written by Michael Simmonds
National Geographic was first founded as a non-profit organization in 1888 by Gardiner Hubbard. The original purpose of National Geographic was to promote environmental and historical conservation, and the study of world culture and history. Even today, the commitment to educating the public about the environments and cultures of the world remains strong. The motto of National Geographic is “Inspiring people to care about the planet since 1888 (National Geographic Website).” It comes as no surprise, therefore, that National Geographic has chosen to make a layer on Google Earth.
The National Geographic’s Feature Articles and Photographs layer on Google Earth provides users with images and blurbs of some of the magazine’s featured articles and photographs over the years. This layer fits excellently with Google Earth because the images and cover article blurbs are organized by location on Google Earth’s 3D virtual globe. This gives users the opportunity to virtually view locations on the globe where the articles were written. The layer also provides users with a photo of the cover article, and a short blurb explaining what the article is about. Users are then able to click on a “read more” link that will direct them to the full National Geographic website where the full featured article is available to be read. Example screen shots of the layer are provided below:
The purpose of the National Geographic layer on Google Earth is to educate the public about world cultures and environments. The layer does a terrific job of highlighting important articles and information that can be essential to educating people about our planet. Furthermore, unlike the actual magazine, the National Geographic layer and Google Earth are both free to the public. Thus, for people who may not be able to pay the price of subscription to a written magazine, this layer will provide the means to get all of this important information free.