Space, the final frontier?

Jamais had another good catch today...
If you have not played with Google Earth yet, it's a fun enough toy.  However, this piece at Nature on the progression of H5N1 Avian Flu in Asia into Europe is really interesting: (link)

here's a link to a geographic plot (called a 'mashup') of the progression over time, which can be found here (a google earth data file): (link)

All of this is referenced by Jamais at WorldChanging here: (link)

Here's a link that details how the file was built: (link)

I don't know how many of you have any experience with GIS/spatial regression and such, but these tools are very powerful if we have the data.  

Of course, this all leads me to start thinking of peak oil about thinking outside the, er, box...

Lots of ways this technology can be used in terms of plotting resources over time, locations as well as use: oil and other none renewable as well as bio resources...and of course global warming, hurricanes, thermohaline patterns ...even moving back into geologic time.  

Population growth would work would economic realities. For those interested in the housing bubble over time, hmmmmmm.   Makes one think, doesn't it.  Or even global shifts in manufacturing centers over time.  Nothing like seeing the world as a single ball.

I envision a number of databases, each of which can be overlaid with another. Imagine being able to see food production and population growth...or bio depletion together with land despoilment...all on one little marble.  

Ultimately, as more and more databases are added and updated, we could actually see the major patterns evolving.  No need to constantly recreate them.  Like Wikepedia, the data could be upgraded as we learn more and more.

Ultimately, the user would be able to combine any set of databases that interests him...and see their developments through time.

Now we are really looking at how to use the new technology.

Having had 5 Years in the GIS and Digital Mapping field its all great and fine if the Data sets are good.

Sorry I was in the Hospital for a Blood Clot that blocked both lungs, Gone for the turn of the new year, so sad not to see all those nice threads on coal and US production.

But modeling all those neat things depends greatly on the Data you have.  We have pretty good data on the Gulf coast, but every season we have to update it.  Nothing is as it seems until you get the right data for it, then it changes faster than you can plot it out into a new map.

This map from BBC also show nicely how the H5N1 strain has spread around the east and is moving towards Europe. Did you know that the spanish flu killed between 50 and 100 million people (6% of the total world population) in the early 1900's? And that the H5N1 virus may follow the same path as the virus that caused the spanish flu?
Now, there are many ifs and buts before that road is trod. Though we are due a flu pandemic and things have made its rapid spread and effect inevitable we are MUCH better prepared than before. Here is a site about the 1918 flu in US, I found it more reassuring than otherwise:

Flu pandemics are funny beasts, as is the virus. I know of no pandemic that has spread direct from birds to humans, pigs seeme to be the inevitable intermediary. Here are some links you might wish to follow: E2%2D9CF1%2D437F%2D93BF%2D7F0DF3EE2E30%7D&garden=&minisite= ic.html

In truth, we don't know, and won't if / until it mutates to human-human transmission. Until then then the immediate risk is trivial, from then the risk is potentially immense but soon knowable. You can play your own scenarios if you like, do probability distributions for proportion of population infected and kill rates, see what happens. Though it has a 50% approx human kill rate when caught from birds now that is very likely to reduce greatly if it mutates to human-human transmission. It is very unlikely to provide a partial neat solution to resource depletion.

While out walking the other the day, I got this crazy idea that by using Google earth we could have a good look at Ghawar and see how much drilling is really going on in that part of the woods.

It may at least give us some idea as to how intensive Saudi drilling is.

Any takers?

Google Earth doesn't use anything approaching real-time satellite images. As far as I know, most of the images used are years old.
Taking a quick look at SPOT satellite image prices, it might take about $20,000 to buy current and archival images for several thousand square kilometers of the Middle East. You could compare the images taken at different times to estimate activity.