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Google Earth Blog
Last week we got an email from GEB reader Alan letting us know that Google Earth Pro, which formerly cost US$400 per year, appears to now be free. There has been no official announcement from Google as yet on the subject.
[Update: Google have now officially announced that Google Earth Pro is free. ]
We signed up for Google Earth Pro, and instead of granting us a 7-day trial licence as was formerly the case, we received an email with a licence key clearly stating that it is a free licence. Also, we formerly had a trial key and requested our account infomation. We received an email with our licence key and a stated expiry date of January 20, 2017. Both the above keys work in Google Earth Pro. In addition, links to licence purchasing and renewal pages now redirect to the Google Earth Pro download page.
Before you rush off to download Google Earth Pro, keep in mind that for the vast majority of users it has no significant features that they need. Be sure to check out the feature comparison list here before downloading it. Google Earth Pro suffers from all the same bugs that are found in Google Earth, as it is based on the same code base, so do not expect it to resolve bug related issues you may be having with Google Earth.
Google Earth Pro includes access to demographics, parcel data and daily traffic counts for the United States.
Google Earth Pro includes area and perimeter measurements of polygons, a feature not available in the standard version of Google Earth.
The Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 occurred before GEB started, when Google Earth was still Keyhole Earth. Instead of just looking at ‘before and after’ pictures showing the devastation, it is now possible to see the recovery since then, with the help of Digital Globe imagery and an Esri map titled Boxing Day 2004 Tsunami: Then and Now. It displays Digital Globe imagery from just after the Tsunami and compares it with recent imagery.
Google Earth has some, but not all of the imagery used in the above map, nevertheless it is worth exploring the locations further using Google Earth’s historical imagery. To help you find the locations in Google Earth, download this KML file.
The aircraft seen in the park was there before the Tsunami.
This story was found via Google Maps Mania.
Last week Google sent an email to users of Google Maps Engine notifying them that support for the Google Maps Engine product will end on January 29th, 2016 at which point the product will be deactivated.
The email states:
As an organization, we want to focus our efforts on delivering rich location content via our APIs, and enabling customers to take advantage of the capabilities provided by our Google Cloud Platform products.”
The move should be seen as Google transitioning customers to already existing alternative products, especially Google My Maps (formerly Maps Engine Lite) which has come of age and now has most of the important features of Google Maps Engine. Google goes on to suggest alternatives:
Google has scoped some alternative solutions for some common GME use cases. Please find the following resources on solutions for some particular use cases below (additional options will be added as they are scoped):
- Create a map using Google My Maps
- Building spatial applications with Google Cloud SQL and Google Maps API
- Serving raster layers on Google Cloud Platform
- Building a store locator with the Google Maps API and Cloud SQL”
Here at GEB we have not used Google Maps Engine extensively and would love to hear from our readers which features are not yet available in alternative products that will be missed.
Earlier this week we had a look at how long it takes Google to process and release 3D imagery. For a few locations, we looked at the dates the imagery was captured as well as the dates that it was first discovered in Google Earth.
Now, GEB reader Anton Rudolfsson, who has been assisting us by delineating newly found 3D areas for our KML map, has also taken the trouble of tracking down the dates for the various 3D releases and categorizing all the areas by release date. So as of today, our KML file includes the option to see the areas either categorized by country or by date discovered.
There are three regions that Anton was unable to track down the dates for: Hollister, El Centro and Truckee, all in California. So if any of our readers know approximately when these were first spotted in Google Earth, please let us know in the comments.
Colour coded regions by date discovered – Europe. White is oldest, Red is newest.
Colour coded regions by date discovered – North America. White is oldest, Red is newest.
Although Google have not updated their ‘Latest Google Earth Imagery Updates’ map since the December 17th update, a number of readers have let us know that there have been quite a few areas updated since then.
GEB reader Sladys has also pointed us to the fact that Genoa, Italy has been updated and the Costa Concordia can be seen in the new imagery. Soon after the Costa Concordia disaster happened we showed you satellite imagery of the wrecked cruise ship and not long after we had a look at a stunning 3D Google Earth tour of the disaster created by Peter Olsen.
It took more than two years for the ship to be salvaged and it was towed to Genoa in July 2014. The current image in Google Earth is from September 2nd, 2014. For pictures of the vessel arriving in Genoa see this article. To see the location in Google Earth, download this KML file.
The Costa Concordia docked in Genoa, Italy waiting to be scrapped.
Other places that have updated satellite imagery include:
From GEB reader Sladys:
New York City and Denmark: the island Als from Sonderborg along with the western part of the island of Fyn and up to Fredericia.
From GEB reader Horváth:
New River Lagoon, Belize
The Western half of Chiquinquira, Colombia
From GEB reader André:
Koh Kong – Cambodia 2014-12-29 Lat 11.615871° Long 102.998715°
Mieu Mon – Vietnam 2014-12-17 Lat 20.828134° Long 105.647598°
Hanoi – Vietnam 2014-12-23 Lat 21.038988° Long 105.890052°
Hai Phong – Vietnam 2014-12-30 Lat 20.804957° Long 106.607445°
Bai Thuong – Vietnam 2014-12-30 Lat 19.902632° Long 105.467691°
Nanjing – China 2014-12-29 Lat 31.971838° Long 118.840109°
Namelala – Mozambique 2014-12-29 Lat -14.473656° Long 40.650851°
East of Makurdi – Nigeria 2014-12-31 Lat 7.689083° Long 8.677589°
Ibadan – Nigeria 2014-12-28 Lat 7.359290° Long 3.973806°
Accra – Ghana 2014-12-29 Lat 5.601988° Long -0.169390°
From GEB reader MapMaker:
Some areas in Ukrane
Since September last year we have been keeping track of 3D imagery released by Google, with the help of our readers who spot the imagery and then let us know in the comments of this post. A big thank you to all the GEB readers that have been contributing.
Google Earth does not show imagery dates for 3D imagery. However, it is usually fairly easy to match up 3D imagery with historical imagery in Google Earth to find out what date it was captured. Sometimes the exact same image can be found in historical imagery, but not always. My usual technique for identifying the date is to find a construction site, as they tend to display large scale visible changes over time, and then find the closest matching image in historical imagery. Sometimes there is an exact match, with vehicles and shadows in the exact same place, sometimes there is no equivalent historical imagery and you can only estimate when the 3D imagery was taken. Also keep in mind that the date Google Earth displays for aerial imagery is not guaranteed to be exact
What we have found, for the locations we have looked at, is that Google often takes a year or more between capturing the imagery and releasing it as 3D. In some locations, Google has clearly put a lot of effort into touching up the 3D manually, especially when it comes to bridges, certain historic buildings, some intricate structures and, we believe, even some aeroplanes. However, some of the recent releases have taken a year or two to release, but have no obvious structures that were given special attention. So, we really don’t know what takes so long to process.
The quickest turnaround we have identified so far was the update to New York that was spotted in Google Earth in December, and the imagery appears to be from June last year. Luguano, Switzerland, which was added just a few days ago, seems to be based on imagery from July 2012. For a few of the locations where we have identified imagery dates you can download this KML file.
As with many of the buildings and bridges around London, the flying buttresses and spires of Westminster Abbey must have been manually edited by Google.
An interesting building in Amsterdam shows signs of manual editing. The 3D imagery was released early this year, but captured some time prior to March 2012.
Prompted by our series showcasing uses of the Google Earth plugin, Gary Grimm of Mountain Visions has shared with us some Google Earth tours that they have created. You can find a complete gallery of their tours here which includes a mixture of tours to download and view in Google Earth, tours to watch using the Google Earth plugin, and tours that have been recorded and can be viewed as an online video.
Although we generally prefer to download tours and view them in Google Earth, using the plugin to display tours can have a number of advantages:
- You can place descriptive information in the web page around it, including links to further content – although most of this can be done within the tour.
To some degree it protects your content from copying.
It is easier for the user as they do not have to download the tour and open Google Earth.
Below are some of the best tours from the Mountain Visions collection presented using the Google Earth plugin. To view them using the plugin, you will need the plugin installed and a compatible browser. It may take some time to load the tours, so be patient and wait for the ‘play’ button to appear in the bottom left hand corner of the plugin.
Prince of Wales Island Watershed Restoration Projects, 2006-2011
(or download the KMZ to view it in Google Earth.)
A screenshot from the CuMo mine tour.
This is the seventh in our series showcasing the Google Earth plugin.
Today we are looking at probably the best known app built with the Google Earth plugin: The Monster Milktruck. It was developed in 2008 by Google to showcase the use of the Google Earth plugin. It even has its own Wikipedia page. We looked at it when it first came out. The original version published by Google is broken, because it uses a model from the Sketchup 3D Warehouse, which has since been sold by Google and the URLs have changed. However, we have fixed that bug and resurrected it for your enjoyment. If you have the Google Earth plugin installed and a browser that supports it, you should see the Monster Milktruck game below and be able to play.
MONSTER MILKTRUCK! To drive: use the buttons, or keyboard arrows (with focus on page).
The NUS Library’s use of the plugin is unusual in that they are not using it to display Google Earth imagery at all, but rather utilizing Google Earth’s sophisticated 3D engine to display the interiors of buildings. It doesn’t all work perfectly, but considering the changes in both browsers and the Google Earth API since 2008, that is to be expected. If you have the Google Earth plugin installed, and a browser that supports it, then head on over to their website and have a look around!
Amazingly, you can search for a book and it will show you which shelf it is on!
The Chinese Library. Most locations have popups for more information.
The post Google Earth plugin showcase: National University of Singapore Library appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
Over the last few years Digital Globe, one of Google Earth’s main sources of satellite imagery, has been holding a contest for the best satellite image of the year. The winning image for 2012 was of the Burning Man Festival, and the 2013 winner was of Mount Vesuvius.
This year, the wining image is from the Rainbow Range in British Columbia, Canada.To read more about it and see the other top main contenders, see Digital Globe’s blog post.
The image itself is not in Google Earth but you can see it in Google Earth using this image overlay.
Best satellite image of the year, 2014. Find the high resolution image here.