Latest Version of Google Earth Offers 3D Glimpse of Trees Worldwide
The latest version of Google Earth provides a 3D view of trees, an innovation that Google officials say will emerge as a forestry planning tool for governments, environmentalists, and indigenous peoples. While earlier versions of the software showed forest cover from a bird’s eye view worldwide, Google Earth 6 takes users beneath the canopy level to explore more than 50 different tree species, from olive groves in Greece to patches of bamboo in the Amazon. Google officials say they are working with different groups to use the software in conservation and reforestation projects, including efforts to map coastal mangrove forests in Mexico and the modeling of forest restoration projects in Kenya. “We want to make sure we’re adding in more information to make the planet more alive and more complete,” Peter Birch, Google Earth product manager, told Reuters. So far, Google has mapped 80 million trees in seven cities worldwide — including San Francisco, Chicago, Tokyo, and Athens — and in a section of rainforest in the Brazilian Amazon.
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
The Warriors of Qiugang, a Yale Environment 360 video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.