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The amazing things about Google Earth
Mis à jour : il y a 2 heures 45 min

Satellite launch in satellite imagery

il y a 7 heures 25 min

A couple of weeks ago, satellite imaging company Planet launched a flock of 48 ‘Doves’, their low cost imaging satellites. They managed to capture imagery of the launch from one of the Doves already in orbit:

Read more about it on the Planet blog.

As far as we know, this is a satellite imaging first. The key to the achievement was already having a large number of satellites in orbit which enabled them to task a suitable satellite to capture the launch. Even so, they had to tilt it in order to get the shots.

Google Earth features many planes in flight in its imagery. Simply look through historical imagery near any busy airport and you will likely find several. So why is it so hard to capture satellite launches? Put simply, because they are so rare and very fast (the above YouTube video is just 11 seconds long). The chances of a satellite being overhead and capturing an image at just the right time are close to zero unless it is planned in advance as was the case with the Dove satellite.

If you are interested in launch statistics, the website Spaceflight Now has a launch schedule which shows planned launches and we found Gunter’s Space Page which summarizes and categorizes launches. It is possible that there are also classified launches not listed on the above sites.

Satellite launches are unlikely to ever be captured in aerial imagery as aircraft will be excluded from the launch area during launches for safety reasons. Video of launches captured by drones is becoming quite common, but this is not the sort of imagery that is suitable for Google Earth.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Google Earth Imagery Update: Volcanic Island in Alaska and Fire in Russia

mar 25-07-2017

Google has recently added some fresh imagery to Google Earth. It is currently only visible in the default layer, so there will be more to see once Google updates the ‘historical imagery’ layer as well.

Volcanic Island in Alaska
Bogoslof Volcano, located in the Aleutian Islands in the northern Pacific Ocean, erupted in late May. When it was first reported we had a look in Google Earth and there was no imagery at all of the Island. Google has now added a DigitalGlobe image captured in early May before the eruption.


Bogoslof Island, May 11th, 2017.

If we are lucky, we will see images of the eruption once Google updates ‘historical imagery’. DigitalGlobe did capture imagery during and after the eruption and you can see them here. The eruption altered the island quite significantly. According to Wikipedia, Bogoslof Island first appeared in 1796, and changes over time with each eruption and subsequent erosion.

Interestingly, we can see some animals on the beaches, which are probably seals or sea lions (Wikipedia lists both as breeding on the island). They can be seen in all the DigitalGlobe imagery and didn’t even leave during the eruption.


Animals on the beaches of Bogoslof Island, probably seals or sea lions.

Fires in Russia
In late May, there were several fires in the Krasnoyarsk Krai region in Russia, destroying 80 houses. Google has added some imagery relating to the event, but unfortunately it only covers one of the fires. We were able to find a burnt out building at a timber processing facility where one of the fires is believed to have started. It would appear this particular fire did not spread to the nearby town.


Burnt building at timber facility near Gorodishche, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia.

Another fire destroyed 30 houses in Strelka, which is just south of the new imagery. You can see an aerial photo of the damage in Strelka here.

To find the locations above in Google Earth, download this KML file.

The post Google Earth Imagery Update: Volcanic Island in Alaska and Fire in Russia appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Colorising Black and White Historical Aerial Imagery

lun 24-07-2017

We were recently contacted by Zachary Bortolot an Associate Professor in the Geographic Science Program at James Madison University. He has been developing a method of realistically colorising black and white historical aerial images. His method is automated and intelligently transfers colour from recent colour imagery of a location to historical black and white imagery of the same location. His algorithm appears to be able to handle changing landscapes although exact details as to how it does it are not given. Read more about it on his website.

You can also download some sample image overlays to view in Google Earth. Below are just small samples of the images, comparing them with Google Earth imagery. Be sure to download the overlays to explore all the imagery.

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Colorized aerial image, Palm Springs, California, 1972 vs Google Earth image.

Colorized aerial image, Harrisonburg, Virginia, 1974 vs Google Earth image.

Colorized aerial image, Washington, D.C., 1951 vs Google Earth image.

In the case of Washington D.C. Google Earth has an aerial image from 1949 but the colorized image is better quality.

Colorized aerial image, Washington, D.C., 1951 vs Google Earth historical imagery 1949.

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Most countries around the world have large collections of aerial imagery gathered over the years, much of which have never been digitised. It would be great to see more of this imagery in Google Earth and even better if it is colourised.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Google Street View goes to the International Space Station

ven 21-07-2017

Yesterday Google announced on its blog that they have added views of the International Space Station (ISS) to Google Street View. The Google blog post is written by Thomas Pesquet, Astronaut at the European Space Agency (ESA), who spent six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as a flight engineer. The ISS Street View is not currently available in Google Earth, so explore it here.

The ISS is in orbit around the earth and so does not have a specific location so Google has decided to place the Street View in Building 9 – Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The building houses mockups of every major pressurized module on the International Space Station. It is also not far from the Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center. The Mission Control Center is the building from which flight controllers command, monitor, and plan operations for the ISS.

Interestingly, one of the mockup modules has a user contributed photosphere and we couldn’t identify the equivalent module in the new Street View. If any of our readers can tell us which it is, let us know in the comments.

The Google Blog post incorrectly states that this is the first time Street View imagery has been captured beyond planet Earth. In fact, both the Moon and Mars have had Street View for quite some time.

Another interesting comment is that this is the first time that Street View has included annotations. This is such a new feature that it is not yet working on Google’s dedicated Street View site, only in Google Maps. Let’s hope the feature comes to Google Earth too – including the ability to annotate using KML.


Annotations in Street View is a new feature.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Man made ‘Fairy Circles’

jeu 20-07-2017

‘Fairy Circles’ are a phenomena that occurs in the Namib Desert involving circular patches of bare ground forming striking patterns visible in satellite imagery. We have looked at a number of similar phenomenon around the world caused variously by ants, termites and worms. Last month, we had a look at some Fairy Circle-like patterns in the Northern Cape, South Africa, and on reading the post, my sister Clare, alerted us to similar patterns found in northern Zambia.


Fairy Circle-like patterns in northern Zambia.

Closer inspection reveals the clearings are for cultivation:

The reason for the interesting pattern is the method of agriculture being employed in the region. It is locally known as the Chitemene System. The soils of the region are nutrient-poor. Trees are coppiced and the branches brought to a central point and burnt. The ash is then spread over the field, which fertilises the soil, allowing crops to be grown for several years. The pattern is caused by the need for a larger area than the cultivated field to supply the necessary vegetation. Fields are moved after a number of years. In the above image we can see fields of various ages.


In this image we can actually see the burnt areas in the centres of some fields.

Commercial farmers can afford to buy fertiliser so are less restricted. We believe the spottiness in the field below is due to termite activity.

We also came across a vast region that had recently experienced bush fires. We can see what appear to be termite mounds and the path of the fire appears to flow like water across the landscape:

It would appear that in some places, fields have been made around termite mounds. This presumably means the termites make the soil a bit more fertile. Strangely, this seems to be the opposite of what we see in large commercial fields that tend to have bare patches where termite mounds used to be.

For the locations featured above, download this KML file.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Game of Thrones in Street View and Google Earth

mer 19-07-2017

In celebration of the season seven premiere of popular TV series “Game of Thrones”, Google has created a Street View collection of various locations used in the filming of the series.

Although we highly recommend using Google Maps to explore Street View as the Google Maps Street View interface is better than Google Earth’s, it is also worth visiting the locations in Google Earth as it provides a better perspective of the relative locations, as well as featuring 3D imagery in some of the locations. Some locations have the old type of 3D model and some have the new 3D mesh.


Water Gardens of Dorne (Real Alcázar in Seville, Spain)


The Long Bridge of Volantis (A bridge in Córdoba, Spain)

To find the locations in Google Earth, download this KML file.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Homeowner mows ‘A-hole’ message on lawn over a dispute with neighbour

mar 18-07-2017

A recent story in the news about a homeowner in Dungeness, Washington, USA who, as a result of a dispute with a neighbour wrote a giant message saying ‘A hole’ and an arrow pointing at his neighbour.

Find the location in Google Earth with this KML file.

The above image is from August 2016, but it is clear from historical imagery that it was created some time between 2011 and 2013 and maintained since then.

Quite often large messages seen in Google Earth imagery are intended to be seen from the ground or from passing aircraft. Writing messages specifically for Google Earth can be tricky as you never know when your area will next be photographed. If your message is not designed to last, it may never be captured. Here in Cape Town, Google Earth gets multiple images per month, but the imagery is from satellites and relatively low resolution so the writing must be much bigger. In the US, and other regions that get higher resolution aerial imagery, the frequency of updates tends to be much lower – about once every three years for the continental US. Several messages we looked at in 2015 have not yet appeared in Google Earth imagery. This message created by Hyundai was short lived and although the region has been updated since then the message is not visible. Another project consisting of graffiti on a disused runway is probably longer lasting but the region has not yet been updated. We also heard from one of our readers that he has been regularly mowing a message to his daughter in the hopes that it will one day be captured in Google Earth imagery. We keep an eye on the location, but it hasn’t been updated since 2013.

For some other rude messages in Google Earth see this post on phallic symbols.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Planet Launches 48 More Satellites

lun 17-07-2017

On July 14, 2017, satellite imaging company Planet launched another 48 of their small, low resolution, satellites they call ‘Doves’ into orbit. They were launched on a Soyuz rocket together with a number of other satellites. This follows a record launch of 88 Doves back in February. In addition, earlier this year they acquired Google’s Terra Bella and Rapid Eye in 2015. If our count is correct they now have 192 Doves, 5 Rapid Eye satellites and 7 SkySat satellites for a total of 204.

Planet’s large fleet means they have very good coverage, being able to image most parts of the world multiple times per day. However, the small size of the satellites means the resolutions they offer are not as good as some of the other players in the imaging business. See this post for a summary of satellite resolutions. Also keep in mind that Google Earth features aerial imagery in some locations, which is higher resolution than any satellite can provide.

The Terra Bella sale announcement states that Google will purchase imagery from Planet in a multiyear contract. Whether we will see any Planet imagery in Google Earth, however, remains to be seen. It would certainly be nice to see the global mosaic used when zoomed out updated to a higher resolution and clearer image (less cloud and ice cover).

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

The Future of Google Earth Voyager

ven 14-07-2017

Google recently added some new Voyager tours titled ‘I Am Amazon’ featuring various stories from the Amazon. These tours are exclusively for the new browser-based Google Earth and the Android app. Read more about the tours on Google’s blog. This announcement came shortly after Google added Brazilian indigenous territories to their mapping products.

At the announcement event for the ‘I am Amazon’ Google Earth Director Rebecca Moore made an interesting comment to Reuters. She mentioned that Google plans to allow the public to share their stories via the Voyager platform at some point in the future (two to three years). This has led to speculation that it may become ‘the next Great social network’. It is certainly a great idea and we have previously suggested it when Google released the new browser based Google Earth.

So while we wait, what opportunities exist for sharing today?

Since the very early days of Google Earth, there has been the Google Earth Community, a forum where Google Earth enthusiasts share interesting locations and a wealth of information about them. However, the community is not integrated into Google Earth and is independent of Google.

Sharing geolocated photos can be done via Google Maps, and although accessing those photos in Google Earth classic currently doesn’t work, they are visible in the new browser based Google Earth. Panoramio, formerly the most popular way to share panoramic photos via Google Earth, was discontinued earlier this year and the photos will likely be removed from Google Earth this November.

Google Earth used to be partially integrated with Google Maps Gallery, a site where users could easily share maps. However, Google Maps Gallery relied on another Google product, Google Maps Engine, which was discontinued in early 2016, so there is no longer a good public map sharing site linked to Google Earth.

You can, of course, share your Google Earth content via any other platform in the form of KML files, which users can download and view in Google Earth. If you want to create Voyager-like tours for the new Google Earth, then be sure to check out the tour maker by geteach that we had a look at in April. If you want to create dynamic content that changes over time, then look into KML network links.

The post The Future of Google Earth Voyager appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

A Panda Solar Power Plant

jeu 13-07-2017

A recent story in the news is about a solar plant recently completed in China that was designed in the shape of a panda. However, the images initially circulated were all artists concepts and not photos of the actual plant. Eventually Snopes was able to obtain an actual photo of the plant and we decided to try and find it in Google Earth. We knew the solar plant was somewhere in the vicinity of Datong, Shanxi, China, and we found a large number of solar plants in the region, but could not find the panda. Then we found this article that features a screen shot from Google Earth and once we knew what to look for, we found it quite quickly near a solar plant we had already identified.


The panda solar plant as seen in Google Earth in an image dated May 18th, 2017. There are actually two pandas.

As we discovered when looking at floating solar, solar plants are springing up almost everywhere you look, especially in China. The plants we found in the Datong region were all built in the last few years. According to Wikipedia, China is roughly doubling its installed solar power every year. Exponential trends can’t continue forever, but it does make us wonder what the landscape will look like in ten years. It won’t be long before there is stiff competition for land between solar and agriculture – which is one reason why floating solar is becoming a popular solution. From the plants we found, mountain tops and southern facing slopes seem to be the most popular sites at present in the Datong region.


Solar plants around Datong, Shanxi, China.

Some plants like the one below, appear to have been built on dry river beds. This is presumably to avoid competition with agriculture, but it does raise the question of whether or not they will get washed away in the large rain storm.

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Before and After showing how the solar plant is built in a dried out riverbed.

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To find the pandas and other nearby solar plants in Google Earth, download this KML file.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

New Google Earth Desktop Version 7.3

mer 12-07-2017

[UPDATE 19-JULY-2017] Google updated the 7.3 release with a new version 7.3.0.3830 that fixed a problem with the Linux version, and also fixed an HTTP request issue. The “advanced”
manual update release will roll out in a few hours they said. Right now that is still the 7.1 version. Google has said that they temporarily removed the new 7.3 update due to a critical bug found shortly after being launched. I will update this post when the update is once again available and/or more details are released. If you try to go download now, you will get the latest 7.1 release instead. – Frank]

Google has updated the desktop version of Google Earth to 7.3.0.3827. Although there are no added features, it is a fairly significant update, including enhancements to the interface, graphics, internal browser and much more. See the release announcement for the full list of changes.

Google Earth Pro for all
Google is finally dropping the ‘basic’ version of Google Earth and upgrading everyone to Google Earth Pro. The update should be automatic if you have Google Earth or Google Earth Pro already installed and a recent operating system (the minimum requirements have been increased). Google has updated the Google Earth download site to promote the new web version and you must click on ‘older versions’ to find the desktop version.

Graphics
Frank reports that he gets significantly better graphics in the new version due to better graphics settings being enabled by default. The release notes state that antialiasing and anisotropic filtering are now enabled by default and Google Earth also defaults to OpenGL mode (vs DirectX mode which was the previous default on Windows). It appears that the antialiasing option in the settings is only available in OpenGL mode although that might depend on the graphics card. Google also made changes to make it look better on higher res displays like Retina from Mac.

To learn more about antialiasing to how to get similar quality improvements in older versions of Google Earth, see this YouTube video Frank made in 2015.

Internal browser

We ran our browser tests KML file and found that the new version scores 338 on the HTML 5 test site. The previous version scored just 169 and in 2015 Google Earth was scoring 119. The latest version of Chrome scores 518.

One downside of the new browser is tightened security settings. For example, our KMLs for animating Landsat and Sentinel-2 imagery no longer work correctly when run locally. The solution is to run them via a network link – a trick that works even if the KML file is still stored locally.

The biggest news for KML developers is that Google has enabled the DevTools window, which allows you to inspect and debug placemark HTML and JavaScript. Prior to this, it was extremely difficult to develop JavaScript to run in placemarks. To view DevTools, simply right click on an open placemark and select ‘Inspect’.

A Repair Tool
A repair tool has been added that helps resolve common problems. It should show up automatically if you are having trouble opening Google Earth, or can be run manually from within Google Earth: Help->Launch Repair Tool

.

Use the last option with care as it will delete all your saved places.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Using Computer Vision and Street View to Map Urban Change

mar 11-07-2017

Researchers at MIT have been using computer vision to look at Street View and map urban change over time. Read more about it on Maps Mania. The original paper from MIT is here and a map of several US cities with their results is here. Look for white dots on the maps to see ‘before and afters’ of various locations using Street View.

Detroit has seen dramatic change, gradually falling to one third of its maximum population from 1950 to date. Unfortunately, Street View and overhead imagery only cover the most recent changes, but even so, significant changes can be seen.

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Aerial imagery, Highland Park, Detroit, showing houses removed between 2002 and 2016.

Street View of Highland St, Highland Park, Detroit, showing houses decaying between 2009 and 2013. The houses have since been demolished.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Trip View Bowls in New Google Earth

lun 10-07-2017

“Trip View Bowls” are porcelain bowls painted on the inside with a 360 degree landscape of a real world location. They are essentially what you would get if you painted Street View image on the inside of a bowl. Back in 2011 GEB reader Steven Ho, whose work we often cover created a 3D model of a Trip View Bowl and placed it in Google Earth.

Steven has recently updated the concept to work with the new browser based Google Earth and created a tour featuring Trip View Bowls of various locations around Taiwan. Read more about it, and find the KML tour on his blog.

The tour does not appear to work in Google Earth Classic, and makes use of what appears to be an undocumented feature of KML gx:streetViewPanoId in order to show the panoramas from Street View in the new Google Earth. It’s great to see creators starting to experiment with the new Google Earth to see what new features can be exploited.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Google Earth Live?

ven 07-07-2017

We often get asked by GEB readers how to upgrade to the ‘live’ version of Google Earth. Unfortunately, no such version exists and all imagery in Google Earth is dated – and in many places, the latest imagery, both over-head and Street View (where it exists), is several years old. However, it is possible to see some live content in Google Earth. For example, Google has recently added a new Voyager tour to the web / Android version of Google Earth that features bear cams (web cams looking at bears). Read more about it in Google’s blog post.


The first ‘bear cam’ we looked at featured a bear fishing live on camera.

For more web cams, in Google Earth classic, enable the Gallery->Webcams.travel layer. Keep in mind that most web cams do not show live video, but instead, a series of images captured at intervals, and it is not unusual for them to be out of date. So be sure to look for a time stamp before assuming that the image you see is current.

The closest one can get to live satellite imagery is feeds from weather satellites (as are used to create the ‘clouds’ layer in Google Earth). An example is the Himawari-8 satellite over Japan. Weather satellites are very low resolution and are mostly only useful for viewing cloud patterns and snow cover. For higher resolution, Sentinel-2 imagery is often published within a day of being captured, but requires downloading and processing to view. Landsat imagery is another option, but often takes longer to be released. To find the latest imagery use our KML files: Sentinel-2 and Landsat. We recommend only opening one at a time due to the large number of polygons in the files.

It is also possible to see live views from the International Space Station but you typically cannot see much detail of the surface of the earth.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Google Earth Imagery Updates: Tornadoes

jeu 06-07-2017

Google recently updated the ‘historical imagery’ layer and on Tuesday we had a look at a couple of floods visible in the fresh imagery. Today we are looking at a number of tornadoes in the United States.

Elk City, Oklahoma.
On May 16th, 2017, an EF2 tornado caused major damage across the southern fringes of Elk City, Oklahoma causing one death and a number of injuries. Google Earth has a DigitalGlobe image captured just four days later.


Damaged houses in Elk City.


Interesting patterns in the fields caused by the tornado.

See the tornado and resulting damage from the ground in this YouTube video.

Eustace / Canton, Texas (two tornadoes).
On April 29th, 2017, two tornadoes occurred near Canton, Texas. See Wikipedia for a full description. We had a look at these tornadoes in May using Sentinel-2 imagery. Now there is higher resolution imagery from DigitalGlobe, captured just 6 days after the event. See below the paths of the tornadoes as far as we were able to track them in Google Earth imagery. The actual paths were longer and according to Wikipedia, the two eastern tracks shown was a single continuous tornado.


Destruction caused by the Canton / Fruitville tornado.

Hattiesburg, Mississippi and Adel, Georgia.
These were part of an outbreak of 81 tornadoes, the second-largest January tornado outbreak and the third-largest winter tornado outbreak since 1950, causing 20 deaths and US$1.3 billion in damage.

Although the Hattiesburg, Mississippi tornado occurred on January 21st, 2017, only part of its track has recent imagery. However, we were able to find the track in the imagery that exists. The tornado near Adel, Georgia occurred on January 22nd, and the imagery is from May 27th, 2017, four months later, but the track is still visible and the severe damage to Sunshine Acres mobile home park can be seen below:


Sunshine Acres mobile home park, Adel, Georgia.

According to Wikipedia, of the park’s roughly 100 homes, 45 were destroyed — 35 of which were obliterated. Although we don’t count that many structures, it is possible that many buildings were duplexes.

For the tracks of all the above tornadoes as far as we were able to trace them, download this KML file.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Google Maps Indigenous Territories in Canada and Brazil

mer 05-07-2017

Google has recently announced that they have added Indigenous Territories for both Canada and Brazil to their mapping products. Read more about it on the Google Blog (Canada, Brazil).

Although the names of indigenous territories can be found in search in both Google Maps and Google Earth, the outlines only show in Google Maps. Even the web version of Google Earth, which largely shares the same database as Google Maps, does not show the outlines. Another issue is that even in Google Maps, there is no way to view all the outlines at once. It would be nice if Google were to add them to Google Earth either as second level admin regions, or a layer on their own.

When looking at Brazil in Google Earth, it is immediately apparent that some areas are not being cleared for cultivation. These are a mix of indigenous territories and protected regions (nature preserves of various kinds).

The indigenous territories are not completely free of visible human activity. The indigenous territory of Kayapó, for example includes a town, a road to the town, some signs of clearing presumably for cultivation and an area that appears to be surface gold mining.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Google Earth Imagery Updates: Floods

mar 04-07-2017

Google has recently updated the ‘historical imagery’ layer and today we are having a look at a couple of floods.

Black River, Arkansas.
We had a look at this flooding event last month using low resolution Sentinel-2 imagery. Now there is higher resolution DigitalGlobe imagery we can see a lot more detail. The imagery was captured on May 6th, 2017.

The road below appears to have also served as a levee to prevent flooding. However, it has clearly been breached in a number of places, causing major flooding downstream.

Multiple breaches in a levee, Black River, Arkansas (near Pocahontas).


Flooded houses downstream from the breached levee.

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Pocahontas, Arkansas, showing how the height of the river during the flood compares to the normal level.

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Rigaud, Quebec, Canada.
According to this article, between April 5 and May 16, more than 5,700 homes were flooded and more than 4,000 people forced from their homes in Quebec, Canada. One of the worst affected towns was Rigaud. There are some DigitalGlobe images from May 17 after the water started to subside, but we can still see some flooded areas.


Flooded houses in Rigaud, Quebec, Canada.


Retreating flood waters, Rigaud, Quebec, Canada.

For outlines of the above imagery and locations of interest, download this KML file.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

US flags for the 4th of July

lun 03-07-2017

Tomorrow, the 4th of July, is Independence Day in the United States. So, we thought we would try and find some examples of large US flags visible in Google Earth. It turned out to be remarkably difficult, given that Americans love their flag and display it as often as possible.

The best examples of flags designed for viewing from above are on commercial buildings:


Legendary Marine, Destin, Florida.


Lamons Gasket Company, Houston, Texas.

Laredo National Bank in Laredo, Texas is said to have the tallest flag pole in the US at 308 feet and flying a 100 x 50 foot flag. Unfortunately, the flag itself can only be seen in older imagery, which isn’t very good resolution.


Laredo National Bank, Laredo, Texas.

The largest flag ever made is The Superflag at 255 x 505 feet. It was created by Thomas “Ski” Demski in 1992. He passed away in 2002 but you can still rent The Superflag and smaller versions from the company he created. We were unable to find the flag in Google Earth imagery, but did find his home named ‘the Pole’ where he originally flew it.


‘The Pole’, Long Beach, California. We believe the three dots of colour on the neighbors roofs are imagery artifacts.

For the above locations, some other flags and locations of famous or record-setting flags, patriotic messages and more, download this KML file.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

The best of Google Earth for June 2017

ven 30-06-2017

In June, Malta became the latest country to receive Street View. South Korea also got a significant increase in Street View coverage.

There was an imagery update in early June and we had a look at a number of new sights:
Mudslide in Argentina and Oroville Dam in California.
The Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in Uganda.
Floods in the Dominican Republic, Malaysia, and San Jose, California and a factory fire in the Philippines.

Google has not updated the ‘historical imagery’ layer recently so there are probably many other sights that didn’t make it into the default layer that we will only get to see on the next update to ‘historical imagery’.

Google has continued to ensure that the Voyager tours in the new browser based Google Earth remain fresh by adding a number of educational tours, a tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter books, and a Beatle Mania tour in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ eighth album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

We had a look at a collapsed bridge in Atlanta, Georgia and discussed the fact that Google Earth and Street View are becoming very useful tools for investigating such events.

We had a look at floating solar plants around the world. They still make up only a tiny proportion of solar generation, but the number is growing fast and we expect it to be a popular option in countries where land is at a premium.

We had a look at ‘fairy circles’ in South Africa. They cover a vast area across the Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces. We believe they are created by termite or ant colonies.

When Google Earth doesn’t have imagery of large scale events, we look to other sources. We used Sentinel-2 imagery to explore a landslide and tsunami in Greenland, and flooding along the Black River, Arkansas. We used imagery from imaging company Planet to look at a landslide in California

We created a basic tool for two way conversion between KML and Microsoft Excel.

The Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) website released the results of pollution measurements being made by Google’s Street View fleet.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

New Google Earth Explorer Tours

jeu 29-06-2017

The new browser based Google Earth continues to receive new content in the form of Voyager Tours. One recent addition is in honour of the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter book series and features a number of notable places relating to various Harry Potter films.


Platform 9 3/4 of Harry Potter fame.

Ten other Voyager tours were recently introduced in collaboration with National Geographic Society, PBS Education, HHMI Biointeractive and Mission Blue and focus on educational uses for Google Earth. One big benefit of putting Google Earth in the browser is that it is now available on Chrome Books, a special type of laptop that only runs the Chrome browser and no other native applications. They are popular in education and the absence of Google Earth on that platform was sorely missed by many.

In addition to the tours, National Geographic has put together some ideas for educators using Google Earth as a teaching tool.

We hope Google continues to encourage new content in the Voyager collection. We would actually like to see much more detailed and comprehensive content. For example, we would love to see the Explorers: Age of Encounter tour expanded to include other explorers from different dates and continents and to go into more depth for each one. We also found that it had not been thoroughly tested and at the time of writing, clicking on the PBS logo led to a broken link.

Note that the new Google Earth only runs in Google Chrome or as an app on Android.

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