Google Blows Up Earth

    June 13, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The Google Earth and Maps teams must have been on the verge of bursting into data stream rivers until they finally popped this morning, unloading a mess of new functionality onto the world. We had to mask our digital footprint with wading boots to fish out the most relevant to our readers: Google Maps for Enterprise.

Google Blows Up Earth
Google Upgrades Google Earth

Google Maps for Enterprise is a fee-based, licensed service for businesses wishing to use to the Google Maps API for websites or internal applications. It enables customers to incorporate Google Maps into customer tracking, shipping, facilities management, or other data sources used in a geographic context.

“[W]e’ve heard from many organizations that want to use Google mapping technology behind the firewall or for web-based enterprise applications,” said Google product manager David Bercovich. “Now you can provide all the Google Maps features that users love — such as the ability to drag maps in the browser and view satellite imagery.

“That means whether you’re displaying customer data on a map, managing assets in the field, or delivering a location-finder to your customers or partners, Google Maps integrates with your data to provide a truly compelling user experience.”

The Google Enterprise Solutions webpage, where a trial API key and examples can be found, lists a few sample applications:

Workforce management-manage your employees and resources in the field

CRM-instantly see the locations of customers

Operations and logistics-provide geographic context for operating needs from tracking shipments to managing supply chains

Marketing-get a geographic view of your sales trends and customer concentrations to better understand business performance.

External Websites-public-facing applications from location finders to showcase sites

Google Maps for Enterprise leaked out among a slew of other applications and upgrades to Google Earth and Google Maps, in honor of the first anniversary of Google Earth and Google’s first Geo Developer Day. John Hanke, director of Google Earth and Maps reports that Google Earth has surpassed 100 million unique downloads and that 30,000 websites have created mash-ups using the Google Maps API.

The current update to Google Earth increases the global coverage by a factor of four, now covering over 20 percent of the Earth’s landmass. That translates to about a third of the Earth’s population, or 2 billion people in 200 countries, that can officially say, “I can see my house from here.” And they can see it better too, as the resolution has been increased from 15 meters per pixel to about 70 cm per pixel, and 10 cm per pixel in some countries. The imagery, provided through a partnership with Digital Globe will be accessible in Google Maps soon.

The Google Earth team has extended its new functionalities, including the addition of textured buildings in 3D, to Windows, Mac, and for the first time, Linux operating systems; available now in French, Italian, German and Spanish. The 3D capabilities mesh well with Google SketchUp to add realism to the “collectively-authored 3D world SketchUp users are creating.”

In response to the Maps API developer requests, the company has also added street-level geocoding for the US, Canada, Japan, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. The addition of geocoding will be especially useful in creating Google Maps mash-ups.

Finally, Google Maps will enable the display of Keyhole Markup Language (KML), the file format used by Google Earth and other applications to share geographic information. This will enable data created in the Earth program to be viewed in a web browser as a simple mash-up. Google says KML requires “no computer programming expertise.”


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