I love the ways that Google Earth allows you to explore and interact with highly engaging visual data. So, when I came across kmlfactbook I nearly flipped! kmlfactbook allows users to tap into the data contained in the CIA World Factbook and the World Resources Institues EarthTrends. Registered users can also upload their own data sets to kmlfactbook.
Users can access the following data sets from every country contained in the CIA World Factbook through kmlfactbook:
The data from WRI EarthTrends includes:
- Climate and atmosphere
- Forests, grasslands, and drylands
- Population, health, and human well-being
- Energy and resources
- Economics, business, and the environment
- Agriculture and food
- Biodiversity and protected areas
- Water resources and freshwater ecosystems
- Environmental governance and institutions
The data can be viewed through the web browser in preview mode or can be downloaded as a KML file for use in Google Earth.
The applications for kmlfactbook are nearly limitless. The colorful and interactive interface make it perfect content for your interactive whiteboards, tablets, and LCD projectors. Importing the KML files into Google Earth adds additional functionality and allows students to use the data to build their own Google Earth tours and data sets and allows users to layer additional data to create hypotheses and generalizations. The ability to readily access data from all geographic areas instantly allows students to compare and contrast with ease. Downloading the KML files and opening them in Google Earth allows students to create their own thematic maps. (Not sure what a thematic map entails? Check out this great Google Earth resource on Thematic Maps.)
Here is a listing of some of the additional Google Earth layers that are terrific classroom content.
Don’t forget that if you are a Discovery Education subscriber you can enhance your Google Earth placemarks with DE media.
To learn more about Google Earth, access training and tutorials, and explore educational applications, visit my Google Earth training site. You can also download my presentation, Roundtrip Tickets to Anywhere: Discovery Education and Google Earth.