Google Earth Blog
Google has just unveiled a new initiative known as “Project Tango” that has the potential to reshape many areas of our lives. This new combination of hardware and software could be of huge benefit to vision-impaired humans, but could also drastically change the state of indoor 3D modeling.
To this point, there have been two ways to view the interior of buildings with Google Earth. We’ve seen a few examples of interior 3D models, which have been very cool but very seldom (and seemingly going away). The other direction Google has gone is with interior Street View imagery, which they continue to rapidly expand upon. Project Tango looks to be an interesting combination of both, using some amazing technology. Here is a quick video to show you what it’s about:
It’ll be quite a while before we see this technology integrated into our devices, but the potential is amazing. In the meantime, if you’re a developer that would like to begin working with Project Tango, fill out the form at the bottom of the main Project Tango to be considered for one of their 200 prototype dev kits. They hope to release the dev kits next month.
What do you think of Project Tango? Amazing potential, or just a fun idea that’s going nowhere?
While many of us explore the wonders of Google Earth every day, we don’t always think of our use as “field trips” to various places. However, the idea of using Google Earth as a way to take a virtual field trip is amazing.
Med Kharback at EducatorsTechnology.com recently shared a list of 20 wonderful online museums and sites for taking a field trip. After some feedback from that, he shared some resources about how to create a field trip in Google Earth.
The basis of that post is an excellent PDF from Silvia Rosenthal of Langwitches. Silvia goes into great detail on how to create a field trip in Google Earth, and the document is an excellent resource for teachers to use.
Thanks for sharing that information, Med!
While Google Earth has powerful capabilities for getting things done, sometimes it’s just fun to browse around and look at cool stuff. The folks at TwistedSifter just did that, and released a list of 50 amazing finds on Google Earth. While many of them may be familiar to regular readers of Google Earth Blog, there were a few new pieces in there.
It’s a great list of fun images, and I suggested you check out the full list of 50 locations over at TwistedSifter.
The NASA Earth Observatory site is constantly releasing amazing images from space, including items such as this awesome image of Mount Everest, lava flow shapes, Laguna Verde, and many others. Their latest image is a stunning view of an extratropical cyclone over the United Kingdom that was captured last week.
This particular cyclone brought winds of over 100 miles per hour, and caused power outages to more than 700,000 people. They released a large image to show it off, which I’ve matched up in an image overlay and included in this KML file for you to view directly in Google Earth.
Read more about this cyclone on the Earth Observatory site or see other images from the Earth Observatory that we have showcased.
The post Amazing extratropical cyclone over the United Kingdom appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
To understand how images make it from satellites in orbit to Google Earth, you should take a look at Frank’s excellent about Google Earth imagery post from a few years ago. In short, Google doesn’t own any satellites that capture imagery; they buy the imagery from providers such as DigitalGlobe.
With that in mind, Richard Hollingham of the BBC took a trip to Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado, where the WorldView-3 satellite is currently being assembled for DigitalGlobe.
WorldView-3 will be able to capture imagery at a remarkable resolution of just 25cm, though only the US government can purchase imagery that detailed. For Google Earth (and similar mapping projects, such as Bing Maps), the imagery will be released at a resolution of 50cm. As the article points out, from more than 600km away, travelling at around eight kilometres per second, capturing an image half-a-metre across is an impressive technical achievement, and is less likely to raise concerns about privacy.
It’s an excellent article that shows a bit more about how things work in regards to satellite imagery, and I recommend you check out the full story for yourself.
The post The next generation of satellites for Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
Once again, in honor of Valentine’s Day we share some of the best romantic placemarks for Google Earth. To start, you can check out this old entry from Google Maps Mania which includes a wide variety of Valentine’s Day goodies.
Beyond that you can check out the collection of hearts provided by Google Earth Hacks, or see a video of them in action below:
For those of you that are still looking for love, Random Markers has posted a slick little app that shows recent personal ads via the Google Earth plug-in. It pulls the content from Google Base and then displays them in the plug-in. As per the site, it works best in the US because of the higher density of data to use (more personal ads).
If you’re still looking for more Valentine’s Day goodness, you can view a collection of marriage proposals , or check out a Valentine’s Day message from Google Earth Blog, powered by GeoGreeting.com.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
John Wallrodt at Paperless Archaeology recently shared an interesting story about taking a FileMaker Pro database and working with it to talk directly to Google Earth. The results are impressive and useful.
It seems to be a fairly complex process, but their blog post breaks it down into manageable steps. If converting from FileMaker Pro into Google Earth KML is something you’re wanting to do, John’s post will be very helpful for you. Check out the full post to read all about it.
(via FileMaker Pro Gurus)
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The New South Wales (Australia) Government has just released a new product they’re calling the NSW Globe which compiles a ton of information about the state into a single, powerful KML file. The goal of the site, according to NSW minister for finance and services Andrew Constance:
The tool allows users to find out more about their property or local area, and provides access to historical information including aerial photographs of Sydney from the 1940s, as well as flood maps from places like Bourke, Moree and Wagga
Inside the KML file you’ll find the following:
- Imagery (medium and high resolution aerial, satellite both government and private sourced)
- Additional imagery (1943 Sydney Historic, Emergency Services)
- Terrain data (25m DTMS, 5m DTMS, LiDAR and SRTM various locations)
- Places (e.g. population centre, suburb, other places)
- Boundaries (e.g. coastline, local government, localities, electoral state and federal)
- Roads (e.g. arterial road, minor road, other)
- Rail (e.g. railway line, railway station)
- Addresses (property and address)
- Land parcel (e.g. lot and deposited plan, property boundary, labels)
For example, here is a shot of Sydney using the 1943 imagery:
It’s quite an impressive product and it provides an amazing amount of information about New South Wales. Check it out for yourself at globe.six.nsw.gov.au.
The post Exploring New South Wales, Australia in Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
Our friends at DataAppeal, who recently released a variety of updatesto their excellent tool, are back with some great visualizations of the Olympic torch relay.
The University of East Anglia Climate Research (UEA CRU) has released an excellent new interactive layer for Google Earth that show detailed temperature records for 6,000 weather stations around the world — with more than 20,000 graphs in all!
It’s an impressive amount of data to display, the use of Google Earth makes it easy to browse and explore. You can grab the KML file here or read more about it on this page at the Met Office Handley Centre website.
(via The Guardian)
The post View global warming trends with this new tool from UEA CRU appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
Google Earth can be a great tool to help plan outdoor photography sessions, but Ben Wilmore takes it a step further and uses some of the tools in Google earth to plan outdoor photography based on the anticipated light conditions at a specific time and location.
Similar to the photorealistic atmosphere that we showed you last year, Ben uses the [View] –> “Sun” option to anticipate shadows in areas he may want to photograph. The resulting view can be quite useful.
To take it further, Ben has created a great video showing you exactly how he uses it:
Check out his full article to learn more. Great work, Ben!
Last year we showed you a great article from Katrina Schwartz about how you can use Google Earth to teach math. A recent article on Techno-Rebel posted a similar idea, but from a slightly different angle. Instead of fairly complex questions like Katrina shared (“map the 22 Iditarod checkpoints and had students calculate the time it takes their mush team to get to each stop”), the ones on Techno-Rebel are aimed at a younger audience. For example, one is “If Disneyland were a clock, what shape would you see at 5:00?”:
To take it further, they’ve created a short video that shows more examples:
The video includes a handful of neat ideas to help make learning more interactive. Check out their full article to see more.
We’ve seen Google Earth connected with the game of golf a number of times over the years. We’ve talked about the built-in Golf Courses layer, sites like GolfNation that make great use of Google Earth, and even fly-throughs of ideal play on each hole for some courses.
Tony Korologos at the Hooked on Golf Blog has just written a great post about how he uses Google Earth to prepare for his next round of golf. From his post, here is an example of how he looks at a hole:
From looking at the aerial imagery on Google Earth, this looks to be a tight, tree-lined hole. The hole is only 390 from the middle tees. We don’t need to hit driver here unless we are not long hitters. A tee shot of 240-250 yards will put us in a safe and fat part of the fairway. The strategy for the tee shot is a 3-wood, or a driver if your driver goes about 250 yards. I measured from the tee to the left fairway bunker and that clocks in at 266.6 yards. Once again, that 3-wood is looking good from the tee. Even if we hit it on the line of the bunker, we won’t reach the bunker, unless our 3-wood goes 266 yards.
The approach on hole #1 is fairly simple. There’s a bunker on the right, so we want to aim left, away from the bunker.
It’s a great way to preview a course, and the Google Earth editing tools (adding placemarks, paths, etc) make it easy to add notes and ideas to each hole. Check out Tony’s full post to learn more.
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi will be kicking off in a few days, and while I expect Google will release some neat tools to help you follow the games, George at MyReadingMapped has already put out a great post with links and info about some of the venues.
I’m expecting we’ll see many more Olympic-related Google Earth posts coming this week, but please contact us if we miss any. In the meantime, check out the full blog post on MyReadingMapped and start digging in.
The post Mapping the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
We’ve written about DataAppeal a few times over the years. We first showed you their great tool back in 2011 along with some updates in 2012. They’re back again with a variety of enhancements that make their tool even more useful.
Some of their new features include:
- The wrapping of the Google Earth digital globe with other base-map canvas, included Staman’s artistic maps (watercolor and black and white), in order to provide users more visual options for base-maps rather than the satellite look.
- They also now allow for the export of the data-models (3D maps) as DAE and importing them into other 3D vector-based modeling programs like SketchUp and 3DSMax. Users can take that extra step further and print their 3D data-maps.
- They have released the ability to connect data-points along a path to create a wall of information. They also released buffer rings, which allows users to define a zone around selected points to analyze their relationship to their neighbors or surrounding area.
- They also released a new look to their application and for enterprise users they offer “User Groups” in which a user can curate and manage the sharing of maps with his/her team members and colleagues in their own private space.
January saw some great stories related to Google Earth. Here are my favorites from the month:
We took a look at the impressive Google Earth Climate Change, Pollution and Privacy Viewer.
The Atlantic had a great story on twelve maps that changed the world.
A polar vortex brought amazingly low temperatures to much of the United States, and NOAA released some awesome imagery of it.
DigitalGlobe again held their popular “image of the year” contest, with a phenomenal shot of Mount Vesuvius taking the crown.
Google expanded their 3D imagery into a handful of cities across Japan.
We took a look at a mysterious-looking object on the moon.
We played a fun snowboarding game from MisterFoley.
We showed you an amazing project from Stefan Geens at OgleEarth, where he created a file that matched up all of the views from the movie “Gravity” in Google Earth.
Lastly, we took a look at MetLife Stadium, home of this Sunday’s Super Bowl.
What was your favorite story from January?
With the Super Bowl coming up in a few days, Google has created a variety of tours of MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Because that area doesn’t yet have “3D Imagery”, the model of the stadium is still the “old” style and is remarkably sharp and includes 3D goalposts and many 3D objects (such as trees) around the stadium.
While you can certainly fly there and check it out for yourself (searching Google Earth for “MetLife Stadium” should take you there), Google has created a handful of Google Earth tours to help show it off. The files are fairly simple, but do a nice job of showing off the stadium.
To make the files easy to grab, they’ve uploaded them to a special Google Drive folder. Inside you’ll find four tours, each available as either a KML file (for use in Google Earth) or an MOV file to watch directly in your browser.
For other (American) football resources, check out Google’s list of all 245 college football stadiums, a great look at the Dallas Cowboys stadium, or a simple game of football that you can play inside of Google Earth.
(via +Google for Media)
The post Exploring MetLife Stadium, home of the Super Bowl, in Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
Around a year ago Paul van Dinther shared a cubic spline curve that identified a path through the Grand Canyon.
Colin Hazlehurst (who has created items such as Captain James Cook’s exploration of Australia) was working on software to animate model aircraft in Google Earth and thought it would be an interesting exercise to make his Spirit of St Louis model fly along Paul’s curve.
This KMZ file shows this in action, and illustrates the following (in Colin’s words):
- The model moves in turn to each set of coordinates (longitude, latitude, and altitude) defining the LineString. The duration of each AnimatedUpdate is determined by calculating the distance between points and dividing this by the pre-set speed of the model.
- The roll and tilt of the model are calculated from the changes in heading and altitude respectively between successive pairs of coordinates.
- A Camera ‘follows’ the model with a pre-determined offset, defined in terms of heading, range, and tilt relative to the model. These values identify the location of the Camera, but the Camera also has a tilt setting which varies according to the pitch of the model; if the model is climbing, the camera tilt is reduced; if the model is descending the camera tilt is increased. This has worked fairly well in this instance, but I notice that at one point the Camera bounces off the wall of the canyon. This might happen when you view the kmz, and I would suggest trying different aspect ratios (width to height) of the Google Earth window.
I thought at first it wouldn’t look right to fly a model aircraft along a spline curve; it didn’t seem to be the way that aircraft flew. I realise now that this was because my first experiments drew splines on too large a scale, with many miles between interpolation points. Paul’s curve is on a much smaller scale, making for correspondingly small adjustments to the flightpath.
Along with the file above, you can also watch this YouTube video to see it in action. Nice work, Colin!
We’ve talked about Mount Everest quite a few times on Google Earth Blog. Natural formations such as mountains and volcanoes tend to look stunning in Google Earth, and Everest is no exception. In the past we’ve shown you a panorama from the summit, a map of the ice on the mountain, Street View imagery from it, and last year we commemorated the 60th anniversary Sir Edmund Hillary’s historic ascent.
The NASA Earth Observatory has just put out an image of the mountain that is simply awesome.
The image was actually captured back in 2011, but it’s a stunning look at the mountain. You can read more about the image here, or grab this KML file to view it directly in Google Earth as an image overlay.
For more, check out the main Earth Observatory site to see some of the great new items they’ve been publishing.
The post Awesome Google Earth image of Mount Everest from NASA appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
Over the years we’ve shown you many great articles from Stefan Geens at OgleEarth. He’s shared geotagged hiking trips, the destruction of the city of Kashgar, the path of the Chelyabinsk meteor, imagery of Osama bin Laden’s compound, and much more.
Now he’s back with an amazing post that maps out all of the views from the motion picture “Gravity” onto Google Earth.
He’s taken 62 screenshots from the movie and compiled them all into this 8.8MB KMZ file for you to use in Google Earth. Here are a few of his thoughts on it:
Gravity‘s daytime Earth is a highly accurate rendering. I was in almost all cases able to get a perfect match, not just for coastlines, but also for geographic features such as lakes, mountain ranges and forests. … The rendering of Earth at night is geographically just as accurate, but city lights and lit roads are impressionistic rather than realistic.
Here’s how I made that KMZ file: The biggest clue to getting an accurate placement for the screenshots in Google Earth is the film’s opening line of text: “At 600km above Planet Earth…” This was a great help, for fixing the viewpoint above Earth at this height proved to be accurate and removed a major variable from the process. Another big clue was the Earth’s curved horizon in a screenshot. Matching the horizon removed two more degrees of freedom (tilt and field of view), leaving only a horizontal plane across which to match the angles of the landscape.
Stefan put an amazing amount of work into tracking down all of these views, and the result is stunning. His post goes into much greater detail about the process and shows off many more the photos, and we highly recommend you go check it out for yourself.
Great work Stefan!
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