My job as a City Engineer takes me into the past quite often, and the ability to use historical mapping as a tool to determine the cause of issues today can be quite important. Since Google Earth and Google Maps have been around, the level of mapping awareness has increased exponentially. The problem is that many of the maps that are useful are still sitting on someone’s wall, or in a dusty closet somewhere.
The map displayed below as an overlay on Google Earth was produced from mining and building data from 1908. The full map can be viewed here.
If you can’t see the large image below, you can view this overlay in the Google Earth viewer, just click here, it comes up as a full window version. You can pan, tilt, rotate, zoom to your heart’s content!
If you want to change the transparency or anything else, you’ll need to load this kmz into your own copy of Google Earth and play with it there.
Google Earth and Municipal Engineering
This is just one easy application of the overlay capabilities of Google Earth, but from a presentation perspective, it provides real clarity when describing the previous industrial activity on a building site, or when trying to pinpoint the location of spoil piles from the mines, or the location of old trails up on the hill.
Recently in my job I’ve used Google Earth;
- to coordinate a discussion of road works along the highway – Street View is particularly useful for this,
- to visualize the watershed boundaries for the municipality,
- to describe the location of construction activities in a timeframe.
We are starting an infrastructure planning study this month, and it is likely that we will use Google Earth to display much of the data for public input and discussion – this is where GIS and all the data behind it can link with the visual display engine that Google has created with Google Earth.