Virtual Globe (T2)

Virtual globe applications take geographical mapping to a new level, with the ability to add multiple layers of spatial data as well as view in ‘3D’. Programs such as Google Earth and ArcGIS Explorer allow users to combine base maps with satellite imagery and numerous additional spatial data layers (roads, buildings, points of interest, etc.).

As with Tier 1, these applications are free and require an internet connection to access the spatial data layers.  However, unlike Tier 1 they require the user to install them (they are not browser-based).  See our Google Earth and ArcGIS Explorer pages for more on these applications.

Google Earth screencapture

Google Earth screen capture.  (Click on the image for a larger view.)

Perhaps the defining characteristic of these applications and what makes them so valuable is the incredible amount of user-generated content they provide.  This is collectively referred to as ‘Volunteered Geographic Information’ (VGI) and includes photographs, articles, videos, links to more information, etc.  In this sense, they are (and therefore, as a user, you are) truly beneficiaries of the so-called cloud.

Please continue reading about these applications at our Google Earth and ArcGIS Explorer pages or continue to Tier 3 (Desktop GIS) mapping.


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