Sounds bring Google Earth to life


From the beeb:

As well as homing in on visual feasts around the globe, users of Google Earth may soon be able to listen to the sounds that accompany them.

A Californian company has created software that can layer relevant recorded sounds over locations in Google Earth, New Scientist reports.

Wild Sanctuary has over 3,500 hours of soundscapes from all over the world.

The firm is in talks with Google, although no official agreement has yet been made.

Its director, Bernie Krause said: “A picture tells a thousand words, but a sound tells a thousand pictures.”

Dr Krause has spent the last 40 years collecting sounds, and his recordings include more than 15,000 animal noises, and sounds from a huge array of habitats, including cities, deserts, mountains and the marine environment.

It is the largest library in existence of natural sound, he said.

He said the idea would be to zoom-in on a particular area and then have the option to listen to the accompanying sound.

“It could be a real beneficial add-on,” he said.

The software is to be presented at the Where 2.0 conference in San Jose, California on 29 May.

Mr Krause said up to two dozen sounds would be show-cased at first, but many more would be added later.

If the project is successful, he would also like to use Google Earth show how sounds change with time.

He said: “People will be able to get a sense of before and after.

“For example, people are talking about how selective logging is an appropriate way of not harming the environment.

“But we have evidence that from the sound perspective, selective logging has a profound effect on the natural world. The pictures of before and after look exactly the same, but the sound is completely different.”

3 Responses to “Sounds bring Google Earth to life”

  1. Steve Says:

    Joe, I had just logged in to post this entry myself and found that somehow I had already done it! A convergence of thinking there. This is an interesting new dimension and I look forward to hearing the results. Also fits in with possibilities for introducing sounds/soundscapes into virtual worlds – this is being explored for reconstructions of neolithic dwellings in Second Life.

  2. chimeraspider Says:

    I might try to go to the San Jose “unveiling” on 29 May. I wonder how they will collect the sounds for each place? It’s not as if there are satellite recordings world-wide. The danger would be that they slot in generic “sounds of the region” which would be very bad. Maybe you’ll be able to upload sounds from specific sites (like Flickr photos) that they would then incorporate into the maps. So your sounds from Catal, Steve, could be uploaded…. the mind boggles

  3. Steve Says:

    Check out the Wild Sanctuary website:

    It has the Google Earth link on the home page

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