[Taxacom] google and nasa pair up for virtual space exploration

Donat Agosti agosti at amnh.org
Tue Dec 19 08:07:08 CST 2006

In the current issue of the scientist, David Shiga reports the teaming up of
Google and Nasa to allow virtual space exploration.




"As we go back to the Moon, as we go on to Mars, as we go to near-Earth
asteroids, we want every person not only in America but throughout the world
to be able to travel with us and to feel the excitement of what it feels
like to be on a new planet," says S. Pete Worden, director of NASA's Ames
Research Center in Moffett Field, California, US.


Already, Google Earth program has changed how we look at planet Earth.


We taxonomists should team up and launch the Virtual Living Planet Explorer
allowing everybody not only to marvel at our huge body of discoveries of the
world species, but to follow us in exploring and discovering our planets
species diversity.


Our taxonomic publications are the ideal starting point. We need to
introduce a standard that we all make all our publications - and our legacy
literature as well - open access, provide links to the original data, and we
are set. At that point, Google, GBIF or another innovative enterprise would
- I am sure - spend its resources to work with our community to provide the
links to the WWW community.


Incomplete access to our data - eg- the biodiversity heritage library
omitting all the recent copyrighted work, such as Zootaxa's copyrighted
extensive production - is not an adequate solution. As Google Earth'
strength is its coverage of the entire planet Earth, we need to provide the
same. In a time, where we all ought to spend our energy to save planet
Earth, anything else is unacceptable, keeping taxonomy in the dark ages, und
an unnecessary impediment for conservation. 






Dr. Donat Agosti

Science Consultant

Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History and Naturmuseum der
Burgergemeinde Bern

Email: agosti at amnh.org

Web:  <http://antbase.org/> http://antbase.org

Blog:  <http://biodivcontext.blogspot.com/>

Skype: agostileu

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