Google Earth Blog
We’ve talked about crime on here quite a lot over the years, many of which we discussed in this post last year.
Scott Dickson at Bair Analytics recently wrote a post that talks about some of the ways that he uses Google Earth to help with crime analysis. He talks about some great ways to use basic features, such as:
Another feature I use quite often is the “Show Ruler” tool. This tool allows you to measure distances on your maps. There are a number of criminal law penalty enhancements in Texas that increase penalties for offenses if they occur within a specified distance of a school. This tool allows you to easily determine just how close the offender was to that certain geographic feature.
He also talks about his bigger picture use of Earth:
Google Earth also makes it very easy to export your map as an image file that you can then drop into a report or presentation. I use this feature quite often when I create briefings on crime series or other types of bulletins. The old adage about a picture being worth a thousand words is true. By including maps in your presentations or briefings you can easily communicate geographic relationships. They also make your reports visually appealing.
It’s an excellent use of Google Earth, and it’s worth reading his full post at BairAnalytics.com to learn more.
Google Earth and Google Maps used to be very different products, but over the past few years they’ve become much more similar. This is largely due to the addition of new features to Google Maps, such as support for 3D Imagery and other features that used to only be available in Google Earth.
The folks at Social Bubble recently wrote a post that discusses some of the difference between Earth and Maps. That inspired us to take it a bit further and lay out some of the differences.
To start, there are a handful of similarities between both programs. They both feature the same satellite imagery, allow you to search for locations, save places and get directions. In addition, both feature Street View imagery.
Google Maps offers a few advantages over Google Earth. It keeps your data synced across devices, has excellent turn-by-turn navigation features, and allows you to go into the past with historical Street View imagery. They recently crossed the one billion download mark, a testament to how popular it is.
While Google Maps is more convenient when you’re on the go (largely due to the turn-by-turn navigation), Google Earth has a lot of features that make it more powerful for digging in. Earth offers additional 3D content, makes it easier to stack layers of information, allows you to use special controllers such as the SpaceNavigator and the LEAP Motion, has an excellent flight simulator feature, allows you to view historical aerial imagery, and gives you additional tools such as the ruler and elevation profiles.
What is your favorite feature that you can only find in Google Earth?
The post The differences between Google Earth and Google Maps appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
(We first posted this three years ago, but sadly Louis Zamperini passed away last week so I thought it’d be a good time to check this out again. Enjoy.)
Last year, Laura Hillenbrand released a book titled “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption“, based on the life of Louis Zamperini (details on Amazon). The book has been very popular, quickly becoming a best-seller and recently being picked up by Universal Studios to be turned into a movie.
The life of Zamperini is amazing, and the book is excellent. Zamperini, a world-class runner that competed in the Berlin Olympics in 1936, is drafted into World War II. He fights a number of missions before his plane goes down and he’s trapped in a raft at sea. After 46 days at sea, he floats into the Japanese-controlled Marshall Islands, and he’s placed in various POW camps for the next few years.
In reading the book about his journey, I realized that it would pretty cool to track down his various missions and POW camps in Google Earth. I was right! However, I was unable to find a decent timeline of his life, so I spent a few hours researching it and created one myself. After that, I did more research to find all of those locations in Google Earth and ended up with a pretty cool file.
The file includes locations from his early days (homes, school), the various places he went for military training, the Pacific missions he completed, the POW camps he was placed in, and the various stops on his journey home. You can download the KMZ file here to try it for yourself.
I had hoped that historical imagery might come into play with this, but the old imagery in the Pacific and Japan doesn’t go back nearly far enough (as opposed to Europe, where many locations have historical imagery dating back to the mid-1940′s). However, one good example was Hamilton Field, where he stopped over on his way to Hawaii. The present-day imagery no longer shows a runway, but if you switch to the 1993 imagery you can clearly see the runway still there.
All of that being said, I’m sure the file isn’t perfect. If you make any corrections to it, please email me the updated version (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll update this post.
So, have you read the book? What did you think of it?
Today in the US it is Independence Day, often referred to as simply the 4th of July. Banks are closed, BBQs are being heated up, and fireworks will fill the sky for most of us today.
Speaking of firewoks, here’s a neat post I found from Rick Klau a few years ago, when he used Google Earth to determine if he’d be able to view a local fireworks display from the comfort of his home.
He determined that fireworks typically reach a height of 300m, so he drew a polygon to that height, then used Google Earth’s terrain feature to see if the polygon was visible from his house. It was, and they enjoyed a great show that evening!
If you’re looking for more fireworks, check out the thousands of geotagged photos on Panorama tagged with the words “fireworks“. If you take any yourself, be sure to upload them on Panoramio for everyone else to enjoy.
For those of you running (or watching) the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta today, our post from a few years ago shows you a lot of neat ways to view the course. The easiest is to simply load up this KML file and explore it for yourself.
Whatever you do today, have a great time and please stay safe!
It appears that Google has just pushed out a fresh batch of imagery. Thanks to sharp-eyed GEB reader ‘Munden’ for being the first to let us know about it.
It seems to be quite a huge update, based on the areas we’ve found so far!
- Japan: Ako, Fukui, Himeji, Kahoku, Kanazawa, Nishi
- United States: Arizona (Grand Canyon West airport, Lake Mead), California (Fremont, San Leandro, Sonora, Avery, Tuolumne, Placerville, Diamond Springs, Jackson, San Andreas), Hawaii (island of Kaua’i, island of Ni’ihau), Illinois (Champaign, Mattoon, Moline), Iowa (Davenport, Muscatine), Kansas (Topeka), Mississippi (Jackson), Missouri (Warrensburg, Whiteman AFB), New Mexico (Las Cruces), North Dakota (Fargo), Texas (Anthony, El Paso, Fort Bliss, Houston), Virginia (Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia Beach), Wisconsin (Racine, Milwaukee, Waukeshia, Hartford, West Bend)
If you find any other updated areas, please leave a comment and let us know!
Since the introduction of Google Earth nearly a decade ago, it has been a great tool for real estate agents. One of the earliest examples was when Trulia added Google Earth support for real estate searches back in 2006. We’ve also seen property visualizations, Re/Max using Google Earth and many others.
Thanks to improved tools in recent years, particularly related to embedding Google Earth on websites, we’ve seen many other amazing pieces come along. A great example is what some agents are doing with Google Earth’s Tour Builder. An example is this handy tour of a home, which shows a variety of amenities and stores nearby to help give potential buyers a solid understanding of the area.
A great explanation of how realtors can use the tool came from Jason Fox, a realtor who has build some himself. From Fox’s blog:
By utilizing the Google Earth Application you can easily zoom around your community, neighborhood, city, or county and place a pin on the location you would like to highlight. Then add up to 25 Photos or Videos, Description, Title, Pin Style, and pan and zoom into your highlighted area to capture what you want your audience to see.
Once you have completed your tour you can share it with your client with a link to opens the Tour of your community.
(via Inman News)
The post Using Google Earth tour builder as a real estate agent appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
Back in 1955, CONAD (handing it off to NORAD a few years later) began “tracking” Santa on Christmas Eve night for children to call in and get his current location. Starting in 2004, that information has been available in Google Earth and it is a stunningly popular feature.
The technology behind Google’s latest Christmas Eve tracking service is quite impressive. As explained by an article on ZDNet:
By 2013, the Santa Tracker user experience grew into a full-fledged online, snow-kissed winter village with interactive HTML5 games, keystroke animations, a soundtrack, and of course, an elaborate Google Map that can even be integrated with Chromecast for viewing on larger screens.
As part of Google I/O, there was a session titled “How 20% engineers built Santa Tracker” that explained it quite a lot. The full video of that session can be seen here:
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!