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March 31, 2009, 5:40 a.m.

Custom Google Street Views as a reporting tool

Amy Gahran of Poynter suggests an interesting question: Is your news organization ready to create Google Earth street views in the course of reporting local news?

This made me think: What if a news organization offered this kind of experience and related it to a news story or ongoing topic? I can envision news organizations using Google Earth street views to:

  • Show the effects of a disaster such as a flood, hurricane, earthquake or tornado. Or (on the bright side) the effects of a redevelopment project or environmental cleanup.
  • Offer unique insight into the local environment: Culture, architecture, economy, etc.
  • Overlay current imagery with historic imagery from Google Earth (or elsewhere) to create a sense of transition from past to present.

It used to be that creating a Google Earth KML layer required a bit of a learning curve, but Google’s Panoramio service makes that a bit easier — at least for very basic projects — by automating the KML generation process and allowing you to upload photos.

It’s not as easy as, say, posting a basic photo gallery, but it could be an excellent news-reporting tool.

POSTED     March 31, 2009, 5:40 a.m.
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