Google Celebrates Geography Awareness Week with New Innovations for Google Earth

New Featured Content Pays Tribute to Africa and Introduces Users to Historical Maps from the David Rumsey Map Collection

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Nov. 13, 2006 – In celebration of Geography Awareness Week, Google Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) today released new Featured Content for Google Earth that connects users to information about the history of the world through one of the largest private map collections in the US. Map overlays from the David Rumsey collection, which integrate historic cartographic masterpieces dating as far back as the 17th century, have been brought to life for the first time using advanced digitization techniques and innovative software tools in Google Earth. Also available with this release in partnership with National Geographic is an interactive geography quiz that enables users to test their knowledge of this year’s Geography Awareness Week focus region of Africa.

“We are excited to partner with National Geographic to celebrate and encourage the study of geography with Google Earth,” said John Hanke, director of Google Earth and Maps. “Our work with David Rumsey to bring some of the finest privately held historical maps to users worldwide further demonstrates how Google Earth can serve as a dynamic tool for geographic discovery.”

“National Geographic has been exploring and inspiring people to care about the planet for more than a century,” said Terry Garcia, National Geographic’s Executive Vice President for Mission Programs. “Today, anyone hooked into the Web can explore any place on Earth at the click of a mouse. Caring begins with seeing, and there’s no better way to see a place than to be there. So we know new geographic tools such as Google Earth and the National Geographic-ESRI MapMachine mean better stewardship of our world’s extraordinary places, animals, and cultures.”

“I am thrilled to be able to share maps from my collection with users worldwide in Google Earth,” said David Rumsey. “As a longtime maps enthusiast, it is wonderful to see the cutting edge technology of Google Earth introduce people to the geographic history of our world in a new and innovative way. The cartographers who made these historical maps hundreds of years ago would be amazed and pleased to see their treasures in Google Earth.”

More details about this release:

  • David Rumsey Historical Maps – Dating from 1680 to 1892, 16 historical maps representative of various regions around the world are available for navigation in Google Earth, including Cassini’s Globe of 1790, a map of Africa from 1787, and a 1710 Japanese-Chinese map of Asia. When overlaid with other data layers in Google Earth, these historical maps show in vivid detail how places have evolved over time and how people’s perception of geography has changed.

  • National Geographic Quiz on Africa – An interactive educational quiz on Africa tests users knowledge of this year’s Geography Awareness focus region as an overlay within Google Earth.

  • Tracks 4 Africa – This overlay incorporates community-generated data about Africa from Tracks4Africa, an eco-travel community of users who have collected data on roads, trails, track data, lakes, rivers, and tourist points of interest.

  • Spotlight on Africa – Featuring flags and information about the 53 sovereign nations of Africa, this overlay provides additional context for this year’s focus region.

More information about these Featured Content overlays is available at Users can access these new Featured Content layers in the left sidebar of Google Earth.

Designed to promote the study of geography in the U.S. and across the globe, Geography Awareness Week was first organized by the National Geographic Society and was officially recognized as the third week in November by President Ronald Reagan in 1987.

Google Earth combines satellite imagery, maps and the power of Google Search to make the world’s geographic information easily accessible and useful. There have been over 100 million downloads of Google Earth since the product’s launch in June, 2005.

About Google Inc.

Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google’s targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. For more information, visit


Megan Quinn
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