Thursday, March 16, 2006

Google Earth in Academic Labs or Libraries

Two important and affordable opportunities for GIS facilities in academic labs or libraries:
  • One free Google Earth Pro license.
    • "Spread the word. If you're a teacher, professor, or school administrator, send me ( an e-mail, requesting Google Earth PRO and I will send you a 1 page authorization document, followed by a free license for one year."
    • via: GIS4LIB Listserv

  • Educational Discounts for Arc2Earth.
    • This newly released application can convert GIS data back and forth between Google Earth and ArcMap.
    • According to the product feature list, both the Standard and Professional versions include an ArcToolbox Geoprocessing tool, which means we can easily integrate these functions into our scripts and models. This is really, really cool.
Speaking of integrating Google Earth with more sophisticated GIS tools, such as ArcGIS, I am sure everyone caught that Nature Magazine article, "Virtual globes: The web-wide world"? (Nature 439, 776-778 (16 February 2006))

My vanity insists that I point out to anyone not aware that an entire 2 paragraphs in this cover story featured the work that I do with students here with Google Earth and GIS.

Approximately 5 new students each month come in to see me needing help with Google Earth. As the article points out, I view these as highly teachable moments and try never to miss an opportunity to show them how GIS can be used in combination with Google Earth. I have been using free scripts which convert between ArcGIS and Google Earth. The two which I like most are KML Home Companion, developed by Jim Cser, and Export to KML, developed by Kevin Martin. However, the features available in Arc2Earth really blow the free scripts away.

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