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Mapping with Google Map Maker

jeu 18-09-2014

In last week’s post about the Ground Truth Project we told you how Google Map Maker is a key component of Google’s strategy to achieve more accurate maps – and keep them accurate. When Google introduced Map Maker to the public back in 2008, it was initially only available in a small number of countries, but over the years its has been made available in more and more places. The relevant Map Maker support page lists 227 countries or locations where it is now available. Some of the few remaining countries not yet covered are: Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, China, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan.

Zambia is one of those countries where the Ground Truth Project has not yet got to, so its maps depends almost entirely on Map Maker. I was recently asked by my sister, who lives in Livingstone, Zambia, if I would update some street names in Google Earth. The streets are in a fairly new development, and the local council has recently put up some street signs, so she wrote down the names of some of the streets and sent them to me.

When I first used Google Map Maker, every edit had to be reviewed by someone else before it went live, but over time, I have been allowed to make some changes without them waiting for review. So when I added street names to roads that were unnamed, the changes were reflected in Google Maps immediately. However, a few of the roads were not in Google Maps, so I had to add the roads as well as name them and this had to be reviewed, which took about a week. As you can see below there are still a lot more streets without names, so perhaps next time I am in Livingstone I will go around and collect the names of all unlabeled streets that do have street signs, or perhaps I will ask the local City Council if they can give me an official map.

One interesting thing I have noticed though is that although the streets show in Google Maps immediately, they cannot be found when doing a search. Other streets nearby do show up in search results, including ones that I have personally added the names for in the past. I am guessing that it takes a while for new additions to get into the search database.

If one of our readers is a Map Maker aficionado, maybe they can let us know if this is a correct guess, and if so, how long it typically takes to for names to get into search.

It used to be the case that changes made in Map Maker would eventually filter through to Google Earth. However, I corrected the name of a major road (Airport Road) in that area in January of this year and it still shows the old name in Google Earth (Libala Drive). However if you search for ‘Airport Road’ in Google Earth, it finds the correct road.

The post Mapping with Google Map Maker appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Flying around with Blue Magpie Tea in Taiwan

mer 17-09-2014

Over the years we’ve seen some great files come from Steven Ho, such as his panorama from the top of Mount Everest, his tribute to Steve Jobs and his Trip View Bowl visualization. He’s back with another one, which follows the path of a blue magpie as it flies along the Xindieng River, to promote eco-friendly tea farms.

The unique part of this is the way he controls the camera during the flight. Steven says it was quite challenging to control the perspective like a movie scene. If you just keep the bird in the same position on the screen the results are inferior. So he has the camera move around the bird to get different perspectives, with the bird even going off camera for brief periods. Also, to get the bird to appear properly in Google Earth he enlarged it several hundred times, which has the added benefit of making it easier to control the perspective.

You can try it for yourself by loading this KML file, or read the full write-up on his blog.

Great work, Steven!

The post Flying around with Blue Magpie Tea in Taiwan appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

SketchUp 3D Warehouse URL issues

mar 16-09-2014

Back in 2012 Google sold SketchUp, the excellent 3D modeling tool that was used to make most of the older 3D models found in Google Earth. In October 2013, Google stopped importing models from the SketchUp 3D Warehouse, and now solely rely on automatic generation methods for 3D imagery.

Earlier this year the 3D Warehouse was completely revamped by new owner Trimble. Also, at some point, the URL for the warehouse has changed from the Google domain (sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/) to a the sketchup.com domain (3dwarehouse.sketchup.com).

Google has implemented redirects on the former URLs, but they are not all working correctly. The result is that links that we created in the past to KML/KMZs of models in the 3D Warehouse no longer work correctly. Instead of being redirected to the download of the KML/KMZ, they get redirected to the SketchUp model (.skp) download instead.

Also, it seems most of the links within Google Earth relating to 3D models are broken. If you click on a 3D model, a popup shows more information about the model. It used to display a small picture of the model on the right, but now there is just a question mark. In addition, almost all the links in the popup are supposed to direct you to the 3D warehouse, but most of them do not work correctly.

If you have links to KML/KMZ files on your website then it is not difficult to correct them. Each model has a unique ID that has not changed. A typical old URL will look like this:

http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/download?mid=2fc1bb50f5aaf8ab91735325f76051&rtyp=k2&fn=Stadhuis+1&ctyp=other&prevstart=0

To fix it:

  • Copy the unique ID shown in bold above.
  • Search for it in the Sketchup 3D Warehouse.
  • Click on the ‘Download’ button, and you should see two options, the Sketchup model and the KML/KMZ file.
  • Right click on the KML/KMZ link and select ‘copy link address’ (or your browser’s equivalent).
  • Replace your old link with this URL.

The new link should look something like this:

https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/warehouse/getpubliccontent?contentId=57bca5fd-1c8d-4e4f-a8a7-ca4985b230c3&fn=Stadhuis-1.kmz

Although the ‘report a problem’ link on the 3D building popup does not work correctly, we did use Google Earths ‘report a problem’ feature to let Google know about this issue.

The post SketchUp 3D Warehouse URL issues appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Aerial imagery from drones

lun 15-09-2014

Back in 2007 we took a look at the concept of capturing aerial imagery from drones. Since then a lot of progress has been made in drone and camera technology. Now it is no longer the technology that is an issue, but rather regulations surrounding the flying of drones. For example, we told you last year how Falcon UAV were assisting with the emergency response to flooding in Colorado, but were stopped by FEMA.


The senseFly eBee, an example of a commercially available drone capable of capturing aerial imagery and producing 3D elevation models.

In the US the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has strict rules regarding drones, especially around airports, flight paths, and populated areas. Drones operated for hobby and recreation purposes fall under a special exception and are subject to different restrictions, but may not be used for commercial purposes under this exception.

However, there have recently been some reports of drones being approved by the FAA for use in capturing aerial photography. For example, this article about Le Sueur county being the first county in Minnesota to get FAA approval for drone operations. However, even in that instance, there are still tough restrictions.

Here in South Africa drones are already being used for commercial filming and anti-poaching operations, and possibly in the near future, for crime prevention and disaster management. South Africa, however, also has strict rules about the use of drones, and many of the current users are probably breaking the law.

Drones have a significant cost advantage over manned aircraft, which means that aerial imagery can be captured much more frequently, as well as after natural disasters or other important events. As the use of drones for aerial imagery acquisition takes off around the world, we should start to see a major boost to both the quality of imagery as well as the frequency with which it is refreshed.

In April this year, Google acquired drone maker Titan Aerospace and it has been speculated that capturing aerial imagery may be one reason for the acquisition, although another possibility is that Google wants to use them for providing internet access similar to Project Loon.

Google has also been developing drones for use in delivery of goods, and they chose Australia for the tests because it has less restrictive rules for flying drones. For more on that project, see the video below.

Do any of our readers know whether any of the imagery currently in Google Earth was taken by drone?

The post Aerial imagery from drones appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

The Ground Truth project

ven 12-09-2014

We told you earlier in the week how the Google Maps data is not always 100% accurate. Google does, however, put in an extraordinary amount effort into making it the best it can be.

Google originally depended largely on external data providers for its maps information. But that changed in 2008 when project Ground Truth was founded. The Ground Truth project involves getting data from authoritative sources such as governments, postal services and map providers, which is then overlayed on satellite imagery and updated to make it more accurate. Google then uses satellite imagery and Street View imagery to add a lot more data to the map. It uses a variety of processes including a lot of manual editing by highly trained map editors, as well as a number of algorithmic methods, such as using computer vision to go through Street View imagery and pick out street signs, street names, business logos and more. Finally, they get feed back from users via the ‘Report a problem’ feature, or Google Map Maker.

It is important to realize that there is a lot more to maps than what you see directly in Google Maps. Google Maps also contains a lot of hidden information such as road rules, including speed limits, one way streets, traffic lights, stop/yield signs and no turn signs. These are used by Google maps when providing directions.


Google Maps contains a lot more than just street names.

The Ground Truth project is not yet used for the whole world, but they have been expanding rapidly. Ground Truth recently announced their 50th country. For the remaining countries they use a combination of external data providers and Google Map Maker.

For a more in depth look at the Ground Truth project watch this excellent presentation from Google I/O 2013 and read a four part series on the making of maps on the Google Lat Long Blog. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

The post The Ground Truth project appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Remembering 9/11 with Google Earth

jeu 11-09-2014

We have talked about the anniversary of 9/11 a number of times in the past, including 2006, 2010, 2011 (a three part series 1 2 3), 2012 and 2013. We also followed the progress of the new World Trade Center buildings in May 2010 and May 2012.

The 3D imagery in New York is still the same as it was last year, with the ‘new’ type of 3D imagery actually showing slightly less progress on the buildings than the older type of 3D, which can be viewed by going to ‘historical imagery’. However, Historical Street View was introduced in April 2014, so we can now show you the progress of the building of the new World Trade Center using Street View.


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The new World Trade Center over time in Street View.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Google Earth in Google Earth

mer 10-09-2014

We have in the past looked at artwork in Google Earth, such as the worlds largest finger print and face art or sculptures in the Sahara by D.A.ST. Arteam. Some artists have even created roof top murals with the specific intention of having them viewed in Google Earth.

We recently came across this article which shows a mural of Google Earth on an intersection in Chanute, Kansas. So we had a look in Google Earth, and sure enough, it is visible in the satellite imagery.


Main & Lincoln intersection, Chanute, Kansas, USA. Grab the KML here.

It turns out that a mural was originally painted in May 2010 when the City of Chanute was promoting itself to Google as a choice for a fiber optics to the home project. See this YouTube video for more. The campaign was ultimately unsuccessful.

Inspiration for the mural, according to the official Chanute website, came from the fact that

Chanute, Kansas is the center of Google Earth on a Mac computer because the software developer, Dan Webb, was from Chanute.”

The original painting must have worn out as it is not visible in the Google Earth historical imagery for September 2010 and February 2012.

However, it was recreated as a permanent brick paver mural in September 2012 as part of a larger project upgrading the intersection and sidewalks.


The mural as seen in Street View

The post Google Earth in Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Fun with KML areas

mar 09-09-2014

Last week we released a KML showing the cities covered by the new type of 3D that Google has been producing.

We thought it would be interesting to see how much area has been covered.


Tokyo, Japan, has the largest single area of 3D in Google Earth

Google Earth, does not have any built in feature to allow you to work out the area enclosed by a polygon. Google Earth Pro does have this feature, but only displays it for the selected polygon, so recording each of the 487 areas we have found so far would be quite tedious. Luckily, we found a helpful site, Zonum Solutions, which was able to take our KML file, and produce a list of areas. We compared the results of one or two of the areas with Google Earth Pro’s answers and found slight discrepancies. For the purposes of this post it doesn’t really matter, but if you use the above website for anything more serious it might be worth investigating which is the most accurate. We then got the country areas and US state areas from Wikipedia.

Interesting facts:

  • Tokyo, Japan, has the largest single area of 3D Imagery.
  • Vatican City has 100% coverage due to it being a very small country contained inside the 3D area around Rome.
  • The US has nearly three quarters of all the worlds 3D imagery.
  • California has the most 3D imagery of any US state.
  • Alaska is the only US state with no 3D imagery.
  • Africa and continental Asia, have no 3D imagery.
  • So far, approximately 0.06% of the Earths land area has 3D imagery.

Notes on the data below:

Some of the recent additions by readers of GEB are not included.
The fact that many of the areas include water, including parts of sea, was ignored. The country and state areas quoted are for land and water bodies within the country.
Areas that cross country borders or state borders, was not dealt with, except for two exceptions:

  • Vatican City was counted, but its area not subtracted from Italy’s area.
  • New Jersey, which shares two large areas with other states which are attributed to those states, was estimated, but not subtracted from those states.
#countryTable td,#stateTable td ,#countryTable th,#stateTable th { text-align: right } #countryTable th,#stateTable th{padding-left:14px;} #countryTable td:first-child ,#countryTable th:first-child,#stateTable td:first-child ,#stateTable th:first-child{ text-align: left;padding-left:0px; } #countryTable,#stateTable {font-size:8pt}

Country 3D Area
(sq km) Country Area
(sq km) %
Covered Argentina 928 2,780,400 0.03% Australia 1,983 7,692,024 0.03% Austria 1,034 83,871 1.23% Belgium 1,068 30,528 3.50% Brazil 1,971 8,515,767 0.02% Bulgaria 652 110,879 0.59% Canada 5,846 9,984,670 0.06% Chile 152 756,102 0.02% Denmark 564 43,094 1.31% Finland 136 338,424 0.04% France 10,976 338,424 3.24% Germany 5,283 357,114 1.48% Greece 118 131,990 0.09% Hungary 1,818 93,028 1.95% Italy 4,351 301,336 1.44% Japan 4,356 377,930 1.15% Luxembourg 108 2,586 4.16% Mexico 3,425 1,964,375 0.17% New Zealand 435 270,467 0.16% Norway 150 323,802 0.05% Portugal 220 92,090 0.24% Romania 719 238,391 0.30% Spain 4,767 505,992 0.94% Sweden 580 450,295 0.13% Switzerland 2,906 41,284 7.04% United Kingdom 2,640 242,900 1.09% United States of America 150,299 9,526,468 1.58% Vatican City 0.4 0.4 100% US State 3D Area
(sq km) State Area
(sq km) %
Covered Alabama 6,068 135,767 4.5% Arizona 2,964 295,234 1.0% Arkansas 2,714 137,732 2.0% California 18,690 423,967 4.4% Colorado 3,674 269,601 1.4% Connecticut 719 14,357 5.0% Delaware 525 6,446 8.1% Florida 4,910 170,312 2.9% Georgia 7,997 153,910 5.2% Hawaii 107 28,313 0.4% Idaho 1,111 216,443 0.5% Illinois 2,456 149,995 1.6% Indiana 5,988 94,326 6.3% Iowa 1,364 145,746 0.9% Kansas 3,972 213,100 1.9% Kentucky 2,514 104,656 2.4% Louisiana 3,327 135,659 2.5% Maine 1,941 91,633 2.1% Maryland 499 32,131 1.6% Massachusetts 565 27,336 2.1% Michigan 5,840 250,487 2.3% Minnesota 1,326 225,163 0.6% Mississippi 979 125,438 0.8% Missouri 2,814 180,540 1.6% Montana 1,318 380,831 0.3% Nebraska 1,015 200,330 0.5% Nevada 770 286,380 0.3% New Hampshire 1,513 24,214 6.2% New Jersey 917 22,591 4.0% New Mexico 1,427 314,917 0.5% New York 3,871 141,297 2.7% North Carolina 6,353 139,391 4.6% North Dakota 1,104 183,108 0.6% Ohio 4,019 116,098 3.5% Oklahoma 429 181,037 0.2% Oregon 3,268 254,799 1.3% Pennsylvania 2,643 119,280 2.2% Rhode Island 1,160 4,001 29.0% South Carolina 4,961 82,933 6.0% South Dakota 772 199,729 0.4% Tennessee 2,909 109,153 2.7% Texas 8,384 695,662 1.2% Utah 3,508 219,882 1.6% Vermont 254 24,906 1.0% Virginia 5,321 110,787 4.8% Washington 4,130 184,661 2.2% West Virginia 1,508 62,756 2.4% Wisconsin 6,184 169,635 3.6% Wyoming 419 253,335 0.2%

The post Fun with KML areas appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Could a conman get false information into Google Maps or Google Earth?

lun 08-09-2014

We recently got a query by a reader asking whether or not it is possible for a conman to put a fake address into Google Earth. The short answer is yes.

Google gets its information from a large number of sources. The Earth is a very big place, so the amount of data involved is simply staggering. Errors, of course, do exist. These come in many forms, such as an island that didn’t exist, or the time that Google lost a city in Florida. When Google once removed the name “Persian Gulf”, Iran threatened to sue because the name is a very sensitive issue in the region.

Borders are often a contentious issue. It may be simply a case of borders being in the wrong place due to errors in the data supplied to Google, or border disputes, where two countries disagree about where their shared border is. Google method for the latter is to share data based on international mapping standards data – which they illustrate by showing disputed borders in red, or showing different borders depending on which country you are using the product from. Also, when new countries are formed, it may take Google (and all other mapping companies) a little while to update their maps.

One of Google’s sources of information is the general public via three main routes: the ‘report a problem’ feature in Google maps, the more sophisticated Google Mapmaker that Google released in 2008, and Google My Business (formerly Google Places). The last one is primarily for business address listings, whereas the first two deal with more general mapping information.
The processes for changing mapping data have a number of verification systems in place. However, since it is often impossible to verify the validity of all updates. Google mapmaker works on a system of reputation whereby your edits require less verification as you gain reputation. Google My Business encourages you to verify your address or phone number. None of the systems are totally fool proof, but the same system can be used to correct inaccurate data that works its way into the system.


An example of information that really shouldn’t have been allowed into Google Maps.


This appears to be a genuine road.

So why would people want to put false information into Google Maps? Here is a story of a restaurant which closed down because, the owner claims, its listing on Google Maps showed that they were closed on what were formerly its most popular days. His lawyer thinks that a competing restaurant sabotaged the listing. Earlier this year Bryan Seely went public, saying that he used to do ‘map jacking’ for profit but decided to go public in the hopes of getting a job at Google. As a publicity stunt, he managed to intercept calls to the FBI and Secret service by placing false contact information for them on Google Maps.

It is important to keep in mind that, for example, in the vacation rentals business where scams are quite common, the information in Google Maps may be correct, but when you arrive at your destination and knock on the door, you could discover that the person you wired your down-payment to does not own the property. No one wants that kind of thing to happen.


Imaginary road really exists!

Google Maps and Google Earth mapping data should always be treated like Wikipedia: an extremely useful resource, but not guaranteed to be correct.

The post Could a conman get false information into Google Maps or Google Earth? appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Destiny – Google Street View in a game world

ven 05-09-2014

With our recent story on the possible demise of the Google Earth plugin – at least in the Chrome browser – it begs the question, what is currently possible with the Google Maps API?

Paul van Dinther of PlanetInAction.com, whose many great Google Earth Plugin creations we have featured over the years, is developing a new version of his ship simulator, Ships 2 Career, based on Google Maps. The previous version is based on the Google Earth plugin and is still available at PlanetInAction.com. You can get an idea of what the game will be like from this YouTube video.

Upcoming console game Destiny will be released in 3 days. Game developer Bungie, who also created Halo, has created a website showing the worlds of Destiny – Moon, Mars, and Venus.
Although the intro does give the illusion of a 3D experience reminiscent of Google Maps ‘Earth Mode’, the website is really much closer to Street View than the Google Earth plugin. The website says “created with Google Technologies”, and appears to be more sophisticated than simply using the Google Maps API.


The worlds of Destiny.


Street View on Venus! I think they used the ‘Trekker’ for this one.


Street View on the Moon, looks much more exciting than the Google Maps version.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Google Earth automatically generated 3D areas

jeu 04-09-2014

Thanks to GEB reader ‘ehog’ for letting us know that Győr, Hungary got the new 3D mesh recently.

Google first announced their method of generating 3D via stereophotogrammetry from aerial imagery in June 2012. As part of the announcement Google said that they expected this new technology to cover “communities of over 300 million people” by the end of the year. A year later, in July 2013, they were doing quite well and we counted around 150 cities with the new imagery. Progress continued, and in August 2013 Google announced that from October of that year they would no longer be pulling models from the Trimble 3D Warehouse as they wished to focus on more scalable methods.

This year we have covered the release of 3D imagery for Tokyo, and other Japanese cities, Christchurch, New Zealand, and London.

However, there has been no easy way to find the new automatically generated 3D areas that Google is adding to Google Earth. Google has not, as far as I am aware, ever released a KML with the locations as it often does for new satellite imagery.

Google has a list that can be found here. However, it is far from complete and even has some incorrect entries such as Forli, Italy which does not have the new imagery. It doesn’t even have some well known locations such as London, UK, which do have the new imagery.

The Wikipedia page for Google Earth also has a list of the new 3D areas, although it relies on helpful people noticing new areas and updating the list, and it, too, is not completely accurate. It does not, at the time of writing, include Győr, Hungary, and does not have all the entries from the Google list, such as Olbia, Italy, for example.

So, we decided to create a KML file combining all the locations from the Wikipedia page, and the list from Google, and a couple of extras that aren’t in either list. And here it is!

We have included locations as given in the two lists, as well as the regions covered by 3D. We have made the KML a network link so that we can continually update it as we discover new areas.

Note that we have not included places that have the older type of automatically generated buildings that load as individual buildings. The newer method loads as a single mesh covering a whole area. Also note that the older type of 3D model does not display in ‘Earth Mode’ in the new Google Maps.

The best coverage is in California, and the worst is in Africa and Asia. Alaska is, I think, the only US state with no locations covered, but with its largest community, Anchorage, having an estimated 298,610 residents in 2012, maybe it didn’t quite make the cut.

If you know of any places not in the KML, please let us know in the comments below.

The post Google Earth automatically generated 3D areas appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

64-bit Chrome drops support for Google Earth Plugin

mer 03-09-2014

We told you in July about the Chrome team’s announcement last year that they planned to remove NPAPI support from Chrome by the end of 2014. This includes the Google Earth plugin that uses NPAPI.

Last week, on Tuesday, August 26, 2014, Google released a 64-bit version of Chrome which does not support 32-bit NPAPI plugins, including the Google Earth plugin. I have tried out the new 64-bit Chrome and can confirm that the plugin does not work. It does let you try to install it, but to no avail. And there are no appropriate error messages, so presumably sites using the Google Earth plugin can expect an increase in support calls.

So, if your website uses the Google Earth plugin, what alternatives are available? Well, it seems that at present, there are not many. You can offer your data as KML files, which users can download and view in Google Earth. But then you lose all the benefits of embedding it in a web page, including all the functionality that the plugin’s JavaScript API allows. So although this might suffice for sites merely using the plugin to display data, for the majority of sites it will not do.

Google Maps now has ‘Earth Mode’, which allows you to view satellite imagery and tilt the view to see it in 3D. It is based on WebGL, which is the modern way to do things. But it is not yet a replacement for the Google Earth Plugin:

  • Its performance is terrible in comparison to the plugin.
  • It lacks the ability to display KMLs other than via a complicated route through Google Earth Engine – which requires a licence, except for very small data-sets.
  • Although Maps has a JavaScript API, it has very different functionality from the plugin’s API.
  • It does not show 3D models – only the new type of 3D imagery that consists of a single mesh.
  • Navigation is difficult, with less sophisticated controls than the plug-in.

It is likely, however, that improvements to the WebGL 3D in maps will be the way forward, although I have not seen any statements from Google as to what their plans for the future are.

Great sites like:

and many others we have talked about over the years, will be impossible to make without the Google Earth plugin.


Flight Simulator Online


youbeQ, a free multiplayer driving and flight simulator

So if you are still using a browser that works with the plugin, then try them out while you still can! [UPDATE by Frank Taylor: you can install the 64-bit version of Chrome and also still keep the 32-bit version of Chrome installed. So you can keep running the GE-plugin on Chrome. Or, you can run another compatible browser such as Firefox.]

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

New Google Earth Imagery – August 13th and 26th, 2014

mar 02-09-2014

We told you a couple of weeks ago about an imagery update on August 5th. Since then, Google has done at least two more updates, on August 13th and August 26th. Thanks to GEB readers André and ‘Munden’ for alerting us.

Google has updated their map and the second one was a particularly large update. As of this writing, the last update is in Google Maps but not yet in Google Earth.


Google Earth Imagery Update August 13th, 2014 Larger version


Google Earth Imagery Update August 26th, 2014Larger version

Oddly enough, there doesn’t seem to be any way to permanently save the KML for the map so the only record I have of the August 13th update is a screen shot (top image above).

It is possible, from the Maps Gallery page, to download a KML. However, it contains a special type of network link proprietary to Google which displays the KML in ‘Layers’ rather than ‘My Places’, which is where KMLs loaded into Google Earth normally appear. Also, it doesn’t work in older versions of Google Earth. Most importantly, it does not remain across sessions and there appears to be no way to save it. Furthermore, being a network link, even if you save the downloaded KML, when Google updates the map, what you see is the newest map and you can no-longer view the old map. I am guessing that the purpose of this special type of network link is to allow Google Earth Enterprise customers to enable their users to view their maps without allowing them to copy all the data as KML.

Another interesting aspect of this update is some patches of imagery off the west coast of Australia in the region of the search area for Flight MH370. Google Maps does not show imagery in the oceans by any mechanism that I know of. Google Earth does show imagery in the oceans if you turn on ‘Historical Imagery’, but since the update is not yet in Google Earth, there is currently no way to view this imagery!

The post New Google Earth Imagery – August 13th and 26th, 2014 appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

The best of Google Earth for August, 2014

lun 01-09-2014

August saw a number of data updates from Google including new Street View imagery in Indonesia and Cambodia, and satellite imagery from around the globe. The launch by DigitalGlobe of their WorldView-3 satellite, and subsequent release of its first images, means the future of satellite imagery looks bright.

Here are some of my favorite stories of the month:

We told you about how Ian Brown at Google Sightseeing shows off the ten tallest statues in the world.


Four of the ten have 3D models in Google Earth

We also showcased CityRealty who have made impressive use of Google Earth’s 3D imagery.

We also brought you a story about using Goats to combat wildfire in Southern California.

Also this month, I had the pleasure of joining the GEB team and am now the main writer, with Mickey Mellen, who has done a fantastic job over the last 4.5 years, moving on to greener pastures.

Which was your favorite story in August?

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Burning Man 2014

ven 29-08-2014

We have talked about Burning Man a number of times before (2013, 2011,2010, 2007, 2006).

Burning Man is a cartographer’s nightmare, because it is a city that is built within a matter of days, lasts for a couple weeks, then completely disappears, only to re-emerge the next year in a slightly different place, with a slightly different layout, and altogether new street names.

The official website provides an official map for this year, and for previous years. However, there is an unnofficial version to be found on Google Maps Engine here. When viewed in Google Maps, it is rather clunky unless you deselect most of the points of interest. However, it can be viewed in Google Earth by downloading this KML file. The Google Maps street map has also been updated to this year’s layout and street names, so remember to turn on the ‘roads’ layer.

Also be sure to check out Google Earth’s historical imagery showing the event in 2006, 2009 (two different days), 2010 (four consecutive days) ,2012 and 2013.

You can also watch a live webcast of Burning Man on USTREAM. (Warning: includes audio and may contain bad language.)

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Digital Globe releases first images from WorldView-3

jeu 28-08-2014

We told you a couple of weeks ago about the launch of DigitalGlobe’s latest satellite, WorldView-3.

On Tuesday, August 18, less than two weeks after its launch, they released the first images from the satellite. Thanks to GEB reader Cesaley Sparks for alerting us to it. The satellite is capable of producing imagery at a resolution of 30 cm per pixel, but because of regulatory restrictions, they have to resample it to 40 cm before releasing it.

Here is a slideshow they created showing what you can see with 40cm resolution.

WorldView-3 40 cm Resolution Examples Madrid, Spain from DigitalGlobe

Digital Globe has also provided a number of images taken around the airport in Madrid, Spain. We have created image overlays in Google Earth which you can download below:
Image 1 (20Mb 4000 x 5000 pixels)
Image 2 (3.8Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 3 (5.2Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 4 (3.3Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 5 (4.5Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 6 (4.2Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 7 (4.6Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 8 (5.3Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 9 (5.4Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)

To my eyes, the image quality looks comparable to what is already in Google Earth at that location, which I believe is aerial imagery captured from aircraft. Although it will always be possible to get higher quality imagery from aircraft than from satellites, the big advantage of satellites is the global coverage and the regularity with which they can capture imagery. Despite the enormous cost of building and launching satellites, it is still considerably cheaper than a global fleet of aircraft constantly taking photos. The data sheet for WorldView-3 states that it is capable of capturing 680,000 km² per day. That seems a lot until you look up the surface area of the Earth and it comes to 510,072,000 km².

Another very interesting fact was that DigitalGlobe managed to capture images of WorldView-3’s launch using another of their satellites, WorldView-1. See the gif animation they made with the images here..

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

The TARDIS in Google Earth

mer 27-08-2014

The popular British TV Series “Dr Who” Series 8’s premiere episode aired on Saturday, August 23, 2014. The series features a blue British police box known as the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space).

If you search for the address “236 Earls Court Road W.8, London, United Kingdom”, in Google Earth and make sure you turn on you the 3D buildings layer, you can see a 3D model of the TARDIS as seen below. (Or you can fly straight to it using this KML file)

If you enter street view at the exact location of the TARDIS model, you can see the inside of the TARDIS – which is considerably larger than the outside.

If you look around the area in Street View you will see that there really is a blue police box at that location.

The oldest references I could find to this Street View Easter Egg are from August 2013 (for example this article from Time magazine) just in time for the premier of Series 7.

We have previously brought you other stories of Google Street view in unusual places such as under the sea, the temples of Angkor Wat and a corn maize, but this is the first instance of Street View in a part of the world that is technically ‘not of this world’. If you know of any other unusual instances of Street View please let us know in the comments.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Using Google Earth and goats to combat wildfires.

mar 26-08-2014

We have brought you many stories in the past involving Google Earth and wildfire. For example, stories about people and organizations using Google Earth to monitor wildfires in progress, coordinate rescue operations, map global fire data and simulate forest fires.

But, prevention is better than cure, so to take it a step further, here is a story about how Shea Broussard and business partner Tony Shafer created FlameMapper.

Using historical data of fire paths, they map out the ideal places to graze the goats so as to stop wildfires from spreading. They use the Google Earth plugin to display the map on their website and use GPS and the map to decide where to place electric fencing which is moved around to control where the goats graze. The electric fencing also helps to keep mountain lions from eating the goats, but despite this they have lost 5 goats to a local mountain lion over the last 2 years.


The site also shows the current location of the goats. They do not track the mountain lions….

Has it worked? According to Shane:

We have yet to have a big wildfire come through the community. We are about 2 years overdue for a wildfire when you look at the fire history.”

Carefully planned grazing is not the only thing they are doing to prevent fire, they are also planting lots of Oak trees.
Shane:

We are currently growing 12,000 Oak trees with the Los Angeles County Fire Department Forest Division. Oak trees simply reduce fire intensity. Reduced fire intensity can save lives.”

For more, watch this YouTube video by Smile TV or read this story

My sister is a farmer in Livingstone, Zambia, and she too uses goats for creating fire breaks. She doesn’t have anything as sophisticated as FlameMapper, but does use Google Earth and GPS for planning where to put the fire breaks.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

The history of aerial photography

lun 25-08-2014

With the successful launch of the imaging satellite WorldView-3 by DigitalGlobe recently, featuring the latest technology in satellite imaging, it is a good time to take a look at where it all started.

The very first aerial photograph was taken from balloon by the French photographer and balloonist Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, in 1858 over Paris, France. However, the photographs he produced no longer exist and therefore the earliest surviving aerial photograph is titled ‘Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It’ and was taken by James Wallace Black in 1860, also from a balloon.

Kite aerial photography was pioneered by British meteorologist E.D. Archibald in 1882.
The most interesting method of aerial photography is pigeon photography, a technique invented in 1907.

By World War I aerial imagery taken from aircraft was being used for reconnaissance and the technology matured rapidly as a result.

The first images from space were taken in 1946 from a suborbital U.S.-launched V-2 rocket.
In 1972 the United States started the Landsat program, the largest program for acquisition of imagery of Earth from space.

Historical imagery was introduced to Google Earth with version 5 in 2009.

The oldest imagery that can currently be found in Google Earth is from 1930, near Toronto, Canada. To view it in Google Earth you need to turn on “Historical Imagery” pan to the region around Toronto, Canada, then move the slider all the way to the left and the imagery will show up as black and white areas, or simply download this KML file. There is also quite a lot of historical imagery from the Second World War in parts of Europe, with significant portions of the UK having imagery from 1945 or earlier.

It is important to note that although satellite imaging has many advantages, for the highest resolution aerial imagery, airplanes are still used today and most of the high resolution imagery in Google Earth was captured from aircraft.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones

New Street View imagery – Indonesia and Cambodia

ven 22-08-2014

We told you in April about Street View imagery in Cambodia around the temples of Angkor Wat. Now, Google have released imagery for much of the rest of Cambodia, as well as a significant amount in Indonesia, although the Indonesian imagery appears to be almost entirely on the islands of Java and Bali. Thanks to GEB reader IxBxTx for alerting us to the update.

According to this article Google set up a fleet of Street View cars in Indonesia, back in 2012. All the imagery I checked in both countries was dated some time in 2013, so maybe it has taken a while to process the imagery, or they had to wait for approval from local authorities. It apparently took 4 years to get approval in Greece which finally got Street View in June this year.


Interesting transportation in Phnom Penh, Cambodia


A scenic roundabout in Badung, Bali, Indonesia


Street View coverage for Cambodia. Note that Thailand already had Street View.


Street View coverage for Indonesia.

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Catégories: Sites Anglophones