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Digitizing the planet

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NASA
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Most of us have digitized our financial records and music and photo collections. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. On this month’s edition of The Digital Future, Strategic News Service publisher Mark Anderson tells us about efforts to digitize the Earth. 

NASA's open-source World Wind project is one example of a digital Earth. It creates a virtual planet using satellite imagery, aerial photography, topographic maps and other data.

Digital Earths are more than just fancy virtual globes, though. They can be used as a gateway to all of the information available about every spot on our planet. 

If you're shopping for a new home, imagine clicking on the virtual Earth, zooming in on a house and bringing up all the data related to it. You'll have access to information about property taxes, schools, traffic, weather, crime rates, economic statistics for neighborhood, etc.

The more data available to the digital Earth, the more accurate it'll be. Digital earths will enable citizens to make informed decisions about climate change, pollution, endangered species, and other complex issues. 

But, we always have to watch for the dark side of technology. Mark says privacy needs to be safeguarded. The tools we use to monitor the planet can easily be used to monitor each other.

Dave Meyer has been anchoring KNKX news shows since 1987. He grew up along the shores of Hood Canal near Belfair and graduated from Washington State University with degrees in communications and psychology.
Mark Anderson is the CEO of the Strategic News Service® (SNS), www.stratnews.com. SNS was the first subscription-based newsletter on the Internet, and is read by Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Mark Hurd, and industry leaders and investors in computing and communications worldwide. Mark is the founding chair of the Future in Review® (FiRe) Conference, which the Economist has labeled “the best technology conference in the world,” as well as of SNS Project Inkwell, the first global consortium to address technology design changes for one-to-one computing in classrooms. He is the founder of two software companies, a hedge fund, and the Washington Technology Industry Association “Fast Pitch” investment forum, Washington’s premier technology investment conference.