Google Earth Blog
We saw some amazing new Google Earth-related stories in June, and here are some of my favorites.
We saw an amazing use of historical Street View imagery in Detroit, showing the rapid decay of some neighborhoods.
Hurricane season has begun, and Google has some tips for staying on top of the weather.
DigitalGlobe announced that they will be allowed to sell higher resolution imagery to companies such as Google, so look for that in the coming months.
We took a look at some more famous movie locations in Google Earth.
Thanks to Google Sightseeing, we looked at the rapid growth of kudzu in the United States.
We showed you the 12 stadiums being used for the 2014 World Cup.
The 2014 Tour de France begins soon, so we showed you a map of the entire course.
What was your favorite story from June?
We get a few emails every week from people asking how they can get their image removed from Google Street View, so we thought we’d discuss it here. Thankfully, it’s a fairly simple process.
As you likely know, Google automatically blurs any faces or license plate numbers that appear in the imagery, as seen here:
However, sometimes a face will be missed or you’ll have some other reason to request that an image be removed. The steps are as follows:
- Locate the image in Street View.
- Click “Report a problem” in the bottom-right of the image window.
- Complete the form and click “Submit”.
That’s it! They’ll review your report and take appropriate action. You can use a similar technique in Google Maps to help update the map if you see any incorrect information (misspelled street names, etc).
For more, check out the privacy section on the Google Street View website.
Each course features a map overview, elevation profile, and a 3D tour. Check it all out for yourself at http://www.cyclingthealps.com/#tour-de-france-2014-stages. The race starts on July 5, be sure to keep an eye on Cycling the Alps to see what the riders are up against at each stage.
Google I/O, the company’s annual conference, begins today in San Francisco. There’s no word if we’ll see anything for Google Earth unveiled, but Google Maps will certainly have a solid presence. From the Google Geo Developers blog:
Google I/O starts tomorrow, and as always, Google Maps is a big part of the show. The team has been working hard to give developers a great experience. We’re looking forward to seeing you there, or your comments online on our videos. There will be lots of maps engineers, developer relations team members, product managers and more around I/O. So if you’re there, find us, say hi and show us your apps!
In their post yesterday, Mano Marks laid out the four different Maps-related sessions that will be offered this year at I/O. He also showed off a new video they’ve released, titled “Map Up your Apps!”, encouraging mobile app developers to integrate Google Maps.
The four Maps-focused sessions sound interesting, and we’ll certainly keep you posted on any Google Earth news that comes out of I/O.
Will any of you be in attendance at I/O?
Private Expeditions is a company founded by Paul and Jane Deakin, that takes people to some of the largest mountains around the world, such as Kilimanjaro, Everest and Machu Picchu, for private expeditions. They’ve recently added narrated videos that heavily feature Google Earth imagery to help show details of each of their routes. A great example is this route map of Mera Peak in Nepal:
From their press release:
The popular company recently launched 3D videos of all its trekking routes. These high-quality videos use Google Earth technology to show potential hikers the exact trails they will take when traveling with Private Expeditions. With a concise narration, graphic trail designation, and added photos of climbing conditions, the 3D videos give viewers a sense of where they are headed when choosing a particular route.
It’s a great use of Google Earth and an excellent way to help show this kind of information. I would hope that they’d release this data in a format that you can explore on your own, such as a KML, but for now it’s simply embedded in their videos.
Learn more and see the videos for yourself at PrivateExpeditions.com.
The 2014 World Cup is well underway, being played in 12 beautiful stadiums across Brazil. All 12 stadiums have awesome 3D models in Google Earth, so we thought we’d show them off to you. Here is an example of a model in Google Earth; this is Arena de São Paulo, located in São Paulo, Brazil.
The other stadiums look equally amazing, many of which seemed to have been auto-generated using Google’s 3D Imagery technique. We’ve put together a Google Earth KML file for you to download, that will fly you directly to each of the 12 stadiums so you can view them for yourself. Grab the file here and have fun exploring!
Living in the southeast United States, I’m very familiar with the vine known as kudzu. Introduced to the US from Japan in 1876, kudzu is spreading at an amazing rate of 150,000 acres each year. Kyle Kusch at Google Sightseeing has taken advantage of Google Street View imagery to showcase some amazing examples of kudzu growth.
Thanks to Street View’s historical imagery feature, we can look back to 2007 and see the same building with virtually no growth on it.
You can also read the Wikipedia article about kudzu to learn more about it and how to combat its growth.
Eight years ago, Frank shared with us a neat KML file that showed the locations of famous movies around the world, and now the folks at SkyMoviesHD have compiled a great list of 30 locations using Google Earth and Street View imagery.
Recognize this baseball field from “Field of Dreams”?
Or this fire station from “Ghostbusters”?
They have a great collection of locations, but sadly don’t offer a KML to quickly view them all. However, most have pretty solid descriptions and should enable you to find them for yourself. Check out the full collection of them on the SkyMoviesHD site.
GEB reader “fjk” recently biked through Romania and Georgia and did an excellent job of showcasing his trip in Google Earth.
fjk and his friend visited Kutaisi, borjomi, Vardzia and various other cities. They recorded the trip via a Garmin 62s GPS unit, and then loaded all of the images into a single Google Earth file. It’s fairly large, at around 29MB, but it’s a fun file to explore in Google Earth. You can download that KMZ file here.
You can also view the embedded version on his website. It’s a great way to capture, re-live and share a trip like that.
Great work, fjk!
The post Traveling through Romania and Georgia with Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
We first told you about YoubeQ nearly three years ago, and they’ve been hard at working continually adding features.
You can try it all for yourself at youbeq.com or read below for their list of new features.
In this new version, we have introduced, for the first time, new foreign languages, besides English. Now, YoubeQ users can also choose either Portuguese or Spanish.
The new youbeQ enables its explorers to travel around the world with 13 different vehicles, from cars, motorcycles, to military or civil planes and even more means of transport such as the jetpack.
In order to help the travelers exploring the earth, we’ve pre-selected the 157 most interesting places around the world where they will be able to see other travelers exploring these areas with them.
Make miles to unlock
The new youbeQ is developed in order to entice the user to run more and more miles. The users who travel more, will be rewarded by unlocking new vehicles and places associated with each of them. The more miles you run, the richer the experience becomes!
There is also a global chat where users may exchange opinions and tips about interesting places and other knowledge.
VOIP Call feature
Whenever you add another traveler as a friend, you may activate the voice connection with him. This allows you to have a completely immersive experience while you explore the earth together.
If you click on the map on the left side (2D), you may add a destination. On the exploiter, you’ll see an arrow that shows you the direction to follow in order to reach the destination you selected. This destination can also be a user and can follow him while he is moving and you are exploring the map together.
The more vehicles you gather and the more unblocked places you get a better score. This together with a complete profile will contribute to improve your score, estimated between 0 and 100%.
New sound engine
The new youbeQ also brought a new sound system that will increase the immersive experience you obtain when you explore the earth.
New physics engine
The new physics engine of youbeQ is a complete revolution. It allows you to have vehicles with separate components (for example, the wheels of the vehicles and lights). In a near future, collisions between vehicles will be a reality.
The post YoubeQ adds new languages, vehicles, places and more appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
Last week DigitalGlobe, one of the primary suppliers of imagery for Google Earth, was given permission to sell higher resolution imagery. Previously they’ve been limited to selling 50 centimeter imagery, but that limitation has been dropped. They’ll now be able to sell their 41 centimeter imagery, and that will drop to 25 centimeter later this year.
While the difference doesn’t sound like much, Mapbox did a great comparison showing how much better 40 centimeter imagery looks when compared to 50 centimeter imagery.
If going from 50 cm resolution to 40 cm resolution sounds like a small change at first, remember that we’re talking about square pixels. When square A is only ¼ longer on a side than square B, it contains more than 150% as much area. Therefore, a slightly smaller linear size means a lot more clarity.
No word on when exactly we’ll begin to see this new imagery, but it sounds like we’ll see some of it within the next few months.
(via the Verge)
Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum from 250 Miles are trying to create a NavDoc of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this year and they need your help. They explain the word “NavDoc” as follows:
Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum, operating under the name PolakVanBekkum, invented the term NavDoc for their project “250 Miles Crossing Philadelphia,” which will be executed in the second half of 2014.
For those who do not know, you can make movies in Google Earth! The NavDoc that PolakVanBekkum will be producing will solely run in Google Earth. This feature is mostly used for presentations about geography-related events. PolakVanBekkum use it, amongst other media, for a more poetic visualization of their work.
It’s a great idea and a very ambitious project. You can follow their progress on 250miles.net.
Hurricane season is here, and Google has recently put out a helpful blog posts with tips for staying safe. Specifically, they suggest three things:
Make sure your phone will receive Public Alerts
Google Public Alerts, launched two years ago, is a tool that sends people alerts from authoritative sources like the U.S. National Weather Service or the Japan Meteorological Agency during emergencies. They’re accessible through the Google search app on your mobile devices and Google Chrome on your computer, as well as in search results for related queries and on Google Maps when relevant.
Install emergency preparedness apps
There are a number of great apps which can help you prepare for or outlast an emergency. For example, a flashlight app can be useful if the power goes out and you don’t have access to a regular flashlight (use a regular flashlight if you can to conserve your phone’s battery). The first-aid and disaster preparedness apps from the Red Cross have a lot of valuable information. And the official FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) app has information on how to stay safe during a disaster, the locations of FEMA disaster recovery stations, and more.
Get helpful gadgets
A waterproof phone case can help protect your phone during floods or heavy rains and a portable solar-powered charger will help keep your phone’s battery alive. It may also be a good idea to invest in a cell phone signal booster which gives you a greater chance of connecting to an operational cell tower.
Beyond those tips, there are ways to watch and track severe weather using Google Earth. Hurricane data can be found in the main “places” layer of Google Earth, and there are many other great tools to help track the weather by using other layers and downloadable files.
Check out the full post on the Google Lat Long Blog and stay safe out there!
It was just recently that Google released their historical Street View feature, and we already have an amazing example of what can be found in there.
Using Google Street View’s historical imagery (and sometimes a bit of Bing imagery), the GooBing Detroit blog showcases some heartbreaking scenes around the city. For example, here is a series of photos from 2009-2013 on Exeter between Seven Mile and Penrose in northern Detroit.
The blog is both incredibly amazing and shockingly sad. I encourage you to check out the full blog to see the items that Alex has assembled on the page.
(via +Mike Elgan)
The post Historical Street View imagery shows Detroit being reclaimed by nature appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
Google has just announced that they’ve purchased Skybox Imaging for $500 million, in an effort to help keep imagery updated more rapidly, improve global internet access, and assist in disaster relief.
Google’s press release on the acquisition was short and to the point:
Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to buy Skybox Imaging for $500 million in cash, subject to adjustments.
Skybox’s satellites will help keep Google Maps accurate with up-to-date imagery. Over time, we also hope that Skybox’s team and technology will be able to help improve Internet access and disaster relief — areas Google has long been interested in.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals in the US.
You can also read more on the Skybox blog.
Back in 2012, Google released some amazing underwater Street View imagery from a few areas around the world. As part of World Oceans Day last Sunday, Google has released some additional underwater Street View imagery that is equally stunning. In partnership with the Catlin Seaview Survey, you can now dive and explore some additional locations in Belize and the Philippines including the Belize Barrier Reef and Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park.
From the Google Lat Long Blog:
The Catlin Seaview Survey team has documented many underwater locales around the world using their 360-degree panoramic SVII cameras, including a growing number of UNESCO Marine World Heritage Sites. We’ll continue to add this imagery to Street View in Google Maps as it’s collected. In the spirit of World Oceans Day, the goal of this project is to expose the world to the beauty of these marine habitats, and to create a scientific baseline record so that their changing health can be monitored over time.
You can also check out this article from last year that discusses some of the technical hurdles that they face when working to capture this kind of imagery.
Thanks to a tip from GEB reader ‘Anthony’, we see that Christchurch, New Zealand is now shown in full 3D thanks to Google’s “3D Imagery“.
As with all 3D cities (a list of which can be found on Wikipedia), things look awesome from the air, but get a bit melted when you get in close. That said, the streets (for the most part) are flat and smooth, as compared to some past cities that are quite lumpy. In all, it seems that Google is continuing to refine their process for adding 3D imagery and each new city looks a bit better than the previous one.
I’m still holding out hope that they eventually integrate 3d imagery with their street view imagery. They did it four years ago on the old-style 3d buildings, and it looked amazing. I’m sure the technical hurdles are much higher when working with 3d imagery, but I’m guessing they’ll get there eventually.
Alan Parkinson has pointed us to a fun resource from the folks at Geography All The Way — a challenge that takes you back to 1937 as a pilot for Imperial Airlines.
The year is 1937 and you work for Imperial Airways. The company has just taken delivery of a small fleet of Short Empire Flying Boats, with a range of 1200 km and an average speed of 300 km/h.
Your job is to design a route so that Imperial Airways can use their Short Empire Flying Boats to fly paying customers from Southampton, United Kingdom to Cape Town, South Africa.
You need to decide as a class the maximum safe distance for a flight leg, the time taken to refuel the flying boats and the earliest and latest the planes can fly. In 1937 planes did have radar so would not fly at night!
Use Google Earth, with it’s measurement tool, to design your route. Each stop needs to be at a settlement with a significant population. Your route should be submitted as a single Google Earth file with the placemarks in the correct order.
You should produce a route card that includes the start and end point of each leg of the journey, the distance, the duration and the take off and landing times.
The post provides additional tips on using tools such as the Google Earth Ruler and Google Spreadsheets to help facilitate your work. All in all, it’d be a fun challenge for a geography student to tackle!
The 2014 World Cup is a week away, and Google has just released Street View imagery for all 12 stadiums. As you’d expect, the imagery is very sharp and looks great!
In addition, Google has released imagery for the “painted streets” in Brazil:
The post Google releases Street View imagery for all 12 World Cup stadiums in Brazil appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
While Google has published Street View imagery for an amazing collection of countries around the world, one they’ve never covered before is Greece. That is set to change, potentially tomorrow (June 5).
Thanks to a tip from GEB reader ‘Konstantinos’, we’ve learned that Google has invited select people to an event announcing the new imagery, where presumably details will be revealed and the imagery will be pushed live.
The story of Street View in Greece goes back for years. Street View cars first appeared in Athens in April of 2009 but the Greek Data Regulator rejected Google’s license application, demanding from Google more details. Four years letter (November 2013), they finally announced that they received all the necessary details from Google and they gave the final OK, with the license plates and faces to be erased from the maps.
Thanks for the tip, Konstantios!