I was rather surprised tonight to see Nine News using Google Earth  to provide a map. I suppose there is nothing wrong with it as they would be paying royalties etc, but it certainly makes a change from the usual in-house maps that news bulletins tend to use.
The story was about a yacht which has gone missing  somewhere in the Pacific Ocean with four Australians on board.
The Google Earth image started with an overview of Australia, and then rotated to show New Zealand roughly in the bottom centre of the frame. Nine then superimposed their own location labels and an oval shaped blur with Missing Yacht”scrawled across it. Apart from the Google logo and the map copyright message, there were no Google Earth symbols or labels in sight.
When it comes down to it, this is a very efficient way of producing custom maps for broadcast as it will even produce the “pan from broadcast location” effect for you, which makes it much easier to put the location in perspective. It would probably be quicker than creating custom maps too, saving valuable production time for items other than graphics.
On the whole I think this is a great idea, and I look forward to seeing more stations adopt the Google Earth imagery.
I do have one unrelated thing to say to Nine News though. Asking for my thoughts on Sydney taxi drivers was a bad idea…I’m sure that there are plenty of good ones, but if I have one more taxi driver in Sydney who refuses to wear a seatbelt or has difficulty understanding basic mathematics (400 is an even number and is higher than 200 so we should keep going and not stop in a panic because you don’t know where you are going) then I will scream.