Google Earth Gets Audio Layer

    June 1, 2007

Google Earth has always been about visuals – interesting sights, but pretty much no sounds.  That recently changed with the introduction of a new layer from Wild Sanctuary.  The layer features “the sounds of nature” recorded at all sorts of places and times of day and night.

According to a press release that came out long before any deal was finalized, Wild Sanctuary’s president, Dr. Bernie Krause, has spent 40 years collecting “over 3,500 hours of soundscapes from all over the world.”  It’s some of that content which has become available to everyone, free of charge.

Also, as reported by Wired’s Michael Calore, “Bernie demoed the KML dataset at Where 2.0 by flying around in Google Earth, zooming in on the Amazon basin to play the whoops of howler monkeys, then flying to Ontario, Canada’s Algonquin Provincial Park to hear a pack of wolves howling at a full moon.”

Then – just in case the “3,500 hours” statistic didn’t tip you off, we’ll add, “Bernie has it all – whale sounds recorded underwater in Maui, Gibbons in Africa and the deafening din of mid-day in the wilds of the Indonesian jungle.”

Considering that talks about the Wild Sanctuary layer for Google Earth only became public earlier this month, the project seems to have been pushed along pretty quickly – a sign that the good people of Google liked what they were seeing.  The layer is worth a look – you may feel the same way.