Brian Flood was kind enough to give me a sneak peak at his latest Arc2Earth extension for ArcGIS that takes advantage of Google Earth’s new time-based KML tags. The Arc2Earth implementation of time is pretty slick and you can wait for Brian to post about it as he’s a better showman than I am. (**Update – **Brian has blogged about the release) Anyway I was able to take some GPS sitings of some threatened and endangered species such as the Coastal California gnatcatcher, Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, Least Bell’s Vireo and Arroyo Southwestern Toad data from the coastal areas of San Diego County and animate it right inside Google Earth using the new time controls. We’ve been using ArcReader and Adobe Acrobat in the past because it was the simplest way to get the data to the biologists, but now using Google Earth, the biologists can view the changes in the distribution of species very simply. I took some thinking on how to best organize it for Google Earth, but once I figured that out, it was smooth sailing.
This all brings up something important to ESRI ArcGIS users at 9.2 that I’ve been meaning to post about. Tim Whiteaker over at the University of Texas at Austin has a great walk-though on how to use netCDF with ArcGIS 9.2 including sample data. There are so many ways time animation can add value to your analysis and this fall the tools to accomplish this task are becoming much easier to use.