BURLINGAME, Calif.--At Where 2.0, Poly9 CEO Greg Sadetsky took the stage to pitch his Flash-based Google Earth competitor, Free Earth. Unlike other 3D mapping apps from Google and Microsoft, it does not require any client-side downloads (assuming the user's computer already has a Flash plug-in).
That means it's mashable into other sites, and embeddable in other pages. It is, for example, the mapping display engine underneath the Twittervision Globe, and can be used to create clever globe widgets like the 3D Flickr Globe, that are embeddable anywhere.
At Where 2.0, to further the message, the company announced a new public safety app, GeoAlert. Created in partnership with Cell Bridge Communications, it's for the people who monitor the safety of dangerous public infrastructure, like oil refineries. If there's a safety issue, a plant worker can click on the location of it, and then the app will look up real-time weather and wind data to identify the houses in the most-affected area, and call them first.
For GeoAlert, the Free Earth capability is arguably eye candy, although if made available not just to safety offices but to the public, it could save even more lives, by showing people the extent of a local hazard.
While I would not be surprised to see an embeddable version of Google Earth at some point, there are several other companies here at Where 2.0 that have alternative mapping technologies. Google is not the only place to go if you want to embed a map in your site.