Earth Viewers

  • Mathias Lemmens
Part of the Geotechnologies and the Environment book series (GEOTECH, volume 5)


One of the most influential developments boosting the application of geo-information technologies in a wide variety of scientific and professional disciplines has its origin outside the geomatics field although the establishment of the technology heavily relies on recent accomplishments in geo-information technology. The developments referred to concern the emergence of Earth viewers such as Google Earth or Bing Maps accessible by the general public. Earth viewers, also called virtual globes or geo-browsers, allow users to interactively display and explore the information content of aerial and satellite imagery, digital elevation models (DEM), topographic data, earthquake locations, water bodies and many more. The ease with which these viewers may be downloaded on PCs connected to the internet will make people more and more geographically aware. Navigating through Earth viewers can be done rather intuitively not only for those grown up with clicking, dragging and mouse wheels but also for those using computers in their daily work or at home. ‘It is like the effect of the personal computer in the 1970s, where previously there was quite an élite population of computer users’, Professors Michael Goodchild from the University of California, Santa Barbara says in the scientific journal Nature (Butler, 2006). ‘Just as the PC democratised computing, so systems like Google Earth will democratise GIS’.


Digital Elevation Model Geographical Information System Earth Viewer Ground Sample Distance Geographical Information System Data 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Delft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

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