Renowned Photographer Joins Up With Google Earth

Dennis Faas's picture

Renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand has entered into an arrangement with Google to display his work in the web portal's Google Earth. Close to 500 photographs are included in the free program, as well as on a gadget made for the search company's customizable home page iGoogle. Accompanying the pictures are facts and figures about issues and challenges across the globe. (Source:

Google Earth's innovative and highly popular program uses a layer system which allows users to see separate categories of data, such as roads, terrain, hotels, restaurants, and building information without cluttering the interface. With 'Earth From Above' users can scan the virtual globe for a variety of photographs and receive information specific to that scene.

Recent pictures appearing in the iGoogle gadget, which delivers a daily photo to your desktop, included a picture of a tea field, with information about child labor, and a stunning photograph of the Acropolis with an item about the 851 international sites that are highlighted on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

For the past 15 years Yann Arthus-Bertrand's work has focused on photographs of the Earth taken from the air. "I discovered that aerial photography explained things that you can't see from the ground; it gave another way of viewing the landscape," Bertrand said in a Google Earth promotional video. "These photos now serve to make us think about the impact that we are having on the Earth today." (Source:

'Earth from Above' will be added to regularly with new photographs, facts and figures by Yann Arthus-Bertrand's non-profit organization which is spearheading the initiative. The layer is accessible from the Global Awareness folder in Google Earth, which already contains several layers highlighting environmental and humanitarian issues such as information about Fair Trade, the current crisis in Darfur and the Jane Goodall Institute's Gombe Chimpanzee blog. hopes to use Google Earth to deliver its message of environmental sustainability by highlighting the beauty of the planet and the issues impacting the globe. "It's clear that if we continue living like this," Arthus-Bertrand said. "the Earth won't be able to support won't work."

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