Google Earth (and its revealing Ocean layer) has been a multi-informational tool, providing varying degrees of visual data for the general public, educational, and research users and organizations. The Ocean layer, to which I am honored to be a content provider, has been continually growing in terms of the quantity of content and the level of detail.
On Monday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a press release a cooperative research and development agreement with Google designed to create state-of-the-art visualizations of scientific data. Working with the software/Internet wizards at Google is a good step towards resolving one of my pet issues with scientific research: getting the data out to the public in a meaningful and useful way thereby better enlightening and motivating the user.
Several initiatives are planned - ranging from improving the undersea topographic data presented in Google Ocean, expanding NOAA's efforts to publish oceanographic data from expeditions and observation systems, and enhancing NOAA's educational Earth science display system.
NOAA realizes they have the data and Google has the software muscle to get that data out there in a significant way. It would seem that this could be a great advance in an already productive relationship and I, for one, am looking forward to see what transpires.
If you haven't taken a look at Google Earth/Ocean, it's an easy upload (the program requires an Internet connection to operate). Click here to learn more.
Read the NOAA press release.