Making Google Earth even more
Let's face it. Google Earth is cool, being able to zoom into a location and seeing it from a bird's eye view. You can also get additional information through "layers," everything from temperatures to traffic, airports, and a whole lot more.
Neat, yes, but what if the information you want displayed is something only folks in your company would care about? Information that your company has put together for internal use; things employees may need while on the road.
There's a company in Mississippi that specializes in taking Google Earth and integrating the data you need into the maps. The company is Navagis, a Google Earth Enterprise partner and affiliate of the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology.
Founded in 2008 by Mississippi State University graduate David Moore, it's one of the few companies in the world solely devoted to Google Earth Enterprise. It specializes in the resale, deployment, installation, training, administration and development of custom software for commercial and government organizations. Its system can be found at over 50 locations domestic and international.
Ben Hubbard, vice president of product development, joined in 2009 and oversees software development and customer support. An MSU graduate like Moore, he's worked at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., on software development.
Hubbard said the Jackson-based company has 25 employees, with skills in a variety of technology fields, including engineering, computer services, software development, sales and other areas of expertise. The company has satellite offices in Singapore and San Francisco, and it has been an MSET affiliate for about a year now.
In less than 10 years Google Earth has become one of the best known products and services of the ubiquitous company. It's a virtual globe, map and geographical information program that displays the Earth through the use of superimposed satellite and airborne images. There are free and more capable paid versions of Google Earth available.
Google Earth helped spur interest in virtual globes and geospatial technologies and applications. Since its introduction in 2005, Google Earth downloads reached the billion milestone in October 2011, according to Google's official blog.
While the tools that are available are powerful, it's the way it can be used to display additional information and additional overlaid images that makes Google Earth a particularly useful tool. And that's where a company like Navagis comes in.
But Hubbard points out that it's not for everybody. The needs of some companies are not data-intense enough for such a powerful tool. But for those that have a lot of data, the custom app development may be just what is needed.
Hubbard said many organizations are swimming in data, much of it geospatially referenced. It can include where physical assets are located, or sales offices and all of that department's demographic data.
"A company will have tons of data," said Hubbard. Why not put it in a Google map so it's available to employees on the road? Navagis takes the data and can make it display on a map, and it can be made mobile. The idea is to create a system that requires no training to use. - David Tortorano