For the last three years I've been friends with the author of the Google Earth Blog, Frank Taylor. Besides being a Google Earth enthusiast, Frank is also quite the thrill-seeker; he didn't hesitate to let me fly his plane while he shot photos of the 2006 X-Prize Cup. However, Frank is about to embark upon a mission requiring even more bravery.

Frank is moving from virtual, to actual globetrotting - he and his wife are embarking on a five-year trip around the world in their sailboat, Tahina. But, Frank isn't leaving his passion for Google Earth on dry land. For the next five years, Frank will share maps of his GPS tracks, videos, 360-degree panoramic photos, aerial photography captured from a kite (see an example here), and more, with regular updates to Google Earth. You'll also be able to follow Frank's progress on his website, and, thanks to his partnership with National Geographic, on their site as well.

Frank has told us that one of the goals of his trip is to raise awareness about issues like climate change, pollution, coral reef disease, and the need to create more marine protection areas. We're excited to help him share his amazing trip with the world.

Frank, we wish you bon voyage and bonne chance, especially battling the sea, weather, boredom, pirates, and those sea monsters depicted on old maps.

Robin Ziegler, Community Development, Google Earth