Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

Stefan Vogel
Stefan Vogel

To obtain a print-quality JPEG of this photo, contact the Office of Public Affairs at (815) 753-1681 or e-mail

News Release

Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-3635

February 6, 2009

NIU geologists contribute
to latest version of Google Earth

DeKalb, Ill. — Northern Illinois University geologists who have worked extensively in the Antarctic are among the contributors to the newest version of Google Earth, which enables users to dive beneath the surface of the sea and explore the world’s oceans.

NIU Research Associate Stefan Vogel supplied photos, video and scientific text for the ocean feature in the new version of Google Earth.

Google Earth is a free downloadable application that combines satellite imagery, maps and the power of Google Search to put the world's geographic information at users’ fingertips. Users can point and zoom to any place on the planet to view satellite images and local points of interest. Now they can dive into the ocean as well.

Vogel worked with Google over the course of the past year. He was among the NIU participants in the international Antarctic Geological Drilling (ANDRILL) Program, which over two drilling seasons retrieved long cores of sedimentary rocks from below the bed of the Ross Sea. Those cores are helping scientists unravel the past climate record in the Antarctic.

Vogel provided Google with scientific information on Antarctic ice sheet stability. He also supplied informational graphics and photos of the ANDRILL drill rig, scientific equipment and Antarctic landscapes, along with NIU Professor Ross Powell’s underwater video footage at the base of a glacier from the ice sheet as it was coming into the sea and sitting on the sea floor, captured with a robotic submarine.

“I incorporated material from both Professors Ross Powell and Reed Scherer in our Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences,” Vogel said.

“Our contributions show scientific activities, illustrate the logistical effort behind the ANDRILL project, provide research examples and give an overview of ice sheet dynamics and the interaction between the ice, ocean and global environment.”

Vogel attended the launch of the new version of Google Earth on Feb. 2, at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

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