Scientists Using Google Earth

This is one of the coolest stories I have seen.

However, while scrolling around on Google Earth, an internet map that allows the viewer to look at satellite images of anywhere on the globe, scientists discovered an unexpected patch of green.

A British-led expedition was sent to see what was on the ground and found 7,000 hectares of forest, rich in biodiversity, known as Mount Mabu.

In just three weeks, scientists led by a team from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew found hundreds of different plant species, birds, butterflies, monkeys and a new species of giant snake.

The samples which the team took are now back in Britain for analysis.

So far three new butterflies and one new species of snake have been discovered but it is believed there are at least two more new species of plants and perhaps more new insects to discover.

Julian Bayliss, a scientist for Kew based in the region, discovered Mount Mabu while searching on Google Earth for a possible conservation project. He was looking at areas of land 5,400ft (1,600m) above sea level where more rainfall means there is likely to be forest.

To his surprise he found the patches of green that denote wooded areas, in places that had not previously been explored. After taking a closer look on more detailed satellite maps, he went to have a look.

I just love the fact that scientists can sit in the labs and search the globe for unexplored areas using Google Earth. The really cool thing about this is that, given that the scientist is using Google Earth, that means that anyone else can do the same thing. This exploration is not limited to the few people who can afford expensive equipment. Instead, it is available to everyone with access to the Internet.

Google Maps in the Courtroom

I was in court this morning waiting for my case to be called. The judge was hearing a short argument over how much access and expert needed to a private home to render his opinion. To demonstrate the situation, one of the attorneys had brought in some pictures of the houses at issue.

While the attorneys were arguing, the judge asked for the address of the property at issue and then pulled that up on Google Maps. She asked the attorneys if the map accurately depicted the homes at issue, both attorneys agreed that it did.

From my perspective, the great aspects of this situation are that the judge actually had a computer on the bench that was connected to the internet and that she was not afraid to use it to resolve the discovery dispute between the parties.

Had she pulled this up during a trial and used it to issue her ruling, there would likely be some evidentirary issues. Here, however, this was a discovery dispute that she was able to resolve more efficiently because she was better able to accurately picture the property in question.