With a lot of work, and a little bit of video editing magic,Google Earth has the potential to transform story telling. Specifically, satellite views have the potential to draw media audiences directly into a story, providing multiple contextual sources that can b used for dramatic effect or to show
multiple view points.
The best way to explain what I want to do is to go to Google Earth and take a trip up the tributaries that feed the American River in El Dorado and Placer counties in north central California. With readers perched on the Google Earth eagle, I can soar them up and down fast flowing waterways and
over mineral rich escarpments.
The best example of what I want to include in online versions of a book is illustrated by the producers of PBS’ Frontline documentaries who use Google Earth or other satellite imagery to provide
geographic context. On the surface, it seems like a simple task. But it’s definitely not easy. Simple software that would let users provide over views, fly overs and zoom downs doesn’t exist for consumers, yet.
Over the last month I’ve experimented with software from Adobe, Microsoft and Apple and come away wanting.
I don’t mean to be petulant, but all I want are a simple set of tools that let me easily pan, zoom in and out of aerial views and then weave my story into those rich vistas.
There is software that captures the essence of what I'm searching for. Unfortunately, most of it is designed for virtual tours. TourWrist – a stand out from among last year’s Demo companies is a good example, although it seems to be designed for terrestrial and intrerior design view.
While my story ends up in ground truths, To present a complete package to my readers, I want and need to startin space, zoom down like a hungry bird of prey, and then let my readers soar up
canyons, mountain tops and finally settle down next to rough campsites.
Because Google Earth could be the focusing lens for a new type of storytelling, I believe the best solution will be a cloud- based applications designed from the beginning to work with Google or other suppliers of satellite and photogrammetry images (including topographic maps).
I also think this is an example of an application that could have an inside track on the race to liquidity. Come on, go ahead and tell me Google, Adobe, Trimble Navigation, or AutoDesk wouldn’t jump right up and snatch this type of an application right from a nice warm incubator.
TO the surveyors in my family, I guess the seed didn’t really fall very far from the theodolite.—Jim Forbes on 1/25/2013