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October 18, 2005

Google Earth, Keyhole, and Ogle Earth

This Google Earth thing really is astounding. I mean, I can't wait to sit my kid down in front of it and turn her loose. It puts a globe to shame - just spanks a globe across the room. The meat-space globe is this impractical, expensive, static representation of the Earth. It takes up space, even when you're not using it. It sits there on the bookshelf, collecting dust. It's obsolete as soon as it's printed. Google Earth allows you to spin the planet like a billiard ball, fly all over the planet and zoom in close enough to find a gnat's @ss in Kuala Lumpur. It can be updated in realtime, to keep pace with a changing world. Google Earth, and the imitators that are sure to follow, will change the way we interact with the world around us.

Google Earth was formerly known as Keyhole. Key Hole was the code name for a series of Spy Satellites (euphemistically known as "reconnaissance satellites"). The first series of U.S. spy satellites, the Corona-class satellites, were dubbed Key Hole 1, or KH-1. The current (latest) generation of spy satellites is known as KH-13.

A San Franciso Bay Area company named the Keyhole Corporation developed the software. On October 27th, 2004, Google announced that they were buying the Keyhole Corp. for an undisclosed sum. You can read more about the company here.

Apparently I was the last person on Earth to clue in to this software. There are scads of sites dedicated solely to Google Earth. Ogle Earth is a good place to check. Wikipedia has a good round up of links for Google Earth also. Here's a Keyhole BBS with a link to a fake SR71 Blackbird painted onto the runway to fool the Ruskies. I swear I wish I had more free time on my hands so I could sit and play with this application. It's really off the hook.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on October 18, 2005 at 6:42 PM