Geography 2.0: Virtual Globes

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Monday, September 26, 2005

Virtual Globes Session at AAG2006

Session description:
“Geography v2.0: Internet-based Virtual Globes”
Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, March 7-11, 2006, Chicago, Illinois.

AAG Geographic Information Science and Systems Specialty Group

Alan Glennon (glennon(at@)umail(dot)ucsb(dot)edu), University of California, Santa Barbara
Josh Bader (bader(at@)geog(dot)ucsb(dot)edu), University of California, Santa Barbara

Internet-based geographic visualization gained momentum in 2005 when Google and Microsoft each introduced free, online virtual globe software. These programs serve satellite and aerial imagery draped over interactive, three-dimensional software representations of earth. Moving to and viewing locations-of-interest are facilitated through search queries and user interface controls. Additional data, like roads and political boundaries, as well as, basic image overlays, can be added to the map. The software offers search tools, driving directions, and information on local businesses. Through Application Program Interfaces (API) and eXtensible Markup Language (XML)-based data specifications, developers and advanced users can create new functions and data.

These internet-based globes have proven widely popular. For instance, in its first two weeks, the Google Earth website had 5.2 million unique visitors. Such public interest poses a variety of opportunities, challenges, and questions for geographers. This session invites speakers to discuss their work exploring the potential of these and associated internet-based geographic tools. Topics may include: What are the connections between virtual globes and GIS? How will such internet-based spatial software affect the disciplines of geography and GIScience? How will issues such as data quality and uncertainty be dealt with in virtual globes? Are Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth likely to affect geographic awareness, education, and decision making? Will the software affect contemporary GIS software and manufacturers? Can sustainable business models be developed for such software? What is the future of such software?

Related keywords: virtual globes, GIS, location based services, internet mapping, Google Earth

Participation and Deadlines:
If you wish to participate in this paper session, please send an expression of interest to Alan Glennon (glennon(at@)geog(dot)ucsb(dot)edu) as soon as possible. Abstracts and Presenter Identification Numbers (PINs) are due November 1, 2005. We will submit the session and speakers to the AAG on November 3, 2005.

For information on abstract submission guidelines, see the AAG Annual Meeting website at: