Google Celebrates Australia Day With An Aerial Maps Mashup

I2m_google_australiadaymashup For those that haven’t been keeping up on their Aussie daily news ticker, today is Australia Day – and to celebrate, Google has launched an innovative campaign where they have been photographing Sydney Harbor from the skies through the course of the day and posting images on a mashup site for anyone to see.  The site tells people about the times when they might see the Google branded plane flying overhead (it has permission to fly low to capture high-res images) and asks them to create formations or hold up signs that may be seen from the plane.  Forget bringing tiny signs to football games, now you can get onto a mashup to be seen around the world.  It’s a fun campaign idea and is already getting some significant buzz in Sydney as people get ready for the plane in all sorts of ways.  The article even points to a group from the Nature Conservation Council in Bondi Beach that gathered over 50 people to make a human sign reading "Vote Climate."  How about this for the next evolution in social marketing?  Maybe the next time there is a five car pileup on a major US highway – you will see a group gather to create a human sign to target all the news "vulture-copters" that descend on the scene to provide 24-7 aerial coverage.  Their message?  "Drive Better."  If only someone was dedicated to that cause …

Update (01/29/07): As it turns out, the execution of this event may not have been exactly what Google was hoping for as they were forced to alter the routing of the plane from air traffic control and were forced to leave some people disappointed.  David Utter has a good summary of the story over at WebProNews.