The non-profit EnviroLink Network has just launched a cool build that puts geolocated Google Earth-type feeds onto a replica globe in the virtual world of Second Life. Josh Knauer of the EnviroLink blog just sent over the news, and I couldn’t resist blogging it on the spot. The »GeoGlobe in SL« captures KML, GeoRSS and RSS feeds and displays them as miniature SL primitives at the correct location. Zoom in on a prim and you can read the headline and click through to the Web page it’s associated with.
As Josh puts it, “We undertook this project to experiment with how “real world” data can be visualized effectively within the immersive environment that is SL. Far too often, designers/builders in SL rely on old user interaction paradigms for displaying information. We wanted to push the boundaries a bit for how users can interact with feeds of data available on the web by bringing them into SL in the context of a Google Earth-like experience.”
Very cool. The GeoGlobe currently captures feeds from the USGS (seismic data in kml format) and CNN, BBC and India Times. Check it out. Kind of reminds me of a 3D version of the Twingly screensaver, but with fewer feeds. It would be great to see an implementation of this that let anyone set up their own GeoGlobe, using their own CPU cycles, and load it with the feeds of their choice. In any case, I love that EnviroLink is using the virtual world to create a mirror world. Nice stuff.