Peel back the layers
We can’t quite rustle up the same amount of excitement for Geographic Features, but there’s plenty here for students: discover volcanoes, mountains, earthquakes and many other points of geographic interest.
Thankfully, the UK Google Earth community is adding content – including local history.
Our foreign layers are both faintly depressing and inspirational. They’re great showcases for Google Earth’s potential, but they also reveal just how far behind the UK is compared to our friends stateside.
For example, US Government reveals state boundaries and local politicians. In the UK, we’ve got… virtually nothing. Then there’s Community Services. This gives information on schools, churches and local hospitals. In the US. But Travel and Tourism is hugely important to Britain’s economy, so surely we score here? Nope: kudos to the New Zealand tourist board, nil points to our own.
By now you may have noticed a common theme. While the US is almost overflowing with Google Earth content, the UK is lagging behind. We have no community services information, nothing in the travel and tourism category and we’re not storming along in the dining or accommodation departments, either. Take a look at Manhattan’s shopping, dining and sleeping options and you’re spoilt for choice. Look at London’s and you’d be forgiven for thinking our capital is closed for business.
The issue is where all the content comes from. Some is Google’s own, with data imported from the company’s Maps and Search databases. Much more is the result of partnerships with government, official bodies or media corporations.
Google and members of the end-user community are committed to improving UK and European content, and there’s already much more than there used to be. However, without greater collaboration from interested parties, the layers in London, Manchester, Cardiff and Edinburgh are always going to lag behind the layers in Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris and Florence.