Over the years, Google Earth has been responsible for helping a huge number of non-profit and other worthwhile organizations around the world. We’ve shown you how environmental groups have been using Google Earth for more than six years, how it’s been used to fight against rainforest logging, and Google Earth Outreach consistenly showcases many other amazing organizations from a variety of countries.
Similarly to the others that have used Google Earth to fight against deforestation, the Philippine National Police have been using Google Earth to fight illegal logging in the province of Laguna.
Here is their story, in their words:
On behalf of all the personnel of Philippine National Police (PNP) Laguna, I would like to express our gratefulness for the wonderful gift of your Google Earth services. It contributed a lot and it has been a great part of our efforts against illegal logging here in the province of Laguna. Nationwide, we are shocked by the effect of the natural and man-made calamities wreaking havoc to our country resulting to loss of lives and properties. Man-made calamities are greatly attributed to rampant illegal logging and deforestation thus causing flash floods and landslides. Since Laguna had been one of the most affected areas of flash floods and landslides, the Laguna PNP initiated the creation of a dedicated Provincial Anti-Illegal Logging Task Group “BERDE” purposely to ensure the implementation of OPLAN “BERDE (Boost Economic Reserves for the Development of Ecosystem). Through the help of Google Earth, we were able to locate specific targets of our OPLAN BERDE. Our operations yielded positive results on illegal logging sites like Cavinti, Laguna that was identified by using Google Earth. Initial operation last April 13, 2012 resulted to the recovery of forest products, machinery equipment, tools and conveyance abandoned during apprehension. Google Earth has been a major contributing factor to the success of our operation. Because of you and your innovative services, we can keep moving forward towards the attainment of our goals in the field of law enforcement.
As Google Earth imagery continues to become higher resolution and update more rapidly, it will become an even more useful tool for organizations like this one.
Google is making consistent but slow progress with Fusion Tables, gradually enabling various functionality options to turn the application into a comprehensive data visualisation and sharing package. The idea behind Fusion Tables is simple – allow people to upload data in a tabular format, then present that data with graphs or geocode/ match to spatial data and display on Google maps as thematic overlays or location points. Undoubtedly, the integration of tables, maps and graphs is Google’s response to emerging trend for “data marts” and “data journalism”.
Fusion Tables has a potential to evolve into a formidable competitor to PostGIS, ArcSDE , Oracle Spatial or SQL Server for basic GIS applications. Although a recent addition of dynamic styling capabilities takes Fusion Tables closer to that goal, it is still a long way for the application to reach that point. Unfortunately, the implementation of Fusion Tables is in typical, of late, Google fashion – unattractive and rather complex to follow so, most likely only “hard core” developer community will be taking advantage of it. The limit of 250MB of data per account is not helping either. There is no catalogue of available data (although basic text search is enabled) and no metadata for public tables so, it will not facilitate sharing.
Nevertheless, you can already make nice and very responsive maps with Fusion Tables, as in this example from Guardian’s Data Blog:
Do you work on the implementation of a container or develop applications within existing OpenSocial containers? If so, we’d love to interview you in a new blog post series that will allow developers to showcase the new and innovative things that they are doing with OpenSocial.
We’re especially interested in hearing from the community about:
- The challenges you’ve experienced while working with the specification and how you overcame them.
- Are there any technologies or specifications that you’ve integrated with an OpenSocial container or application that you believe married well with the OpenSocial specification?
- How is OpenSocial being used within enterprise solutions?
- How is OpenSocial being used on mobile devices?
- Are there any technical implementations that you thought worked especially well? Code implementations to showcase these integrations are always welcome.
- Do you have any helpful tips, techniques or snippets that have been useful to you in the past?
Using these “OpenSocial in the wild” posts, we’re hoping to hear more voices from the community and give creators the spotlight. These are the people that are on the front lines, implementing, and hearing from them what works, what failed, and what customers took to as far as features will allow us all to better understand how this technology is being used.
If you would like to be heard, please e-mail me at nakedtechnologist at gmail dot com and tell me, in brief, what you’re doing with OpenSocial. I’ll ask you a series of questions from that initial overview and then feature you in our new “OpenSocial in the wild” blog posts.