True North GIS now offering a Google Earth extension!



What is Google Earth?

Released to the public in mid-2005 by the folks at Google, Google Earth is a free 3-D viewer that "combines satellite imagery, maps and the power of Google Search to put the world's geographic information at your fingertips."

For more information, and to download Google Earth:



How has True North GIS enhanced Google Earth?

True North GIS has customized Google Earth by overlaying user-supplied geographic data (such as GIS, CAD, and satellite imagery) to the standard Google Earth view.  Furthermore, optional hotlinks in the Google Earth view automatically connect the user to web pages containing additional descriptive information about that location. A variety of real-life examples are displayed in the column to the left.



How can this Google Earth enhancement help you?

With this True North GIS capability, users can now display their own geographic data – or data created for them – superimposed over Google Earth's default view.

Organizations that would like to publish their own geographic data for public viewing over the Internet can now do so, using the power of the free Google Earth viewer.  Viewers can easily fly over the earth's surface, examining and understanding the relationship between the user's data and Google Earth's detailed 3-D terrain and satellite imagery.

Descriptive text, as well as pictures, sound, and video of the user's data can be included in the Google Earth view.  In addition, user-specified hotlinks placed in the Google Earth view establish automatic connections to web pages containing additional information about that location.



View a demonstration using real GIS data!

A demonstration of this powerful tool can be downloaded from the True North GIS Forest Fire Lookout data set. There you’ll find a .KMZ file (3.9 MB) to load into Google Earth.  Detailed steps for downloading and viewing the demonstration data are listed in the column to the right.



A quick description of the demonstration data set. . .

The downloadable .KMZ file contains actual GIS data, both tabular and geographic, that provides a real-life example of the True North GIS enhancement. Assembled from a variety of sources, the data describe 18 forest fire lookouts located in Western Washington.

Hundreds of mountaintop forest fire lookout cabins and towers were constructed in Washington, most between 1910 and 1950. Perched high on airy peaks, oftentimes many miles from the nearest habitation, these lonely outposts were staffed by stalwart individuals who spent the entire summer scanning the surrounding terrain for wild fires.

In the latter half of the 1900's, airplanes began to replace the lookouts as the preferred mode of detection. Very few lookouts remain today, and those that do remain are treasured for their historical significance. The State of Washington has listed 18 of these remaining lookouts on its State and National Registers of Historic Places.

This .KMZ file contains the locations of the 18 historic lookouts, along with:
 - text describing each one
 - photographs of the lookouts
 - official historical documents for each lookout
 - viewsheds displaying each lookout's visible territory
 - forest fire boundaries for the last century

Download the .KMZ file and view it with Google Earth. Take a flying tour to visit each lookout and explore the relationships between topography, history, and wild fires!



For more information...

For further information how your can combine the power of Google Earth with GIS data, please contact True North GIS.




Follow these quick steps to see Google Earth combined with GIS data:


Install the Forest Fire Lookout data

1. The free Google Earth viewer software must be
    installed on your computer.  To download and install
    Google Earth, click the button below, which will take
    you to the Google Earth website, where you'll find
    download and installation instructions.

2. Download the True North GIS Forest Fire Lookout
    data set.  Click the button below, and Google Earth
    will start, automatically zooming to the demonstration
    data.

    As an alternative, right click the True North GIS
    button above, and save the .KMZ file to your
    computer (the .KMZ file contains the Forest Fire
    Lookout data).  After the download is complete,
    double-click the .KMZ file, which will start Google
    Earth, automatically zooming to the demonstration
    data.


View the Forest Fire Lookout data

1. Google Earth will install the Forest Fire Lookout data
    in the Places Pane, under the Temporary Places
    folder, highlighted below:


2. To fly to a lookout, open the Lookout Locations
    folder by clicking the triangle to its left.  Double-click
    a lookout name (highlighted below), and watch
    Google Earth fly to that location!


3. A "bubble" window (displayed below) will pop up
    whenever a lookout name is clicked. The bubble
    window displays information about that fire
    lookout.  Hyperlinks to web pages containing
    Historic Documentation and additional Images can
    also be selected from the bubble window.


4. The territory seen from a lookout (its viewshed) can
    be displayed by opening the Lookout Viewsheds
    folder (highlighted below), and then clicking the
    checkbox next to that lookout's name.


5. Previous wildfire locations can be displayed by
    opening the Wildfire Locations folder (highlighted
    below) and clicking one or more check boxes,
    where fires are organized by decade.