Planning new roads with Google Earth

If you watched the second episode of the Geospatial Revolution that we posted a few months ago, you may remember how the city of Portland was making excellent use of mapping technologies such as Google Earth to help with city planning.

I’m reminded of that story when looking at what the city of Douglasville, Georgia is doing as they prepare to undertake a massive highway widening and reconstruction project. The Highway 92 Project uses similar tools as other projects, with a variety of charts, PDFs and Word documents. However, they also are using Google Earth so people can get a very close look at how the proposed changes would impact their lives.


As you can see from the image above and the video below, this project will make some massive changes to the layout of the road:

During recent meetings, the video was shown for the audience to view, and the presenters had the KMZ file loaded so they could walk through any questions that viewers might have.

Croy Engineering created the file for the City of Douglasville for use in the public information portion of the project concept phase. Greg Teague, Director of Engineering Services and Wayne McGary were the driving force behind the creation of the kmz file and movie.

For a project like this, Google Earth seems to be the perfect way to show it off. Novice users can watch the fly-through video, while more advanced users can use the KMZ to dig in deep.

The only thing that would make this better is the addition of 3D buildings and trees to help get a better feel for the affected area, but that will come over time as Google continues to expand those into more areas of the world.

The 2011 GSA Penrose Conference

Last week, at Google’s Mountain View headquarters, a group of 74 professors and students met for a Geological Society of America Penrose Conference to discussVisualizing the Possibilities for Geoscience Education and Research“.


While the event was hosted at Google, and the Google folks certainly helped with logistics, the event was run by members of the geospatial community, for the purpose of discussing the role of Google Earth in higher education and research.

The week provided a wealth of ideas and information, such as Barb Tewksbury’s discussion of geologic map interpretation and John Bailey and Sean Askey’s presentation about generating tours from lines.

For a quick look at what the conference was like, Eugene Potapov shot this brief video:

To learn more about the topics discussed at the conference, your best resource for now are the blogs of Rich Treves and Meg Stewart, as they’ve both posted a lot of great information from the week. The official site should be updated soon with more detail about each presentation.

All in all, it sounds like it was a very educational week. Were any of you among the attendees? Leave a comment and let us know what you thought of the conference.