Google Earth: Impact Structures

I’ve spent the better part of my sunday examining the network link feature of Google Earth. For those who don’t know. You can share your placemarks. And you can do it in a way, in case of an update, that everyone ‘subscribed’ will be automatically updated.

Google Earth Beta

Network links give you the power to serve content from a remote location. Network Links are commonly used to distribute data to large numbers of users. In this way, if the data needs to be amended, it has to be changed only at the source location, and all users receive the updated data automatically.

That content can range from showing friends all the places you’ve stayed in Thailand, businesses showing their retail outlets, teachers showing their students interesting geological features, etc. I’ve already seen ‘Etappes de Tour de France‘ complete with route description, km untill finish, altitudes, Flickr images, etc.
And the best part, everyone can do that. Just build your own collection of placemarks. Save them as KML and send them through e-mail or whatever seems right for you.

Back to the ‘network link’ feature.

Manicouagan Impact Crater 2 weeks ago I found this ‘Earth Impact Structures Database‘ from the ‘Planetary and Space Science Center‘ from the ‘University of New Brunswick‘. Database being a an overstatement, it’s just a table with the 172 confirmed impact structures on earth including their geo-location. That includes the Chicxulub crater off the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico. You know, the one that (supposedly) killed off the dinosaurs. It just begged to be translated to KML. My first idea was: convert to XML, combine with an XSLT, put it on this server and while I was tweaking the data, adding stuff, everyone would be updated. But being a noob to PHP, and Excel and/or Access sucking at exporting clean XML, I resorted back to SQL Server and ‘Classic’ ASP. So for the time being it’s local only.

So what do I have? A working overview of ‘all’ confirmed impact structures on earth. Some 250km (~155 mile) wide!!! (Chicxulub is only 170km ~106 mile wide) Complete with a description, link to Wikipedia and size indicator (visual). Next up, conversion to PHP/MySQL. And if it’s fool proof I’ll share. 🙂 (I’ve seen some interesting things already)

In the mean time see the craters section of GoogleEarthHacks.com. Just need some time to convert to PHP.

Update: The first experiment: Impact Structures Top 10 is live.

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