Google Earth Blog
Google first released their 3D Ocean feature in Google Earth more than five years ago, and it’s something that has seen steady improvements over the years. Here are some of the more interesting recent developments:
USS Mohawk, shipwreck by Trident Imaging
(via + Google Ocean Program)
Catlin Seaview Survey & Google Ocean at the 2014 Economist World Summit
From Google themselves, here’s more of what they’ve launched with Underwater Earth recently:
We are happy to announce 7 new underwater street view collects off Monaco and Mexico, including whale sharks and coral reefs in partnership with Australian non profit partner Underwater Earth’s “Catlin Seaview Survey” and launched in honor of the Economist Ocean Summit, where Prince Albert II of Monaco dove below Rocher Saint Nicolas virtually using the new Liquid Galaxy videowall. We also released the first ever San Francisco shoreline imagery collected from the water in partnership with Marine Advanced Research by placing a Google trekker camera atop the stable autonomousWAM-V® USV robot. Underwater Earth aims to reveal the reefs with more to explore at maps.google.com/ocean.
There have been some amazing developments to Google Ocean over the years, and it’s only getting better. What’s your favorite feature so far?
A few months ago, the Atlanta Braves baseball team announced they were moving out of downtown Atlanta and into one of the suburbs to the northwest part of the city. The current stadium, Turner Field, was home to the 1996 Olympic Games and has long been one of my favorite 3D structures in Google Earth. While the new version that was auto-generated with 3D Imagery isn’t quite as sharp as the old hand-modeled version, it’s still a great looking model.
The new stadium will be located up I-75 in Cobb County, on a 60-acre plot of land. Here is a look at the new location in Google Earth, which you can see for yourself by loading this KMZ file.
I expect at some point we’ll see a 3D model of the new stadium, but for now all they have are rough renderings of what they’d like to do. The new stadium is expected to open for the 2017 season. You can learn more at homeofthebraves.com.
The cache system in Google Earth is something you rarely think about, but it’s vitally important to how you use the product. By caching the imagery (and roads, buildings, etc), Google Earth is able to provide a very smooth experience once the data has loaded onto your system.
Google Earth keeps imagery in two types of caches to help improve performance. The Memory Cache holds imagery in your RAM, and is cleared each time you start up Google Earth. The Disk Cache holds imagery on your hard drive for easier access. Incresing those numbers can help your performance. However, if you have a low amount of RAM or are low on hard drive space, you may be better off to decrease them a bit to give your computer a little more to work with.
Using the cache you can also use Google Earth offline to some degree. It’s not as robust as the upcoming Google Maps offline features, but it’s still pretty cool.
Frank summarized the system pretty well in this post from a few years ago. In part:
First, go to the menu item Tools->Options and select the “Cache” tab. You will not need to change the memory cache for viewing the cache (there is a trick for storing the cache with this setting – see below). The memory cache is set automatically based on your system’s memory. You can make the disk cache size as large as 2000 MB (i.e. 2 Gigabytes). This will give you more data to work with. Then, you need to move to the area you want data for and zoom into that area. The most recent things you have looked at will be what’s in your cache. It’s important you zoom to the closest view you think you’ll use. Turn on other layers for information you want cached (for example, ‘Terrain‘, ‘Roads‘ and ‘Borders‘ – the more you select, the faster the cache wil fill). Also, make sure you save any KML files you might want to use in files on the same computer.
The more data you cache, the sooner the cache will fill, so be cautious. If you’re going on a long trip, cache in high resolution imagery just the areas where you plan to use GE for close viewing. Avoid turning other layers if you only need imagery. It can be a pain to move around and capture an area of imagery at full high resolution and load up your cache properly.
As a general rule I turn the cache up as high as possible to help improve my experience with Google Earth, and in most cases I’d suggest you do the same.
I’ll be speaking today (with Ali Green, my partner at GreenMellen) at the monthly Georgia URISA (Urban and Regional Information Systems Association) meeting here in Atlanta at lunchtime today. We’ll be discussing how to use WordPress with GIS, which is a great topic since this blog (as well as Frank’s Tahina Expedition are powered by WordPress.
Slides from the presentation can be found on the GreenMellen blog.
Do you use WordPress? What kind of fun GIS plugins do you use?