Blog Posts » Google Earth team recognized for Katrina effort

Google Earth team recognized for Katrina effort

Ok I have made no real anti-google posts recently but I’m with The Earth Is Square on this one,

The Google Earth team was recognized last week by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency for their work last year to bring timely satellite images of the areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina to the public (and to rescuers).

Utter rubbish, I wonder how much money google paid to get that PR, I know for a fact the US national guard were using world wind to help them not GE, but this is not about GE vs WW it is about giving credit to the people who did the real work, and were not paid google salaries to do it, here’s a quote from a page I wrote back in 2005 which gives the true story.

Add-On history

This all started when Norman Vine discovered NOAA had flown over the areas affected by hurricane Katrina and taken aerial photographs (NOAA Hurricane Photography), he managed to contact mangocrate from NOAA in the #worldwind chat channel on freenode who was able to put him in contact with the people who flew the missions. While this was happening Norman got together with a group of like minded people at telascience and got servers and processing equipment ready for when NOAA provided the necessary metadata so the images could be correctly georeferenced, without accurate georeferencing the data would be of no use to the authorities involved in the Katrina aftermath operation. Once the data arrived the processing was started, and within hours was made available to the people who needed it most, Norman then used information provided by Nowak to process the imagery into a format World Wind could use, once this was completed WorldWind Central put the data on their servers, T_Servo then created an xml used to access the data and the original Katrina Data Add-On was born.

Since the original Add-On was created much has been added, Nowak discovered imagery from the USACE processed the data and it was added into the Add-On, once hurricane Ophelia data became available T_Servo decided to create this more general Add-On which would include all data available for the 2005 Hurricane season.

The most amazing thing about how this all happened is the relatively few people involved, the speed this was achieved (within days of Katrina hitting the mainland), and the fact that they had no large government agency or commercial corporation backing. Compare this to Google Earths offering which had enormous backing and funds behind it, and in the end had poorer georeferencing and less imagery than the World Wind communities Add-On.


Some small corrections from Norman Vine via irc

Bull your rant isn’t exactly accurate
mangocrate announced in here that NOAA would be making the overflight photos available
this is where I first learned of this
Google was part of a group led by some NASA Ames folk that initially put the ‘scaled and rotated’ images into GE
this was independent of my effort at getting things georeffed properly

and more information about the telascience effort

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