Entrepreneurial Vision (co-winner)

Brian McClendon
Google Earth
USA

Google Earth has become a powerful tool to show the scale of problems and illustrate solutions, which has encouraged a shift in public policy, funding for projects, and even in people’s fundamental understanding of the world. The software has proven to be an effective tool for monitoring the state of the environment, for example illustrating the scale of deforestation or the planet’s massive potential for renewable energy.

Google Earth Engine brings together the world's satellite imagery — trillions of scientific measurements dating back almost 40 years — and makes it available online with tools for scientists, independent researchers, and nations to mine this massive warehouse of data to detect changes, map trends and quantify differences on the Earth's surface. Applications include: detecting deforestation, classifying land cover, estimating forest biomass and carbon, and mapping the world’s road-free areas.

Google Earth was used to help the rescue workers who saved more than 4,000 people after Hurricane Katrina. In Australia, a scientist used Google Earth to discover a previously unknown fringing coral reef in a region marked for an oil and natural gas push.

Through Google Earth Outreach, an engagement initiative with non-profit organizations, Dreaming New Mexico used Google Earth to create a future vision of New Mexico in 2020 should it switch from fossil fuels to the renewable energy abundantly available within the state, enabling policy makers to visualize the possibilities of a greener energy future. A Brazilian indigenous tribe, the “Surui”, has been able to use Google Earth to prevent the deforestation and ruin of their area, and to preserve their culture and history

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