Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Google Earth & GIS

Despite being the originator of World Wind, NASA is now integrating some of it's data sets with Google Earth. As NASA is having it's core scientific research budget cut (thanks to Bush's marvellous idea of putting people on Mars in the near future), it makes sense for it to maximise budget by using a freely available client side tool such as Google Earth. Existing sources of satellite data in GIS format (for example the US Geological Survey data) can be converted into Google Earth's KML format using Arc2Earth (unfortunately it's not free or open source). Here is a step-by-step guide. This data can then be displayed and navigated via Google Earth. Declan Butler, who reported on this issue in Nature (subscribers only) has created some interesting maps of Avian bird flu incidence using this approach.
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