The GeoWeb is an all encompassing term which describes the growing ability to geocode objects within virtual space, that’s to say the ability to add a psuedo physical or real representation to a virtual object. In it’s simplest form the GeoWeb can be thought of as a different approach to finding information. Instead of finding lists of links which can point you to geographic information, you look at geographic information which can point to links to further information. Almost all information has a geographic relationship to other information.
You’ve most probably already encountered the geoweb via something like Google Maps, where you can see a 2-dimensional image of a real locations street’s, and usually add in a real photograph taken from a satellite or aircraft on top of this map to show a simulation of a real place. Other products, such as Google Earth, take this a step further and actually allow you to navigate a 3-dimensional simulation of the real world, overlaying the images you see with extra information such as the location of banks, hotels, and other useful places.
Here at the University of Exeter we’re placing our own campuses in Google Earth, so that prospective students, current students, and staff can take a look around the campus from wherever they happen to be in the world. We also plan to start to enrich every day data that we produce with extra ‘hidden’ data that describes geographic information (for example longitude and latitude) so that clever third party websites can read our information and locate what we offer in geographic terms. The trends towards location aware mobile applications will allow people to search for and find information in an easier, faster and more natural fashion.
For a sneak preview of how the campuses are shaping up in the virtual world, take a look at these pages:
We are making use of Microsoft Maps 2.5D data to aid us in modelling the 3D campus. Here you can see a detailed view of one of the University’s buildings which we need to work on. Together with Google sketchup, we are building the 3D campus.
Teachers speak out
It has been a long time since a technology application got the eye-popping reaction from teachers that Google Earth gets. Inserting videos into PowerPoint was the last comparable roar. Which makes perfect sense. With Google Earth, the earth itself becomes a video. It spins and twirls with an interactive terrain, astonishingly detailed. Kids zoom in on the arena of the Coliseum or the Louisiana river delta. I watched sixth grade California public school teacher Ray Hernandez’s students insert a video on the American Revolution from unitedstreaming onto the site at Bunker Hill . Dennis Wong’s 5th graders overlaid their photos onto their family country of origin and created a truly relevant flying world tour. Both exercises created savable files, an incredibly important feature. Ray’s kids’ work can be shared on the Internet with his Discovery Educator Network nationwide. Mr. Wong’s work remains safely accessible only on his hard drive for use all year in his room. Google Earth enables teachers and communities to easily create tremendous collections of work integrating video, 3D buildings, photos, podcasts, or NPR stories . Teacher and students will travel the real earth of explorations, migrations, heroes and history and share new instruction growing on the planet itself.
Director, Discovery Educator Network – Source: Google for educators
The Google Earth Sightseer Newsletter provides essential links to news and ideas for Educators.