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Panoramio Gets Reprieve from Google

lun 08-06-2015

In 2006, Google bought Panoramio – a fast growing user community with geo-tagged photos from around the world to add to Google Earth and Maps so people could better identify locations through photos people had taken. Google hired all three of its developers and they helped them scale up the system to handle a much larger load of users and photos.

The Panoramio site grew at a much more rapid pace and the resulting photos have been a fantastic resource for people throughout the world. Many of the original Panoramio members are professional or enthusiast photographers who have enjoyed the online community associated with Panoramio. Google helped add many more community features and contests were held for the best photos. Panoramio had a very happy and growing community for several years, myself included. I have contributed thousands of photos to Panoramio over the years while traveling to the far corners of the world.

As most people know, in subsequent years Google has grown a lot, and in the process they have been getting a more corporate, and less community-friendly attitude. They have been closing down (or using the most common Google word: “deprecating”) products on a frequent basis. Shutting down products sometimes is necessary with technological progress, but there are better ways to help communities surrounding the products to transition to alternatives. Google could be doing a better job.

Last September, Google announced they would migrate users off Panoramio and have them use a new Google Maps based photography site they had built called Google Views. Google said everyone would be moved off Panoramio in the next year (2015), and they assured the Panoramio community they would not lose key features. But, the new Views site did not have many of the same community features Panoramio had developed, and the community did not at all like the new site. Google’s Brian McClendon tried to address the concerns. But, a petition was created by the Panoramio community and over 10,000 users signed the petition within a few weeks. However, Google said little in response to the petition even after several months.

Suddenly, this week, Google announced: “After listening to community feedback about the future of the platform, we’re pleased to let you know that there won’t be any immediate changes to Panoramio. Instead of aligning the community with Views, we’ve gone back to the drawing board to work on a more integrated solution that supports you and your content directly within Google Maps.” So, they aren’t going to immediately kill off Panoramio after all. But, this probably doesn’t mean Google will repair features that have been broken with Panoramio for months. It’s apparent this supposed reprieve has more to do with the new Google Photos platform and the fact Google is now going to close down Google Maps Views (according to this post) and putting panoramic photos into the Street View platform. Meanwhile, Google has to continue to rely on Panoramio for its huge archive of geo-referenced photos.

So, although Google won’t be killing off Panoramio as planned this summer, there is no guarantee the stay of execution will be held off indefinitely (unlikely even). Let’s hope the additional time will give Googlers the opportunity to think of innovative ways to capture the essence of Panoramio – maybe even re-use the name – in the transition to their next photo mapping product. An even better step would be to at least address some of the problems with the current Panoramio product that has been plaguing the community in the meantime.

The post Panoramio Gets Reprieve from Google appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

New Google Earth Imagery – May 2015

ven 05-06-2015

Google has updated its ‘Monthly Google Earth Imagery Updates’ map to show the May 2015 updates. As always, this does not necessarily mean that the imagery in question was captured in May. For more on what the map shows see our Understanding Google’s Imagery Updates map series of posts.

As we mentioned earlier this week, Google Maps Gallery has removed all maps from Google Maps Engine from the gallery. This includes Google’s various imagery updates maps. However, since they usually use the same map and just update it each month, we already know the URL. In fact, there are two different maps they have used in the past and they updated both of them to show May’s updates. Map 1 Map 2.


Monthly Google Earth Imagery Updates – May 2015. Larger version.

To view it in Google Earth use this KML file.

We have already looked at a lot of interesting imagery in the May updates, including these posts:
The artwork of Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada in Google Earth
Post-earthquake Imagery of Nepal in Google Earth
New Nepal Imagery following May 12th Aftershock
Oil Slick from Oil Platform Explosion in Google Earth
Sana’a Airport bomb damage
China building islands in the Spratlys
Rochelle/Fairdale Tornado Damage now Visible in Google Earth

If you come across any other interesting images, do let us know in the comments.

The post New Google Earth Imagery – May 2015 appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Ship breakers in Google Earth

jeu 04-06-2015

We were recently watching a couple of documentaries on the ship breaking industry and we thought it would be interesting to see what they look like from above in Google Earth.

The documentaries are available on YouTube and are:
“Where Ships Go to Die, Workers Risk Everything” by National Geographic
“The Wire Nest…life In Mumbai’s Shipbreaking Yards” by Vega Productions

So we looked around the world and found a number of ship breaking yards clearly visible in Google Earth. To see the ones we found, download this KML file.

The most interesting site we found is a beach near Chittagong, Bangladesh. Because Chittagong has a lot of satellite imagery available in ‘historical imagery’ and one end of the ship breaking yards is within the Chittagong imagery, we can actually watch a ship as it is broken up!


Ship being broken up – October to December 2014.

For some great photography of ship breaking yards see this article.

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

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Low resolution images over the ocean

mer 03-06-2015

On April 18th, 2015 a boat carrying as many as 950 people capsized in the Mediterranean Sea. See the full story here. Soon after the disaster, DigitalGlobe captured satellite imagery of the location. We found out about this from DigitalGlobe’s First Look map. The imagery has now become available in Google Earth’s ‘historical imagery’. However, when you try to view it in Google Earth, the imagery only loads in low resolution.

We have noticed resolution problems in the past with imagery over the oceans but not given it much thought. For example, last month we looked at an oil slick captured in the aftermath of an explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. We noticed that the imagery was not particularly good but assumed it was unique to that imagery. Similarly, back in 2014 when Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 went missing and was believed to have gone down in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Australia, Google Earth got quite a lot of satellite imagery over the search area and we noticed at the time that much of that was of poor resolution but didn’t know why.

So what is going on? We have looked more carefully at satellite imagery over oceans around the globe and it seems that whenever it is away from land, the quality is reduced considerably. Google Earth must have a built in algorithm that stops it from loading high resolution imagery far from the land. We realise this is a good optimization to have most of the time as there usually isn’t any satellite imagery of the oceans, and in the default view, any such imagery is hidden by default. However, when there is something interesting to see, it is a major problem.

Presumably the high resolution imagery exists in Google Earth’s imagery servers. Do any of our readers know of a way to get Google Earth to load it?

To find some of the locations mentioned in this post download this KML file. For best results when viewing offshore satellite imagery, turn off the water surface effect, and if you have Google Earth Pro, turn off the ‘Terrain’ layer.

The post Low resolution images over the ocean appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Google Maps Gallery drops Google Maps Engine

mar 02-06-2015

Released in February 2014 the Google Maps Gallery is a good way to find interesting maps that are based on Google’s mapping products. The Gallery used to include maps from several Google products, including Google Maps Engine(GME) and Google My Maps.

In January of this year, Google Maps Engine was deprecated by Google and it will be turned off on January 29th, 2016. As part of this deprecation, Google initially stopped allowing GME users to publish their maps to the Google Maps Gallery, and in the last week have removed all GME maps from the Gallery.

In addition, Google has recently retired one of its older authentication API’s known as OAuth 1.0 which was deprecated in April 2012 in preference for OAuth 2.0.

There is a special type of KML network link that causes Google Earth to load the linked data as a layer in ‘Layers’ instead of the usual ‘Places’. Maps loaded this way cannot be copied/edited or rather annoyingly even bookmarked. This allows map publishers to let users view their maps but not easily copy them. We believe that Google Earth used OAuth 1.0 for this type of network link.

Because of the retirement of OAuth 1.0, a couple of weeks ago Google pushed out Google Earth version 7.1.5, which includes the new OAuth 2.0. Google then sent out an email to GME users stating that users wishing to view their GME maps in Google Earth will need to upgrade to version 7.1.5. As of this writing however, we are still able to open some public GME maps in older versions of Google Earth.

Last year we showed you two different ways to open maps from the Google Maps Gallery in Google Earth. At the time, clicking the “View in Google Earth” button always loaded the map via Google’s special network link that loaded the maps in ‘Layers’. However, that has now been changed so that they load as ordinary KML’s in ‘Places’.

So, what do the above changes mean to you? We do recommend upgrading to the latest version of Google Earth – find download links at the end of this post. If you have public GME maps, they are no-longer easy to find on the Gallery so, consider porting them to My Maps or finding other ways to publicise them. Google’s own ‘Imagery Updates’ maps are no-longer easy to find and even if you know where to find them it is not obvious how to view them in Google Earth. For example this map has no obvious “View in Google Earth” or “download as KML” options. However, it is possible to view it using this KML file and by looking at the format of that URL, you can view other GME maps in the same way.


Google Maps Galley, a great way to find interesting maps.

It is possible to view the Google Maps Gallery using Google Earth’s internal browser by using the “Earth Gallery” button found at the right of the “Layers” header. However, Google Earth has a tendency of crashing when viewing the Gallery this way due to its internal browser being somewhat outdated. We recommend either going directly to the Maps Gallery website in your browser or configuring Google Earth to open web pages in an external browser. To do this go to Tools->Options->General and tick “Show web results in external browser”.

The post Google Maps Gallery drops Google Maps Engine appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

China building islands in the Spratlys

lun 01-06-2015

In the past we have looked at an island that doesn’t exist, islands being formed, islands combining to form a bigger island and a disappearing islet. Today we are looking at how China is turning reefs into islands.

A couple of months ago there was a story about China building an Airport and other military installations in the Spratley Islands. However, at the time, the relevant satellite imagery was not available in Google Earth. In April, [Google added imagery for most of the Spratley islands, but not the most interesting one – Fiery Cross Reef. However, Google did add it during May, so now we can have a look at it.

For more on the story and detailed analysis of what can be seen in the imagery see this story, which covers activity throughout the Spratley islands, and this one that focuses on the airport on Fiery Cross Reef.


Fiery Cross Reef – an airport and harbour being constructed.


Johnson South Reef – buildings and harbour being constructed.


Hughes Reef – buildings and harbour being constructed.


Gaven Reef – buildings and harbour being constructed.


Cuarteron Reef – buildings and harbour being constructed.


Mischief Reef – land reclamation just starting.


Subi Reef – land reclamation just starting.

We highly recommend looking at the locations in Google Earth as there is plenty to see. To find them, download this KML file.

Also interesting is that several of the images have too much red, which looks especially bad where there is land. We believe this is colour correction gone wrong as a result of the strong blues and greens of the ocean.

The post China building islands in the Spratlys appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

The best of Google Earth for May 2015

ven 29-05-2015

We spent quite a lot of May looking at interesting satellite imagery, most of which was added to Google Earth in either April or May.

We looked at imagery in Nepal captured after the April 25th earthquake and then again at imagery captured after the May 12th aftershock. We had a look at bomb damage at Sana’a Airport in Yemen, and the oil slick from an oil platform that had exploded in the gulf of Mexico.

We were impressed by how good some of the artwork of Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada looks in Google Earth. We had actually been keeping a close eye on Washington in the hope that his ‘Out of Many, One’ piece would make it into Google Earth and are happy that it did. We had not known about the ‘Grounding Gratitude’ piece until we did the research for the post.

On the 3D imagery front, the biggest news of the month was that South Africa saw its first 3D cities – the first in Africa. In addition, two other countries, Kosovo and Montenegro got their first 3D imagery. March, April and May have seen a significant increase in the rate of 3D releases and GEB reader Andrew Leahy has speculated that this may be in preparation for Google I/O which is currently in progress (May 28 and 29). Google I/O is an annual software developer conference in which Google announces some of their biggest releases and future plans. We will be watching for any Google Earth / Maps related talks.

Also this month, Google released a new minor update to Google Earth – 7.1.5. The main reason for the update being the deprecation of the authentication protocol that Google Earth used, which means that if you do not upgrade, you will not be able to sign in to Google Earth with your Google account after the 30th of May. Most notably, this will mean you will not be able to access Google Maps Engine maps in Google Earth. We believe this applies only to private maps but will test early next month to see if it also affects public maps such as Google’s imagery updates maps, which do not require a sign-in.

One of the most interesting stories this month was the how the Google Earth Community assisted in a rescue by quickly identifying a location from a satellite image.



What was your favourite story of the month?

The post The best of Google Earth for May 2015 appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Rochelle/Fairdale Tornado Damage now Visible in Google Earth

jeu 28-05-2015

We have looked at tornado damage in Google Earth a number of times before, including tornado’s that struck the US towns of:
Pilger, Nebraska and Wessington Springs, South Dakota
Mayflower, Arkansas – May 2014
Moore, Oklahoma – May, 2013
Joplin, Missouri – May 2011
Tuscaloosa and Jefferson County, Alabama – April 2011
Yazoo City, Mississippi – April 2010
Greensburg, Kansas – May 2007

On April 9th, 2015 a tornado struck near the town of Rochelle, Illinois. For ground level videos and photos see this story. Considering the amount of damage visible in Google Earth, it is amazing that only two people lost their lives.


The image from April 11th, 2015 was captured just two days after the tornado struck and clearly shows the scar left by the tornado right across the image, over 30km.


About half the town of Fairdale, Illinois was completely destroyed.


Some houses near the town of Rochelle, Illinois. Notice all the cars lining the roads. Presumably a mix of rescue workers making sure there is nobody still trapped in the debris, news reporters and curious onlookers.

To see the above imagery in Google Earth, you will need to look in ‘historical imagery’. You can also download this KML file which shows the locations of all the tornado’s we have covered in the past including this one.

The post Rochelle/Fairdale Tornado Damage now Visible in Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

This Land Was Our Land – World’s Largest Graffiti Mural

mer 27-05-2015

Yesterday we looked at some large art pieces by Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada.

Thank you to GEB reader Ryen McPherson for letting us know about a recent Graffiti project on an abandoned airstrip in the Mojave Desert, California, USA. The piece is by a group called ‘Indecline.’ It is not yet visible in Google Earth imagery, but Ryen kindly sent us some aerial photos, which we have put into this KML so you can view them in Google Earth.

If you are wondering what the message means, here is an explanation from ‘Indecline':

When Woody Guthrie penned “This Land is Our Land” in February of Nineteen Forty, the frontier still felt freshly settled and, despite the recent Depression, there was still a prevailing sense of national optimism. Which led us right into the Second Great War, the Atomic Bomb, the Cold War, national paranoia and Red-baiting, the eventual rise of the Corporate State in patriotic opposition to Communism, and finally, as a result of rampant overconsumption, our latest existential crisis of species: Global Warming. We thought, in lieu of all this, that Woody might be due for an update, so we found a decommissioned 3000-by-65-foot runway from an old World War II bomb-testing site, got together a few of our buddies, and made a monument to our rather precarious times.

This Land Was Our Land—both literally, in the sense that acres of remote desert were used up and discarded by our government in order to improve our ability to drop bombs on people in far off lands (who constitute a threat just because they peddle a different set of ideals than us;) and also figuratively, as in we as a species are presently embroiled in the constantly accelerating process of using up and discarding this planet as a whole.

It was ours, and it easily could be ours again. The only thing that needs to change is that we take responsibility for it.

Fight on,

Indecline.

Ryen has said that it is the largest graffiti mural in the world and we believe he is correct. There are larger examples of writing such as the word ‘LUECKE’ written in trees which has been called graffiti, and there was the ‘Steph loves you’ message written in tire tracks, but neither qualifies as a mural. The Guinness Book of Records lists the longest graffiti scroll as ‘Rehlatna’ and at 2.2km it is over twice the length of ‘This Land Was Our Land’. However, ‘Rehlatna’ was not a single mural but rather a continuous wall with many murals along its length. The wall of the ‘Rehlatna’ mural is visible in Google Earth, but you cannot see the murals on it. Find it with this KML file.

The post This Land Was Our Land – World’s Largest Graffiti Mural appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

The artwork of Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada in Google Earth

mar 26-05-2015

We have a number of times looked at art work large enough to see in Google Earth, including some of the largest pieces of art in the world.

Just over a year ago, we had a look at a piece of art called ‘WISH’ by Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada. Although Google Earth does not have any imagery of it, we created an image overlay so that you could see it in Google Earth.

Recently, some imagery of Washington DC, USA, has been added to Google Earth, and it shows another of Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada’s pieces called ‘Out of One, Many’ on the lawn near the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.


‘Out of One, Many’ by Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada.

We had a look at the locations of some of his other large artwork and found one other that is visible in Google Earth’s imagery. It is called ‘Grounding Gratitude’ and is in Paris, France.


‘Grounding Gratitude’ by Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada.

We identified the locations of most of his other large pieces, and have created image overlays or photos for you to view in Google Earth by downloading this KML file

The post The artwork of Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada in Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

New Version of Google Earth 7.1.5.1557

lun 25-05-2015

[Update 2: It appears that this release is necessary for viewing Google Maps Gallery maps including public maps that do not normally require a sign in. However, public Google Maps Engine maps such as the Monthly Imagery Updates map appear to still work. In addition, Google Maps Engine maps have been removed from the Google Maps Gallery and there is a message saying they are no-longer supported by the Gallery]

[Update 1: Apparently this release is necessary for viewing maps from Google Maps Engine in Google Earth after May 29, 2015. This probably only applies to private maps that require you to log-in to Google Earth and not to public maps.]

Thank you to GEB reader ‘A.C.’ for alerting us to the fact that Google has released a new minor version of Google Earth. This release comes just under a month after the previous update, which was the first update in nearly two years.

This update actually has some release notes that tell us what has been changed:

  • The Google account sign-in process was updated from OAuth 1.0 to OAuth 2.0, given the deprecation of Oauth 1.0. Users of all previous versions of Earth will not be able to sign-in with their Google accounts after May 30th, 2015.
  • Fixes issues with the auto-update process on Mac OS X.

The sign-in process mentioned is not the licence sign-in currently required in Google Earth Pro, but rather the sign-in option found at the far right of the tool bar that allows you to sign-in with a Google account. Signing in with a Google account makes it easy to share a screen shot to Google+, send an Email with an image, View, or Placemark, or post to the Google Earth Community forum. The latter probably no-longer works anyway, as the Google Earth Community recently moved. In our case the option is greyed out, probably because the Google Account we tested with is not a member of the old Google Earth Community. The link to the Google Earth Community found in the Help menu still points to the old community website.

If you do use the above feature, or have had problems with Google Earth updates on Mac OS X, then you may want to manually update to this new version. Otherwise, don’t bother and just let Google’s auto-update process update your Google Earth on their schedule. Having said that, we have a laptop which has not yet auto-updated to the 7.1.4 version released last month.

If you do wish to manually update you can try downloading from Google’s usual download site. Keep in mind that Google rolls out updates over a period of several weeks so not everybody will get the latest version from that site immediately.

In addition, here are some direct download links specifically for the 7.1.5 release:
Windows Earth+Plugin
Windows Earth Pro
Mac Earth+Plugin
Mac Earth
Mac Earth Pro

The post New Version of Google Earth 7.1.5.1557 appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

New Nepal Imagery following May 12th Aftershock

ven 22-05-2015

Last week we talked about the new imagery in Google Earth following the April 25th Nepal earthquake.

On May 12th Nepal experienced a major aftershock consisting of a magnitude 7.3 earthquake. Just one week later Google Earth already has imagery of Kathmandu and surrounding areas captured on May 14th, 2015.


Left: December 18th, 2014. Right: May 14th, 2015.

Above: A hillside in Sindhupalchowk, north-west of Kathmandu. According to Wikipedia, between the two quakes, 95% of this area’s houses were destroyed.


Left: November 2nd, 2014, Right: May 14th, 2015

Above: The Dharahara tower. Its collapse reportedly killed at least 180 people.

The new May 14th imagery has replaced imagery from May 3rd. Several locations which showed piles of debris from collapsed buildings appear to have been cleaned up since then. We cannot do comparisons as the May 3rd imagery has not yet been put into ‘historical imagery’.

For the locations in this post as well as some other locations we have identified around Kathmandu based on this BBC article download this KML file. For best results, check again in a few weeks when the May 3rd imagery makes it into ‘historical imagery’.

The post New Nepal Imagery following May 12th Aftershock appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

The Oslo Blur

jeu 21-05-2015

In September last year, soon after we first released our KML showing the areas covered by 3D imagery, GEB reader ‘bubollofo’ pointed out that there was a blurred square of imagery over Olso, Norway.

Earlier this month we noticed that the blur appeared to have been fixed. However, several readers (thank you Frank and Ryan K) have since pointed out that it has only been fixed in the recently released version of Google Earth and can still be seen in the older version. The blur is in the 3D imagery so you will need to turn on the 3D buildings layer and have the older version of Google Earth in order to see it.


Oslo as seen in Google Earth version v7.1.2.2041


Oslo as seen in Google Earth version v7.1.4.1529

We found this interesting, as we had assumed the problem was with the data and not the Google Earth client, but this finding suggests that the problem is either with the client itself or something to do with communication between the client and image server.

Do any of our readers know of any other locations that look different in the new version of Google Earth?

To find the location discussed in this post download this KML file

The post The Oslo Blur appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Average Cloud Cover Map and Map Projections

mer 20-05-2015

We recently came across this article about a recently released map of average cloud cover for the last 13 years produced by NASA.

The map is provided in the form of an image and a high resolution version can be downloaded from NASA. It would have been nice to view it Google Earth. However, it is provided with a different map projection than is used by Google Earth image overlays. This is usually not much of a problem for small image overlays, but for global maps it is critical. Google Earth image overlays need to be in the Equirectangular Projection. The NASA cloud cover map is provided in the Hammer Projection.

Do any of our readers know of an easy way to convert global images from one projection to another? NASA provides this tool to convert from the Equirectangular Projection to a wide variety of other projections, but it doesn’t convert the other way.

NASA does provide daily and monthly images of cloud cover maps in the Equirectangular Projection. NASA includes the option to download them as KMZ files ready to be viewed in Google Earth.


NASA’s average cloud cover map for April, 2015 as seen in Google Earth. To see it for yourself download this KMZ file

Antarctica is of particular interest. It appears to have three distinct zones of cloud density. We guess that these correspond to:

  • A region offshore with pack ice.
  • The coastal ice shelves.
  • The actual land, which is higher than the ice shelves.

Can any of our readers give a more scientific explanation?

The post Average Cloud Cover Map and Map Projections appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Sana’a Airport bomb damage

mar 19-05-2015

Thank you to GEB reader AC for pointing us to the recently added imagery of Sana’a Airport in Yemen. The image comes from DigitalGlobe and was captured on March 27th, 2015.


Before and after images of buildings destroyed at Sana’a Airport, Yemen.

The conflict in Yemen is ongoing and the airport has been struck a number of times since March, including the bombing of the aircraft seen in this article. So check the location again in a month or two to see if new imagery gets added.

To see the buildings shown above and a couple of other noteworthy locations, download this KML file.

The post Sana’a Airport bomb damage appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Oil Slick from Oil Platform Explosion in Google Earth

lun 18-05-2015

Most oil platforms can not be seen in Google Earth. This is because Google and its imagery providers do not bother with imagery of the oceans far from the coast unless there is something of particular interest. Back in 2006 Google Sightseeing was able to find a few oil platforms in Google Earth’s imagery, which they showcase in this post.

In March we told you about DigitalGlobe’s First Look program and its public map showing where imagery has been captured of particular events. One such event was an explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 1st, 2015. DigitalGlobe captured imagery of the location on April 5th, which shows an oil slick coming from the platform.

To find the location of the oil rig above in Google Earth download this KML file.

Several images from before and after the event have been added to Google Earth in the area and a number of other oil rigs can be seen in the imagery. The imagery can only be seen in ‘historical imagery’. Many of the oil rigs show plumes of smoke but these are normal gas flares. If you turn on the ‘Earth City Lights’ layer (found in Gallery->NASA), you will notice a very bright area where the above oil rigs are due to the gas flares.

If you turn on the ‘photos’ layer you can find a number of pictures of oil rigs in the region.

The post Oil Slick from Oil Platform Explosion in Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Beautiful Satellite Imagery we won’t be Seeing in Google Earth

ven 15-05-2015

The imagery in Google Earth is carefully selected to be as cloud-free and snow-cover-free as possible. This makes for a good, clear picture of features on the ground, but it does mean we are missing out on what the earth really looks like from above most of the time.

To get an idea of what the earth really looks like from space, one can browse the Landsat data, which was made freely available on AWS back in March.

Google sometimes includes imagery with significant cloud cover when there is something of particular interest in the imagery. A good example of this is some US towns that suffered tornado damage that we have looked at in Google Earth. If you look at the locations of those towns in ‘historical imagery’ you will immediately notice patches of cloudy imagery covering the locations and dated soon after the events. We even saw in yesterday’s post an example of some false colour imagery being used.

Although clouds do obscure the ground features, they can be quite beautiful. We recently came across two examples we thought were worth sharing:


Vortices formed in clouds downwind of the Crozet Islands in the southern Indian Ocean.
This above image comes from NASA. We discovered it via the Google Earth Community forums.


Sunset over the Nile, taken by Italian ISS astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

See the original image on NASA’s website. We found it via this article. In addition to clouds, it features sunlight at an unusually low angle, something we do not usually see in Google Earth.

The post Beautiful Satellite Imagery we won’t be Seeing in Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Post-earthquake Imagery of Nepal in Google Earth

jeu 14-05-2015

[Update: Thank you to GEB reader AC for pointing out that the Kathmandu imagery is actually May 3rd imagery (I read the dates wrong) and does show earthquake damage.]

We have been keeping an eye on Nepal in Google Earth to see if any post-earthquake imagery gets added. We found quite a lot of March imagery that was captured before the Earthquake, but added to Google Earth in the last couple of weeks. There is also a fairly large image captured on May 5th, 2015 just over a week after the earthquake.

We also found two small areas with imagery from April 27th, 2015 captured just a couple of days after the earthquake. Interestingly though, they are false colour images and all the trees look red. Most likely a satellite designed to take images only in infra-red that was available at the time, captured imagery of the location and Google has decided the imagery is useful enough to include.

The latest imagery has not yet been added to ‘historical imagery’ so we can’t check the extent of the full image. It is likely a much larger image than what we can see and was probably intended by Google to be visible only in ‘historical imagery’.


Interesting false colour imagery in Nepal captured just days after the earthquake.

To find the above patches of red imagery, and see the approximate extent of the May 5th image, download this KML file.

We have not been able to identify any earthquake damage in any of the imagery. If you spot anything of interest, please let us know in the comments.

The post Post-earthquake Imagery of Nepal in Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Google Earth Community to the Rescue

mer 13-05-2015

We recently came across this interesting thread on the new Google Earth Community.

Apparently a woman was driving through a park in Lithuania with her sister. They got stuck in the mud and didn’t know where they were. They did have a cell phone, but did not know how to send their GPS coordinates. So instead, they posted a screenshot from Google Maps on Facebook. Soon after, the cell phone battery died making further communication impossible. Someone then posted the image on the Google Earth Community website asking if anyone could help find the exact location. Google Earth Community member ‘krenek’ found and posted the location, which was used by the search team to successfully locate the car, and a kilometre away, the two women, who had spent the night in the car and then decided to set off on foot in search of help.

Well done ‘krenek’ and the Google Earth Community!


The image that was used in the rescue.

To see the location in Google Earth, use this KML file that was posted on the Google Earth community by ‘krenek’.

We have looked at similar rescue stories in the past, such as this one, where a lost family was rescued with help from landmarks identified in Google Earth. Back in 2007 famed adventurer Steve Fossett went missing and there was an attempt to find him using satellite imagery. Sadly the search was unsuccessful. The crash site was only identified a year later. You can read more about it on Wikipedia.

The post Google Earth Community to the Rescue appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones

Google Rolling out 3D at an Extraordinary Rate

mar 12-05-2015

As we mentioned in our month-end post, over the last couple of months, Google has stepped up the rate at which they are releasing 3D imagery.

Most notably in the last week Google has added areas in three new countries: South Africa, Kosovo and Montenegro. The imagery in the three new countries appears to have been captured in the second half of 2014.

As usual, you can see the extent of Goolge’s 3D coverage with our KML file and let us know about new areas in the comments of this post. Keep in mind that it can take us several days to add new finds to the KML. As always, a big thank you to Anton Rudolfsson for tracing the areas for the KML, and to all the GEB readers who find new areas.

Although Google has removed its 3D Imagery map from the Google Maps Gallery, the map still exists and Google has updated it with the latest additions. You can use this KML file to view it in Google Earth.


Google pays special attention to bridge models, such as this interesting design in Podgorica, Montenegro.


Some unusually colourful buildings at a sewage plant in Gottingen, Germany.

For the above locations, and a couple of other places of interest in the new imagery, download this KML file.

The post Google Rolling out 3D at an Extraordinary Rate appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Catégories: Sites Anglophones