Google Earth Blog
A friend of his, Chi Po-Lin, has created a documentary titled “Taiwan from Above“. Steven has taken the amazing aerial trips from the documentary and recreated them in Google Earth. Specifically, Steven says:
I used two windows – one in, one out. The GPS route I got from Chi, which he made one day in 2008. This trip started from Puli, then flew to Central Mountains , Yushan Mountain, Sun Moon Lake and then back. It is a 240 km long, 1 hour 32 minute flight time trip.
You can read more about it it on Steven’s blog, or try it for yourself using the Google Earth Plugin on this page. The plugin version has varying levels of success depending on your browser, so you can also download the KMZ files to load them directly in Google Earth:
Great work, Steven!
On the southwestern point of Mauritius is a crazy-looking phenomenon. When viewed from the air (either in real life or in Google Earth) it appears to be an underwater waterfall!
Of course, a real underwater waterfall isn’t possible but the actual answer is really quite fascinating. An article on ScienceBlogs.com really digs into it, but the short version is:
What you’re witnessing, that looks like an underwater waterfall, is actually sand from the shores of Mauritius being driven via ocean currents off of that high, coastal shelf, and down into the darker ocean depths off the southern tip of the island.
To see it for yourself, check out the full article on ScienceBlogs or grab this KML file to fly there in Google Earth. [NOTE by Frank: Although Google has 3D bathymetry (underwater terrain), they don't attempt to provide such data so close to shore. Also, I checked a nautical chart, and the area is not as deep as it appears (only 10-20 meters). So, the effect is an optical illusion. But, it does look cool!]
Each year, Google releases their “Zeitgeist“, a summary of the “what captured the world’s attention in the past year”. This year, Google is working with PBS to offer you the opportunity to create your own Zeitgeist for 2013 using the Meograph storytelling tool.
Here is a sample video using stories from 2012:
The contest winner will receive a Nexus 7 tablet from Google, and will be featured on YouTube’s education channel and Google’s Google+ page. Entries must be submitted by midnight on December 14.
It appears that Google has just pushed out a fresh batch of imagery! Thanks to sharp-eyed GEB readers ‘Munden’ and ‘Dave’ for being the first to let us know about it.
As is often the case, this imagery isn’t yet in Google Maps. As a result, you can compare Google Earth to Google Maps to determine what is new; the fresh imagery is already in Google Earth, but the old imagery is still in Google Maps. If you compare the two side-by-side and they’re not identical, that means that you’ve found a freshly updated area in Google Earth!
Some of the updated areas include:
- Japan: Sasebo
- United States:
- California (Chino, Los Angeles, San Celmente)
- Colorado (Canon City and Royal Gorge)
- Kentucky (Louisville)
- Michigan (Escanaba, Gladstone, Menominee, Nahma, Rapid River, Stephenson)
- North Dakota (Kenmare, Minot)
- Oklahoma (Lawton)
- Tennessee (Martin, Union City)
- Washington (Bremerton, Everett, Maple Valley, Seattle, Tacoma)
- Wisconsin (Dodgeville, Marinette, Peshtigo, Sister Bay, Sturgeon Bay)
If you find any other updated areas, please leave a comment and let us know!
Despite happening 80 years ago, the crime spree of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow is one that continues to live on throughout the years and is the subject of an A&E miniseries that begins this weekend. To help add context to their real-life exploits, George from MyReadingMapped has built out a detailed map of their crimes from 1932-1934.
The map includes details and photos from dozens of their crimes, using a handful of sources to place all of them. From his site:
Some of the plotted points in this map are the actual locations, while others represent the general area. Bonnie’s good looks catapulted them to headline news and all the press exposure seem to escalate the violence and their bravado. Resulting in several shootouts with police and harrowing escapes that the press loved to write about.
For more, check out the full article on MyReadingMapped, the large version of the Google Map, the KML file for use in Google Earth, or the A&E page with details about the upcoming miniseries.
Great work, George!
We’ve shown you quite a few examples of Google Earth being used to help prevent crime (including a post last week), but now there’s another great story out of Vancouver. Scientists at the University of British Columbia are using Google Earth to calculate how much fish was being caught by Persian Gulf nations compared to how much they were reporting.
From the article:
…the researchers say Google Earth can be used to detect illegal fishing and underreporting of fish catches. To give some “ground truth” to the Persian Gulf’s fisheries take, Al-Abdulrazzak and Pauly studied Google Earth images from 2005 to 2010. Unlike fishing boats, weirs are big structures—as long as 321 meters (1,053 feet)—that remain anchored in place and are easily detected by satellites. The researchers spotted 1,656 weirs in 2005. But after running an algorithm to correct for poor visibility, they estimated there were actually around 1,900 weirs.
It’s yet another great use of Google Earth, and an excellent way to do that kind of work. Be sure to check out the full article to learn more.
The post Using Google Earth to catch overfishing in the Persian Gulf appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
As they did for 2012, the folks at DigitalGlobe are again asking for your help to choose their best image of the year. We’ve talked about DigitalGlobe and their work many times over the years, and their Top Image Contest makes for some tough decisions.
Here is a brief video that tells a bit more about the contest:
You can read more about the contest on their blog, or head out to their Contest album on their Facebook page and vote (by means of a “like”) for your favorites. Voting will end at midnight PST on December 16, so get your votes in before then.
Google’s annual “Santa Tracker” site is live, with new games and features being added each day from now until Christmas. When Christmas comes, as they’ve done in years past, Google will help track Santa’s journey around the world.
As we saw last year, there is also the (now separate) NORAD Tracks Santa site which is being powered by Microsoft. The result on Christmas Eve is that Santa may appear to be in two different places at once if the maps aren’t in sync, but there are some good explanations for that. Danny Sullivan did a great job of breaking down the differences in tracking software last year, including gems like this:
It might be that NORAD is somehow projecting Santa’s future location in an effort to help parents trying to usher their kids off to sleep. Personally, I long wished for this type of time-shifting, myself. Or perhaps Santa is moving so fast this year that NORAD’s systems are distorting the location. In the past, he was always spotted passing over particular places around midnight, by NORAD. Alternatively, maybe Google’s systems are lagging behind.
Regardless, it gives us two great sites to send the kids to look at and play with as the big day approaches.
As for Google’s technology, I expect we’ll see a pretty clever use of Google Maps and/or Google Earth on Christmas Eve. Their about page promises the “latest and greatest in Google Maps technology and sleigh engineering“. No matter how it turns out, it’ll be a fun day for all involved. Check it out for yourself at google.com/santatracker.
The post The countdown begins for Google’s annual Santa tracker appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
November saw some great stories related to Google Earth. Here are my favorites from the month:
We took another look at the amazing UTA Flight 772 memorial in the desert of Niger.
Michael Heizer creates some amazing (and amazingly large) artwork, and Google Earth is a great way to view much of it.
DigitalGlobe was the first to release post-typhoon imagery from the Philippines after Haiyan hit, though I expect we’ll see more from that region soon.
We took a look at the “Geo for Good” summit that was held at Google’s headquarters.
We showed you a neat way to learn more about the geo contexts of popular books by using the Google Lit Trips site.
We took a look at the current status of the popular “Google Earth War” game.
We looked at ways that Google Earth is used to help facilitate crimes, and how it’s also used to help prevent them.
What was your favorite story from November?
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the US, and I’m looking forward to taking it easy and enjoying time with family, eating the big meal, and watching some football.
A few years ago, Frank created the world’s largest Thanksgiving greeting card. You can check it out in Google Earth. Feel free to share the link with your friends or family. (By the way, if you look closely, you’ll see a placemark with a turkey icon. Check out the placemark for a little Thanksgiving trivia.)
Over the years we’ve shown you a number of examples of law enforcement using Google Earth to catch criminals and IT World has just put out a large list of ways that Google Earth has been used for both good and evil.
Included on the list is the town of Riverhead, NY cracking down on illegal pools, the “murder or a wet dog?” story from earlier this year, the stolen SUV discovered in the woods, illegal marijuana growing in California and a handful of other stories.
Some of them are stories I’ve never heard, such as their Burglary in Chicago story, which includes:
The burglar reportedly searched “expensive homes along highways” on Google and landed on the Chicago village of Indian Head Park, after which he used Google Earth and Google Maps to identify which houses would be easiest to break into.
All in all, it’s quite an impressive list! Go check it out for yourself on the IT World blog.
The post Using Google Earth for crime (and for preventing it) appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
The trend of “prepping”, or being prepared specifically for a major societal disruption (large scale rioting, economic collapse, blackouts, etc), is a growing trend. While there is much debate about whether or not many of the scenarios are likely to occur, a segment of the population spends a great deal of their time preparing for the worst. The Preparedness Advice Blog recently wrote an article on how Google Earth can assist preppers, with some great points in it.
Among other advice, they suggest that you simply “…use Google earth to find every pond or swimming pool within walking distance of your house. Looking at your neighborhood gives you a whole new perspective, you will notice things of which you are unaware.”
They also recommend that you use historical imagery to “see past photos of the same site… to spot changes” and look for choke points if you need to escape your area.
If nothing else, it’s another great example of how you can use Google Earth in your daily life to learn more about the area around you. Be sure to check out the full article on their blog to learn more.
The post How to use Google Earth to assist with your “prepping” appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
Eight years ago I created a game on Google Earth Hacks titled “GE War“. It was based very loosely on the idea of a Risk-style “take over the world” game, and it started as mostly a proof-of-concept of some interesting ideas I had regarding dynamic KML files.
I built a few other games using similar ideas (such as GE Football and GEMMO), but GE War remained the most popular. In fact, it was really taxing my server to manage the traffic, not to mention my time in developing and troubleshooting the game, so I handed it over to some of the more active players and developers and they’ve run with it!
The game was moved to gewar.net shortly after, and has continued to slowly evolve over the years. While the basic idea is the same (collect resources, attack other cities), it’s expanded quite a lot. They’ve changed some of the mechanics (changed oil from a “resource” to a “commodity”), adjusted how nuclear attacks work, created a boot camp for new players, and now have more than 1300 cities featured in the game.
If you’re a fan of this kind of game, having an always-on war-style game that runs inside of Google Earth is a pretty neat thing. Go start a game at gewar.net and take over the world!
Adding geographical context to a story can be a great way to dive further into it. A great example of that is following the path of Louis Zamperini from “Unbroken”, as he had an amazing journey. If you enjoy that kind of thing, then the Google Lit Trips site is something you’ll really enjoy.
The site is updated frequently and features hundreds of books from every reading level. Here’s how they describe it:
Google Lit Trips are free downloadable files that mark the journeys of characters from famous literature on the surface of Google Earth. At each location along the journey there are placemarks with pop-up windows containing a variety of resources including relevant media, thought provoking discussion starters, and links to supplementary information about “real world” references made in that particular portion of the story.
You’re encouraged to contribute your own work to the site, or simply browse through their impressive collection. Check it out for yourself at GoogleLitTrips.com.
The post Using Google Lit Trips to follow your favorite characters in Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
He’s back now with a collection of “The World’s Best, Worst, Biggest, Oldest, Most Dangerous in Google Maps“, which is broken down into a variety of different categories.
The World’s Best Zoos | Map | KML
This documentary, in the form of a Google Map, enables you to zoom in on the top zoological parks in the world, that can also be seen in Google Map, as determined by the leading publisher’s on the subject.
The World’s Best Botanical Gardens | Map | KML
This documentary, in the form of a Google Map, enables you to zoom in close on the world’s best botanical gardens as determined when I combined National Geographic’s Top 10 Gardens with The Telegraph’s The world’s 50 most beautiful gardens: Asia, Africa, Australasia, and the Americas.
The World’s Largest Sports Stadiums | Map | KML
This documentary, in the form of a Google Map, enables you to zoom in on the top twenty biggest sports stadiums in the world. You might think the biggest sports stadium is the home of a NFL football team or a FIFA soccer team. But you would be wrong. The biggest stadium in the world by capacity, at 150,000, is the home of the Grand Mass Gymnastics and Artistic Performance Arirang and the parade/shows celebrating Kim II-sung and North Korea.
The Longest Suspension Bridges | Map | KML
This interactive map has 10 of the largest suspension bridges ever built and you can zoom in on the gaps these bridges span in order to get a better idea of just how big they are.
The Great Libraries of Knowledge | Map | KML
In this documentary, in the form of a Google Map, you gain access to the greatest, and/or largest, library collections of all time via the online links in this map, and you get to zoom in close on some of the best library architecture available in Google Map.
The State with the Most Superfund Sites | Map | KML
This documentary, in the form of a Google Map, tracks the toxic Superfund history of one of the 13 original colonies on its path to becoming the 7th leading U.S. state in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Biggest Mines | Map | KML
With so many predicting the crash of the U.S. dollar in the coming months, and the rush to acquire commodities in exchange for fiat dollars, this documentary in the form of a Google Map, enables you to zoom in close on some of the largest and most productive gold, silver and diamond mines in existence.
The Best Roller Coasters | Map | KML
With this documentary, in the form of a Google Map, you can zoom in on over 225 of the tallest, fastest, longest, steepest, and best polled Roller Coasters in the world, in order to check out all the dips, inclines and curves, that scare the heck out of me.
5 Dangerous places you should only visit in Google Earth
I realized that there are some places on Earth most of us would never want to visit but find interesting enough to look up in Google Earth. Places were few men have ever gone or succeeded in getting there. So, here are 5 dangerous places you should only visit in Google Earth.
For more, check out the full list on the MyReadingMapped site.
The post Finding the world’s best, worst, biggest, oldest and most dangerous places appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
Each year during the third week of November, National Geographic and other organizations help celebrate Geography Awareness Week to help raise awareness of the importance of geography education. The mission of the program states:
Too many young Americans are unable to make effective decisions, understand geo-spatial issues, or even recognize their impacts as global citizens. National Geographic created Geography Awareness Week to raise awareness to this dangerous deficiency in American education and excite people about geography as both a discipline and as a part of everyday life.
The theme this year is “Geography and The New Age of Exploration“, which focuses on how geography enables us to be intrepid explorers in our own way. Google Earth is certainly one of the best tools you can have to help be an explorer, so we think this theme is great!
Not coincidentally, the annual GIS Day falls on the Wednesday of Geography Awareness Week each year. There are a variety of events happening on GIS Day, so check out their website at GISDay.com to learn more.
For more information about Geography Awareness Week and how you can get involved, visit their website at GeographyAwarenessWeek.org.
Google has a great history of using Google Earth for good causes. Google first unveiled the Google Earth Outreach program more than six years ago, and they’ve done amazing things with it in that time. They’ve given out grants, made various updates to the program, shared amazing images and much more. Here is a bit more about Google Earth Outreach:
They recently wrapped up their “Geo for Good” user summit at the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California, where they offered a hands-on workshop for 75 participants to help them make better use of the various Google geo platforms.
+Dan Stormont was one of those in attendance and he shot a variety of pictures to capture the event.
It was the first time I had been able to attend and it was a really first class event. +Raleigh Seamster and the whole Earth Outreach Team did an incredible job of keeping us fed, busy, and cramming our heads full of all kinds of information about Google’s geo tools.
He also mentioned that Matt Hansen will be live streaming his work in a few hours, which you’ll be able to check out here.