Bumps along the road
- By Brian Robinson
- Jul 17, 2000
Experts say the government must overcome several technological challenges
before Digital Earth takes shape:
* Computational science: New methods will be needed to handle the
modeling and simulation of geospatial data if Digital Earth is to provide
* Mass storage: NASA's "Mission to Planet Earth" will churn out more
than a terabyte of data each day, and Digital Earth will need to handle
many times that amount.
* Satellite imagery: The administration has licensed commercial satellites
that provide 1 meter resolution imagery; even finer resolutions may come
in the future.
* Broadband networks: The good news is that 10 gigabits/sec networking — the level needed to deliver Digital Earth to the public — is being developed.
The bad news is that it might not be available to home users for a long
* Metadata: The Federal Geographic Data Committee is working with
industry and state and local governments to develop standards for the "data
about data" needed to make georeferenced data useful.
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.