Google Earth Applications in a Community Information System:
Scio Residents for Safe Water
Roger Rayle
Scio Residents for Safe Water,

Water quality issues often are not uppermost in the minds of homeowners or decision-makers.  The water is there and we tend to take for granted that it is clean, safe, and plentiful.  Community groups can work to heighten awareness of these issues.  New visualization technology is very helpful in capturing attention from groups that might otherwise remain complacent.  The linked website illustrates ongoing work in this arena.  The link is to a live site so that readers might return and see the latest.  In terms of long-range persistence, however, the work is also captured in a zipped file and archived in Deep Blue with a persistent url.  The persistent url will continue to be available and will contain this explanation.  Read the material below the screen shots to learn  some of the technical detail and application orientation of this author.

Link to live url:

Link to persistent url for all of Solstice:
Static screen shots from Google Earth:

Roger Rayle really likes Google Earth.  Before Google Earth came along, he spent tens of hours every few months creating two-dimensional depictions of new well sampling data for a local groundwater cleanup which he has been monitoring as a citizen volunteer for over fourteen years. 

Now with the basic version of Google Earth, in a couple of hours, he can generate a quarterly updated, four-dimensional plot showing the location of over 16,000 pollution samples taken since 1986.  A bar whose height represents the concentration of the contaminant is shown at the exact X-Y longitude/latitude for each sample location with the fourth dimension being date sampled.  The result viewed on Google Earth gives a clear indication of which ways the contamination plumes are moving, how fast, and at what concentrations.

Roger developed his technique to plot large datasets to Google earth beginning in April 2007.  Working from an initial KML sample file provided by Dr. Sandra Arlinghaus, he first constructed a template with the desired colors, line weights, and icons for the categories of data to be plotted.  Then he used a simple mail/merge process to generate the placemark KML code from the placemarks section of the sample template.  Finally, he copied and pasted the result into the original template, replacing the sample placemarks, and opening the result in Google Earth.  He happened to use Word and Excel for the mail/merge and Notepad++ for editing the KML template and final code, but other such programs should work just as well.

Besides showing the data points as bar graphs, Roger has tweaked his templates to show the sample name and date when one mouses over each placemark and to show a pop-up box of associated well data when one clicks on a sample placemark.

The sample data is just one level in a comprehensive mashup that also includes

This periodically updated mashup is used as a presentation tool for public meetings and as a decision support tool at technical meetings where the state, local government, and citizen representatives review cleanup proposals and make recommendations.

Roger helps others use Google Earth as a platform to display large datasets in 4-D.  He considers it an outstanding free tool to allow community stakeholders to present multifaceted views of reality in a concise, unified format that can effectively influence decision makers.

Solstice:  An Electronic Journal of Geography and Mathematics
Volume XIX, Number 1
Institute of Mathematical Geography (IMaGe).
All rights reserved worldwide, by IMaGe and by the authors.
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