Many people are familiar with GPS based mapping programs like Google Earth and Yahoo Maps which allow users to see the world from satellite images. Google Earth has been introducing a lot of eat features over the last year including a "fly over" option to fly from one destination to another. The only thing lacking from satellite mapping programs is a third dimension. Earthmine has developed a program to include the third dimension of mapping programs, ground level imagery. Incorporating ground level imagery is labor intensive because it requires a lot of original imagery as compared to using satellite imagery which can capture huge swaths of the earth's surface in one shot. Earthmine is a great concept and has many practical applications including giving users a "real life" look at landmarks that cannot be captured by satellite imagery.
This is the idea in Earthmine's words, "We're creating an entirely new datamine about our earth that is open, connected, flexible, immersive and scalable. A spatially accurate, truly 3D inventory of our world. It just may be the link that's been missing between information and places."
Below is a sample of Earthmine in action. Earthmine is still in its Beta stage, but they plan to go public "early in 2008."
Applications for Educators
Earthmine will be a useful tool for Social Studies teachers who want to show students what a place looks like in real time. Art teachers will like the capability to show the minute details of famous architecture. Any teacher trying to provide the context of a particular city will enjoy the capability to provide that context through Earthmine.