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 An Oblique View of Terrain Mapping
Ryan Hamilton
Ryan Hamilton
Ryan Hamilton majored in Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado and has been employed within both the LiDAR and IFSAR mapping worlds since 1998. His interests (that all appear to be tied to mapping) include blue water sailing, backcountry skiing and big mountain and downhill mountain … More »

Google Earth Has Changed The World

 
September 24th, 2013 by Ryan Hamilton

As a map geek that has lived through the Google Earth revolution, it amazes me how far we have come in such a short time. The pre Keyhole (2001) world is hard for me to even imagine these days, and not just because I am a map guy. Think about what it took back then to look at an air photo of a place you were planning to visit or look at the terrain and profile of a ride you were thinking about doing; unless you had some great connections it was impossible. Back then, If a hotel advertised a beach front location near downtown you had to take their word, now all we do is enter the address and voila, you can not only see where the hotel is but you can see what it looks like from street view, simply amazing.

Every time I show my children some new place on Google Earth I reflect on how they will never know the pre-Google Earth world. Back then, map data providers could be called cartographers, seeing an air photo of your house was a big deal, and the world just seemed much bigger.

I bring all this up because as a provider of terrain data my initial impression of Google Earth model of free data for everyone, was that we would be out of business within a couple of years. In fact the opposite is true, Google Earth has expanded the geospatial data market in ways we could not have imagined 10 years ago. Geolocation and the importance of accurate mapping data have become critical thanks to Google Earth and mapping has become an essential part of people’s everyday lives

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Category: Oblique view of terrain data

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