Friday, May 19, 2006

3-D Image Pollution @ Google Earth

Image Credit: Google

Google Earth Pollution!

Where's Greenpeace and the science community when we need them the most?

This from "Google Watch" via eWEEK News & View's -

Google Earth Pollution, in 3-D!
By Ben Charny - Google Watch

Google's nascent 3-D experiment is enabling a bit of a problem: Google Earth pollution.

Since late April, Google's been making available a number of free programs to create 3-D images, then upload them onto Google Earth maps, or the 3D Warehouse, a place where the graphic can be
downloaded by others.

The goal was to bring
3-D to the masses. It's sure working.

Take a gander at the Empire State Building, via Google Earth's "fly to" feature. There's now several 3-D images of buildings near the Empire State Building, including one of the Chrysler Building.

To some people, these new images only add to the existing clutter on the maps. The Google Maps screen was so filled with names of locations and businesses as the image resolves into Manhattan that, at one point, all the scrunched-up names and symbols totally obscured the satellite photo.

As to the clutter and in Google's defense, Manhattan is a special case, where there are hundreds of listings to cram onto the map. And Google makes available a quick and relatively painless way to get rid of all of the, assuming here, paid listings.

Of course, the 3-D features showing up on Google Earth can all be avoided by not downloading the network software Google makes available.

But a lot of Google Earth users are sure to like the new additions. The 3-D imagery is a kind of high-tech graffiti that adds an interesting flavor to the maps. The King Kong image for the Empire State was a nice touch, for instance.

So in a way, for a lot of people it's kind of welcome clutter.

But Google's got a difficult task on-hand of walking the fine line between cute and so cluttered it's tough to make things out.
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