Google Earth isn't just mapping the planet, it's helping to make a better one. The new Earth Outreach KML, also known as "The Path to Green Energy", allows developers to determine their next green energy location right on their desktop.
It doesn't make much sense to build renewable energy stations if you exterminate irreplaceable species in the process. A major hassle for solar or wind plants is where you can put the things, as either covering an area in solar panels or filling it with big metal moving objects can kind of interfere with local wildlife. And by "interfere" we mean "kill."
The now Google Earth system combines the existing Google Earth software with data from conservation societies, the National Resources Defense Council and the National Audobon Society, highlighting off-limits areas at a glance. This saves developers a time-consuming process of finding out exactly who has jurisdiction over what, or the expense of getting halfway through planning before being told that the lesser-spotted speckled eel lives over there.
As you can probably tell from all the "National"s there, the system only covers the US so far (and only part of that). But extension is inevitable - and easy! The system uses KML, Keyhole Markup Language, which is awesome - it really is HTML for the real world, allowing anyone to add pages and pages of code to the globe.
Such software is a great example of how Google's services are being integrated into the modern world, saving time and energy. Or you could say they want the place to be in good condition when they take over. Either way, they're helping.
Posted by Luke McKinney.
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