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American Society of Landscape Architects


June 2007 Issue

The New Generation of Geobrowsers
New tools are available for design and planning.

By James L. Sipes, ASLA

The New Generation of Geobrowsers 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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