February 6, 2010

Google Earth Update Allows Peek Into The Past

Google announced Thursday that it has added an Ocean Showcase and WW II era aerial photographs to its free, interactive online atlas, Google Earth.

"The historical imagery feature gives people a unique perspective on the events of the past using today's latest mapping technology," Laura Scott of Google Europe said in a blog post.

"We hope that this World War II imagery will enable all of us to understand our shared history in a new way and to learn more about the impact of the war on the development of our cities."

The feature shows images of 35 European cities taken in 1943 and of Warsaw in 1935 and 1945.  Users are able to do side-by-side comparisons of the cities then and now.

"They remind us all of the devastating impact of war on the people in those cities and also the remarkable way in which urban environments are reconstructed and regenerated over time," Scott said.

Also, National Geographic oceanographer Sylvia Earle narrates an under-sea tour for the Google Earth application.

"Anyone can be a desktop (Jacques-Yves) Cousteau," Google product manager Jenifer Austin Foulkes said, referring to the famed French sea explorer.

"You can pause the tour at any time to watch videos of the surrounding areas and marine animals, like the humpback whales."

Photographers, naturalists, government agencies, and non-profit groups helped contribute photos and videos to an Explore the Ocean layer of Google Earth, which launched last year.

The service has grown to include tours of Monterey Bay Aquarium, sunken ships, and prize surfing locals.


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