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Respected information providers like National Geographic and Google community members like your Aunt Betty can supply additional “layers” of data that are tied to particular geographical locations. That information is also stored on servers at Google and elsewhere on the Internet. The list of all available layers appears at the lower left of the Google Earth application window; checking a box makes the application ask the servers for all the layer data for the geographical area that’s on the screen and superimpose the data on the landscape.

An annotated Google Maps satellite view can be embedded in any Web page. A developer just has to get a certain small piece of ­JavaScript and enter the coördinates of the location to be displayed, along with any annotations. When a browser visits the page, it downloads this information. The ­JavaScript directs the browser to contact Google’s server, send the coördinates, and download sections of the map.

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