Prompted by some of my last post, which dealt a bit with Google Earth, I was catching up on the Google Earth Blog. A lot of the space prizes I post on here deal with space access, smallsats and other small space systems, and brand new types of space infrastructure (power beaming, etc). These are all important trends that need to be pushed ahead to open up space. However, one of the areas I find the most interesting is space applications where the ground portion is accessible to almost everyone. This includes areas like astronomy, GPS where the government satellite signals are usable on the ground for numerous applications, and applications that use satellite data that everyone with an Internet connection can manipulate with applications like GIS, image processing, science visualization or data analysis tools, or whatever tools are appropriate. Google Earth is such an application.
I saw a couple contests on the GE Blog that as far as I'm concerned are space contests just as much as any of the others. They might not necessarily involve lots of engineering, depending on the contestants' frame of mind, but they can help get non-space people 1 step closer to an interest in space:
The Chemical Brothers launch Google Earth video project - NME News - The Chemical Brothers have a themed music video/photo contest for an upcoming music video. The imagery is to be spatially tagged to the location where it was taken using Google Earth. It sounds like some of it will be put in their video, and all of it will be put in a Google Earth layer.
Panoramio is an application, now part of Google, that lets you add images to Google Earth layers. Every month they've been having a contest to select the best photos that have been uploaded to Google Earth in several categories (scenery, heritage, travel, and unusual locations). Here are the March, April, and May winners. Check them out, and see where they are in Google Earth or Google Maps. Also see the Panoramio Blog.