Yesterday Google announced the winners of their KML in Research contest via the Google LatLong blog. Ionut Iordache, of the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM) at UC Berkeley was awarded for his very nice NCALM Data Distribution Center KML file that allows integrated access to tiled LIDAR DEMs as well as hillshade overlays in Google Earth. Google Earth provides an excellent platform to visualize and then download LIDAR-derived topography and the NCALM DDC KML is an nice example of how a lot of functionality can be bundled into a small, easily-downloadable, KML. The Google Earth files available via OpenTopography.org offer similar capabilities as the NCALM DDC file, but for a variety of reasons we have chosen not to integrate them into a single download like the file produced by Ionut.
A full list of winners in the KML in Research contest can be found here. Congratulations to Ionut and NCALM!