Google tailors Earth for DOD users

Google tailors popular geospatial software for DOD end users

By Bob Brewin

Colorado Springs '

Google wants to help Defense Department (DOD) users fuse and then distribute their own geospatial data with the same technology that powers the company's Google Earth application embraced by 200 million users world-wide, Rob Painter, director of Google Earth Federal said here at the Spacecomm 2007 conference sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Chapter of AFCEA International.

Painter, interviewed in the Google booth here which evokes the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, said that while the public Google Earth uses commercial satellite and geospatial imagery, Google Earth Fusion allows federal agencies to manipulate and integrate their own geospatial imagery with the company's prove and powerful software tools.

This imagery can include raster graphic for imagery and terrain, geographical information system software, land feature and 3D building height data, Painter said. Google Earth Fusion allow DOD agencies to build their own 'world', he said, with the possibility that one agency will build such a world based on commercial, and unclassified information imagery while another will build its own world based on classified information and imagery.

Google Earth Fusion is just one part of the Google Earth Enterprise suite designed for use by DOD, and other federal and state agencies, Painter said. This package also includes the Google Earth Server, a hardware and software package which delivers the geospatial database to end user software clients.

The Google Earth Enterprise Client includes all the features found in the company's commercial Google Earth Pro software including 3D drawing tools and the ability to import location information form a spreadsheet and also adds support for connecting to multiple servers to support enterprise search, Painter said.

Google has priced its basic Google Earth Enterprise suite at $100,000, but the company has made deliberate decision not to charge for the client software, Painter said. That way, one DOD command can set up an enterprise geospatial network and easily add an end user in another command without the need to buy an extra client, Painter said.

Over the past year Google has beefed up its team focused on DOD and other federal agencies, more than tripling its staff to 14 people from four a year ago, Painter said. He was reluctant to disclose customers, but did say the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the Coast Guard and the State of Alabama through a grant from the Homeland Security Department all use Google Earth products.

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