How Google Earth Ate Our Town from Time Magazine highlights Nanaimo, a British Columbia town on Vancouver Island, also known as “Google Earth Town” or “the capital of Google Earth.”
Nanaimo has been plotting virtually all of their town’s data directly on Google Maps and Google Earth. From real-time firefighter calls on Google Maps to a wide array of Google Earth KLMs available at http://earth.nanaimo.ca/, there is no doubt in my mind why Nanaimo is dubbed the “Google Earth Town.”
The Google Earth KMLs contain Nanaimo spatial information, downtown details of buildings, and mapped Nanaimo businesses. Other data includes buildings, property lines, utilities, streets, building permit number, zoning history, garbage collection schedule, 3D renderings, and much more. Michael Jones, Google Earth’s chief technology officer, said “with Nanaimo, they have mapped nearly every conceivable thing using Google Earth and Google Maps,” adding, “their citizens have more information about their city than the people of San Francisco.”
But why are they doing all of this? Per Kristensen, Nanaimo’s chief technology officer, said it’s to attract tourism:
Nanaimo is betting that embracing Google, the ubiquitous search engine that has become the starting point for most internet searches, will be good for tourism. The real benefit is on the economic development and economic activity side. The more information people have, the more they see about Nanaimo.
The Google Earth Blog also has some good information on this story.