The New Generation of Geobrowsers
New tools are available for design and planning.
By James L. Sipes, ASLA
Microsoft Virtual Earth
Geobrowsers like Google Earth, NASA’s WorldWind, and
Microsoft’s Virtual Earth 3D provide us with a way to access geospatial
information and have changed the way we view the world. Geobrowsers provide a
quick, efficient, and easy-to-use interface for linking satellite imagery,
maps, and other geospatial information. With this information we can develop a
better understanding of where we live, see dynamic changes such as the impacts
of a hurricane or a local storm, or fly around the world and see areas we have
only read about.
For landscape architects and other design and planning
professionals who work with geospatial data, geobrowsers can be used to
visualize and share information. Geobrowsers are an effective way to share
information with clients and stakeholders because they are free, easy to use,
and available to anyone with Internet access.
There have been significant changes in geobrowsers over the
past year or so. This new generation of geobrowsers provides access to more
information as well as a greater level of accuracy, realism, and interactivity.
These improvements are significant and have made geobrowsers an essential design
and communication tool.
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