division, Threat Reduction Directorate, Los Alamos National Laboratory. “We hope to use this extensively in support of our advanced analysis, modeling and simulation of infrastructures, social and economic networks, and military and Homeland Security applications. We find that the addition of stereo, tracked head and tools, and very large field of view combined with multi-resolution, continuously rendered terrain models is promising to advance our capabilities significantly. Integrating Google Earth Pro into our facilities via Conduit has helped us understand how we might integrate other commercial applications into our facilities. This has been problematic in the past, usually requiring us to develop our own custom applications.”

“VRCO developed the Conduit interface to Google Earth Pro in response to our customers’ need to leverage this tool in high-end displays,” said Julien Berta, Conduit product manager at VRCO. “We are excited to provide this capability, and to see how users are applying it to gain a better understanding of their data.”

Available now from VRCO, Conduit for Google Earth Pro can be integrated into existing software and/or visualization environments. Mechdyne can design and provide complete, turn-key visualization solutions that incorporate VRCO software and Fakespace display systems to meet specific customer requirements.

About Mechdyne Corporation

Mechdyne Corporation is the world’s largest company dedicated to consulting and development of immersive, networked and collaborative visualization systems. The company addresses complex projects where an in-depth understanding of user requirements leads to the development of products and customized solutions involving elements of visual, software and support systems. Mechdyne’s subsidiary VRCO, Inc. specializes in immersive and interactive software development and support. Subsidiary Fakespace Systems Inc. provides advanced display technology and implementation services. Headquartered in Marshalltown, Iowa, Mechdyne’s customers include leading government laboratories, military research programs, energy companies and a variety of ‘edutainment,’ manufacturing, and other users of visualization technology. More information is available at www.mechdyne.com, www.fakespace.com and www.vrco.com.

Coming Soon to Google Earth – Toxic Wastelands!

Filed under: GE In the News — by at 1:53 pm on Saturday, January 20, 2007

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced earlier this week that they would begin making hazardous site information available for GIS applications such as Google Earth.

Agency representatives at a public meeting here on Wednesday unveiled what they billed as the first step in a new push to make the EPA’s vast scientific data stores more readily accessible online for download and incorporation into popular applications like Google Earth and Microsoft Visual Earth.

The agency’s ultimate goal is to boost public awareness of its activities–with a loftier aim of improving public health and the environment in the process–by allowing federal agencies, companies and even mashup artists to get their hands on the data more easily. Such data can play a key role in everything from land-use planning to real estate transactions, they said.

“We’re extremely excited about this,” said Pat Garvey, one of the project’s managers. “We think this is really going to advance public access.”

The pilot piece of that effort, posted early Wednesday morning, is a single XML file containing information on about 1,600 locales relegated to the Superfund National Priorities List. As required by Congress since 1980, the EPA uses that list to locate, investigate and clean up the worst-offending landfills, chemical plants, radiation sites and other areas known or suspected of releasing contaminants, pollutants and other hazardous substances.

(full article)

You can find the XML file mentioned in the article at http://www.epa.gov/enviro/geo_data.html

Google Earth used to attack troops in Iraq

Filed under: GE In the News — by at 8:50 am on Saturday, January 13, 2007

The British Daily Telegraph reports, that terrorists in Iraqi use Google Earth to prepare and conduct attacks against UK troops in Basra.

Print-outs with details of the base including the precise coordinates were found during a raid. British military men are concerned. The daily mortar attacks are increasingly accurate, killed one soldier within the last six months and injured many more.

A Google spokesman said the information could be used for “good and bad” and was available to the public in many forms. “Of course we are always ready to listen to governments’ requests,” he said.