The Walt Disney Company: Google Earth brings grass-roots projects to life

The US entertainment giant uses a customised interactive Google Earth map to present information about projects supported by its global conservation fund.

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The Feature

A panel on the Environment landing page of The Walt Disney Company’s corporate website houses a link titled ‘View the DCF Google Earth Map’.

On click the link leads to a Google Earth map of the world, covered with flag icons – each indicating a project supported by the Disney Conservation Fund. A left column contains a search box and extensive set of filters under five headings: ‘Animals’, ‘Species’, ‘Organization’, ‘Years Funded’ and ‘Project Type’.

Selecting one or more filters changes the number and position of icons on the map. Projects related to a specific animal or species are indicated by illustrative animal icons on the map.

On click of an icon, a large panel expands into view in the left column, containing images and text illustrating and explaining the project in questions – as well as related links to websites and social media feeds/pages containing more details. Each panel also contains an email address for users who want to contact Disney’s conservation funding department.

Users can switch between the default ‘map’ view and ‘satellite’ view the world, as well as zoom in and out using Google Earth’s standard navigation tools. 

The Takeaway

Disney’s use of Google Earth effectively conveys the global breadth and depth of its conservation funding. It also provides visitors – from consumers, via jobseekers, to CSR professionals and conservationists - with an informative and engaging research tool.

But there are two weaknesses. First, the link to the Google Earth tool from Disney’s corporate website opens on click in the same browser window, which is disorientating. Second, the tool lacks introductory information about what it is and how to use it, which means that some first-time visitors may not stay on it long enough to discover the rich information within it. 

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