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30 de Noviembre 2005

Best Software Product of 2005: Google Earth

I predict this is just the first of many such announcements for this year. The San Diego Daily Transcript has announced their Best Products of 2005 and Google Earth was selected as the best software product. From the announcement: "A breathtaking product and one of the best free downloads ever...".

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 8:22 AM | Comentarios (2)

29 de Noviembre 2005

Jamaica Me Krazy in Google Earth

Jamaica Caribbean in Google Earth screenshotWinter is starting to arrive in the northern hemisphere, so it's time to start thinking about the tropics! A couple of months ago, one of the more creative regulars at the Google Earth Community by the pseudonym of Tommy Afrika (or is that his real name?) posted an interesting collection of placemarks for Jamaica . His placemarks are pretty entertaining. He used some interesting graphics for the icons, included altitude posts for some of them so they stick out, and they also have informative descriptions with photos. He obviously was in a fun mood when he created these. Tommy called his post at the forums "Jamaica Me Krazy", and you can see why.

So, as winter starts making you feel cold, seek some warmer climates in Google Earth!

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 8:23 AM | Comentarios (4)

28 de Noviembre 2005

Microsoft Virtual Earth Update Will Challenge Google Earth

[NOTE: This article is from 2005, read the new story 6-November-2006 on Virtual Earth 3D]

Harris Corporation has announced their 15-meter global dataset has been selected by Microsoft for use with Virtual Earth. Harris Corp is well known in the visual simulation and training market for their databases, and the global dataset is reported to be very beautiful. It includes imagery which has been enhanced for accurate color representation.

If Microsoft is truly going to release 15-meter resolution imagery for the entire Earth, it will be a great improvement for vast portions of their Virtual Earth. Google Earth's global data is reportedly already at 15-m resolution, although it seems some areas are lower than this - the majority is certainly better. Many of the more interesting and more populated areas are down to even inches of resolution in the Google Earth data and they are adding to their coverage on a regular basis. Chances are Google will release more data possibly even before Microsoft releases theirs.

However, Microsoft really needs to create an application like Google Earth that enables their data to be mapped into 3D. Without that Google Earth will continue to be vastly superior for truly visualizing the Earth. Unfortunately, a lot of people still seem to not realize you can pan and tilt your view in Google Earth and see the wonderful 3D landscapes.

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 2:04 PM | Comentarios (14)

Company Specializes in Google Earth/Maps Services

Jonah Natural Gas Drilling in Google EarthThe Timoney Group provides services to help companies leverage geographical inforomational (GIS) data by creating visualizations which can be used in Google Earth and Google Maps to generate unique marketing tools. A couple of months ago, I wrote about some other businesses capitalizing on this new industry of offering services to businesses by using Google Earth.

The Timoney Group created a web site which promotes the business of Jonah Gas through unique visualizations in Google Earth. The web site is called "Envisioning Jonah Gas" and shows several map overlays and detailed placemark files showing data demonstrating the vast natural gas resources available to the Jonah Gas company. It is an excellent example of how to use Google Earth to help visualize a business who is tied to geographical resources. One example is a collection of well spots which shows the location and details of each well.

I'm sure companies like the Timoney Group will find increasing numbers of businesses interested in their services as more people realize the value of 3D geographical visualization provided by tools like Google Earth.

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 7:37 AM | Comentarios (0)

25 de Noviembre 2005

Tracking Birds with Google Earth

Bird Tracks Migrations in Google Earth Asia screenshot[Update 1:55PM: It turns out instead of GPS, they used a doppler technology called Argos for tracking the birds]

Using technology to follow the movements of birds, animals and fish is an interesting application of technology. It is fascinating to me to see the places other species will travel. Recently, someone from Russia who calls himself "Valery35" at the Google Earth Community, has published tracks of birds in Russia as they migrate so you can view them in Google Earth.

Once you download the GE file above, you will need to open the "Birds" folder in your Temporary Places and turn on the tracks for the different birds. I found it particularly fascinating to watch the Stellar Sea Eagle as he migrated south along the east coast of Russia, stopping for a while at presumably the best hunting grounds along the way. Some of the birds have a photograph and the datasources are documented in a placemark description. Good work Valery35! Cpacibo!

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 8:17 AM | Comentarios (1)

23 de Noviembre 2005

The Ubiquitous DC-3 Found in Google Earth

DC-3 DC3 Locations in Google EarthThe DC-3 was first built in 1935, and the first commercial airline, American Airlines, flew it in 1936. Just over 10,000 DC-3s were built, and over 1,000 of them are still flying today. They have been used for the military, commercial airlines, skydiving clubs, and pretty much every other imaginable flying use. They are beloved by many in the aviation world.

In the Google Earth Community, one of the DC-3s biggest fans is someone called "Hill". Hill has been collecting the locations of DC-3s , and documenting them with placemarks. With the help of many other people in his forum thread, they have found over 250 so far. I encourage you to look at his forum thread as he has some background information and links to DC-3 related web sites. One of the best links I looked at was the DC-3 Hangar.

Once you download the GE File above, it is very interesting to double click on the placemarks and witness the location of these planes. Some are just hulks stored off the airport, sometimes with entire forests grown up around them. Others are still on the tarmac, obviously ready to fly. And, the locations are all over the world. The DC-3 is easy to recognize, so it can be fun to look for. This is an admirable collection. Good work Hill!

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:09 AM | Comments (4)

22 de Noviembre 2005

Seven Wonders in Google Earth

Based on a collection from the WikiPedia, the Seven Wonders of the World is a collection of placemarks for Google Earth which was posted by one of the GE team members. The pIacemarks include some details, and a link, from the Wikipedia articles which give some background on the various versions of Seven Wonders of the World as they have evolved over time. Google Earth is certainly one of the fastest, if not best, ways to view the Seven Wonders. Included in the collection are the Seven Wonders of:

  • the Ancient World
  • the Medieval World
  • the Natural World
  • the Underwater World
  • and the New Seven Wonders - (voted on by people around the world)

Here's the main Wikipedia article, and here's the post at the Google Earth Community by 'ink_polaroid'.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:38 AM | Comments (3)

21 de Noviembre 2005

Ski Resorts and Snow Reports in Google Earth

Ski Resorts and Snow Reports in Google EarthThe guys who did vlogmap.org, a Google Earth map showing videos around the world, have now done a web site for ski/snowboarding video blogs. The web site is at ridertech.com, and includes maps of North American ski and snowboarding resorts and snow reports for viewing in GE. I'm not sure if they plan to do other countries as well.

You can download the ski/snowboarding resorts , and they have included nice details about each resort including vertical drop, number of runs, number of lifts, etc. Just click on the resort's placemark and you'll see these details in the description. Also, a link to the web site for each resort is included. They also have included a network link for showing current snow weather reports which come from The Weather Channel.

If you're thinking about skiing in the US, this web site is the best way to get yourself informed if you want to use Google Earth. And, they are responsive to suggestions for improvement. Now, hopefully someone will do the rest of the skiing world. My hat's off to the vlog guys!

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:24 AM | Comments (3)

18 de Noviembre 2005

New Version of Google Earth (3.0.0762)

The new version can be downloaded in the usual location here. This is mostly a bug fixes and cosmetic fixes upgrade. Here's the curent release notes.

Apparently the main bug was a random bug which caused problems with placemark icons. I had seen this bug myself with a couple of large placemark collections I developed. They claim this bug has been fixed. This is the third bug-fixes and cosmetic upgrade in the last month. As I've said before, one has to wonder if they plan to go out of beta soon...

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 4:32 PM | Comments (4)

Astronaut Photos of Pacific Islands

Pacific Islands space shuttle photos by astronauts in Google EarthOne of the ironic things about using Google Earth is that despite the fact this fantastic program offers enormous amounts of high resolution 3D viewing at no cost, sometimes we are disappointed when things aren't high resolution. A lot of people seem to be disappointed when they can't see their house. For me, as a sailor, I'm disappointed remote islands are in low resolution. :-)

Well, apparently I'm not the only one. Someone called 'neon_' at the Google Earth Community decided to do something about it. He has provided higher-resolution photos from space for many of the Pacific Islands , along with interesting annotations about those islands, as a collection of image overlays. Once you download the Pacific Islands file you should open the folder in your "Temporary Places" and start turning on the placemarks one by one (Caution: don't turn on the entire folder or it will load all the images at once.) . Make sure you double click the placemarks to be flown to the view of each island, and click the placemark again to show the placemark description

The images come from NASA's excellent Earth From Space: Astronauts' Views of the Home Planet. It was interesting seeing many of these very remote islands, and reading some of the background neon provided. It was a challenge to get these images to align properly since some are taken at an angle other than directly above. Great work neon!

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:30 AM | Comments (0)

17 de Noviembre 2005

Matching Photos to Google Earth

matching photos arthus bertrand in Google EarthThe 3D representation of the world presented by Google Earth is pretty accurate. Recently, while documenting a backpacking trip I made in Arizona, I managed to save the views of several placemarks so they matched the photographs of views from the mountain. But, there's a big world out there and many other people have taken photographs.

Recently, someone called 'Rednick' at the Google Earth Community posted a really interesting collection of placemarks and showing many views in Google Earth of photographs taken by a famous French photographer Arthus-Bertrand. The placemarks are the locations of about 130 photographs from a collection called, appropriately enough, "Earth From Above ".

Once you have downloaded...

Once you have downloaded the collection of placemarks, open the folders in the Places pane called "Arthur Bertrand Tour" (CAUTION: don't turn on the contents of the entire folder as it will load all the images at once). In some cases, Rednick has included the actual photos as image overlays (make sure you double click on the placemark items to get the preset view). In other cases, he has a camera view where he has tried to accurately portray the same view as the photograph. You can view these photos by following the link in the placemark's description bubble, which will take you to the photographer's website.

I found it was best to use GEs built-in browser (make sure you are not using "external browser" in the GE preferences). Then you can see the photo right next to the GE view. Both the overlays and the camera views are an excellent example of showing professional photos combined with GE. This is the best collection I've seen since the National Geographic collection was added. Here's Rednicks post at the GEC. Great work Rednick!

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 10:46 AM | Comments (2)

16 de Noviembre 2005

Transat Jacques Vabre 2005 Race in Google Earth

Transat Jacques Vabre 2005 in Google Earth screenshotThe Transat Jacques Vabre 2005 is a sailing race involving two-person crews in 50 and 60 foot monohull and multihull racing yachts. They started the race in Le Havre, France in early November and are already well on their way to the race finish in Salvador de Bahia. A Google Earth network link file is being provided by the GIS software company ESRI for following the Transat Jaque Vabre race.

I'm sorry I didn't report on this one sooner, but the race is still quite exciting as there is no clear winner at the front. The complete race is nearly 4500 nautical miles in length. There are many more boats in this race compared to the Volvo Ocean Race I wrote about earlier. Near the front of the 60 foot monohull class is Sill et Veolia which is crewed by a famous pair of sailors: Roland Jordain and Ellen MacArthur. This should be an exciting finish.

If you're wondering...

If you're wondering why some of the boats are headed more east, it's because the multihull boats (which sail faster) have to go around a the Ascension Islands as part of their course. This is intended to make the finish of the multihulls be closer in time to the monohulls for the spectators.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:25 AM | Comments (4)

Nature Magazine's Avian Flu Outbreak Map

Avian Flu outbreak map in Google EarthNature Magazine's Senior Reporter Declan Butler has thoroughly researched the Avian Flu outbreak information and has published the confirmed cases of Avian Flu in a Google Earth file. His avian outbreak map includes Human cases, and a time series of placemarks showing the progression of the flu over the last 18 months. Here is Declan's web page describing his outbreak map and the background information on the data provided.

About two weeks ago I published a similar outbreak map. The older one is based on various reported cases, but not all confirmed, and is not as complete. I recommend Declan Butler's outbreak map for accuracy.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:01 AM | Comments (0)

15 de Noviembre 2005

GPSVisualizer Supports Google Earth

GPSVisualizer.com has just started supporting Google Earth. Adam Schneider, the author of GPSVisualizer.com, is a Mac User so he hadn't tried supporting the format. (Yet another vote for Google Earth to be ported to the Mac). But, this weekend, Adam went ahead and borrowed a Windows machine and did a nice implementation for GE.

GPSVisualizer.com, for those who don't know, is a free Internet based set of forms for creating nice looking visualizations of your GPS tracks. It supports a variety of file formats, and many different customization options for your output. You can check out his Google Earth output form here. This form makes it easy to upload your GPS track and convert it into a nice looking Google Earth KML file. One thing I like is that he supports "Altitude Mode" so your airplane GPS tracks actually show the altitude above earth.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 2:56 PM | Comments (0)

Iraq Conflict Casualties Map in Google Earth

Homes of casualties from Iraq conflict in Google EarthIn response to All Saints/Veterans Day, someone decided to collect and post a memorial of those who gave their lives so far in the Iraq conflict from the Americans and Coalition Forces. The author is called 'purblind_horus' at the Google Earth Community and he wanted this to be as non-political as possible. He wanted to remember those who gave their lives. He is also working to show the even larger number of innocent Iraqi's who have lost their lives.

Once you download the war casualties file , you will see placemarks showing the locations of the homes of each soldier. The information came from the official icasualties.org web site, and includes the 2212 casualties through 27-October-2005. In addition to the home location of each casualty, if you click on the placemark it may contain a photo, a link to basic background information, and links to other information, if available, such as news stories.

This is a valuable, and sobering, effort. It has been greatly appreciated by many at the GEC, and I hope some find it worthwhile here at the GEB as well. Here's the original post. Good work 'purblind_horus'!

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:16 AM | Comments (1)

14 de Noviembre 2005

Fantastic Google Earth Documentary on Sir Ernest Shackleton

Sir Ernest Shackleton documentary in Google Earth screenshotOne of the all-time great adventure/rescue stories, perhaps because it was so well documented, is the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton. In 1914, Shackleton attempted to be the first to cross the continent of Antarctica, but his ship became trapped in ice and he and his men had to wait for 10 months for the winter to pass. But, the ship broke up in the ice. The tremendous effort Shackleton made to rescue his men (and he saved them all) is a great story. One of the most heroic sea stories of all time.

Some folks at the Google Earth Community have been putting together a tremendous collection of facts, placemarks, pictures, panorama shots, tracks, and other historical information. You can download the Shackleton "documentary" here (currently V3.0). The main poster is someone called 'pm77', who was also helped by Frank McVey and others - and you can read the post thread here.

Once you download...

Once you download the GE file above, open the folder in your Temporary Places panel (on the left) called "South". The first placemark contains background information and links to web sites which can give you all the details. If you already know the story, you can immediately start selecting the various placemarks and see pictures and background information. There are informative links which give interesting background perspectives and historical details.

As more people explore the capabilities of the the GE file format, I expect we will see more and even better historical "documentaries" like this within Google Earth. But, this will give you a taste of what's to come.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:33 AM | Comments (1)

13 de Noviembre 2005

And They're Off!

The Volvo Ocean Race, a round-the-world sailboat race with 9 legs, started yesterday, 12 November. One of the folks at the Google Earth Community who calls himself 'lucifer666' (he can't really be a bad guy if he likes sailing), has posted an excellent network link for following the race. If you want to follow the race, download the Volvo Ocean Race network link (the network link means you are accessing a server which will automatically update positions). I also suggest you download the Global Cloud Map for basic weather info.

By the way, after only one day, two of the boats are returning to port for repairs. Apparently there was some strong weather overnight and these two boats had equipment failures. This often happens at the beginning of races with new boats, and when competitors are often pushing the boats too hard.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:39 AM | Comments (1)

12 de Noviembre 2005

Everything You Wanted to Know About Singapore

Singapore information tourist locations in Google EarthAfter growing frustrated with inaccurately placemarks posted at the Google Earth Community (GEC) for locations in Singapore, a poster with the username 'chionh' started posting his own. He has released numerous updates, and now has hundreds of placemarks and even tracks for major roads for Singapore. The latest version (at the time of this writing) is Version 4.6. If you download this link you will get the latest version which comes from his thread at the GEC.

Once you download the above link you need to go to the Places pane (on the left) and open the Singapore folders. Turn on the categories you are interested in (if you turn them on all at once you will be inundated with too much information). The categories are well-organized and informative, although putting some photographs and more links in the descriptions would make it even nicer. Singapore is fortunate in that a large portion of the area is in high resolution.

This placemark effort is...

This placemark effort is similar to that found in the story I wrote about for Thailand. The Thailand effort is massive - at the GEC it has been downloaded over 25,000 times and has thousands of placemarks. For countries which do not yet have layers loaded into the default Google Earth databases, this type of effort is an excellent substitute. I would suggest Google Earth consider getting permission to use these placemarks in the official layers instead of just letting them be in the Community layers.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:20 AM | Comments (0)

11 de Noviembre 2005

Volvo Ocean Race in Google Earth

Volvo Ocean Race 2005 2006 in Google EarthThe Volvo Ocean Race is a round-the-world sailing yacht race which starts on November 12th from Vigo, Spain. This race is not a non-stop race. The race has stops in Cape Town, Melbourne, Wellington, Rio, Baltimore, New York, Portsmouth, Rotterdam, and finally in Gothenborg, Sweden. Already there are people lining up to show the race in Google Earth. You can check out this post at the Google Earth Community. I recommend you bookmark the post and go to it after the race gets started to find a Google Earth File for following the race. [EDIT: Click here to follow the race in Google Earth]

As an avid sailor myself, I've been...

As an avid sailor myself, I've been looking forward to watching a long-distance yacht race with Google Earth. Someone called 'jachim90' at the Google Earth Community posted a set of placemarks showing the start and end points of the race. I thought it would be a lot more useful to show the lines connecting those points, so I used his placemarks and created this file , which shows the approximate route of the entire Volvo Ocean Race with a different color for each leg.

Someone called "lucifer666" at the GEC contacted me about the new Volvo Race posts with his plans to follow the race closely. He was one of the same guys who did the Tour de France routes.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:18 AM | Comments (2)

10 de Noviembre 2005

Excellent Geographical Data for Google Earth

Countries and Territories in Google EarthOne of the most basic forms of information Google Earth provides is basic geography showing the outlines and names of countries (if you turn on the "Borders" layer). Someone at the Google Earth Community named "zmarties" has placemarked all of the countries and most territories of the world. You can download his Countries and Territories here . When you click on the placemark he provides an image of the country's flag, and links to:

  • Books about the country (from Amazon)
  • Facts from the CIA World Factbook
  • Google search for the country, plus images and news
  • Images from Google Images
  • News from Google News
  • Lonely Planet info about the country
  • The country's entry in the Wikipedia

This is an excellent example of combining access to web-based information with your map. 'zmarties' also has a web page about this and has a web-page version of his country data which allows you to view the location of the country in any of several map programs (Google Maps, Yahoo Maps, etc.). Great work zmarties!

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:26 AM | Comments (1)

9 de Noviembre 2005

Another Sailor Documents Trips Using Google Earth

Sailor anchorages in Caribbean GPS track passage in Google EarthIn my opinion, documenting a long distance travel log is one of the most interesting applications of Google Earth. Especially if you combine the mapping capabilities with a web site which tells the story and has photographs. Recently Geoff Shultz, who sails his boat BlueJacket in and around the Caribbean, put together an excellent Google Earth file documenting his anchorages and passages. If you click on his anchorage icons you see a short description for that anchorage, and usually links to a full report and/or photos. He announced the availability of his log in this post. Geoff also organized his anchorages nicely by country.

A couple of months ago I published a similar GE file for a sailboat trip on a catamaran called PatiCat. If you like Geoff's effort, you'll probably enjoy the PatiCat voyages as well. By the way, in honor of this occasion, I have updated the PatiCat KMZ to include a more complete log. [EDIT 10-Nov-2005: the author, Geoffery Shultz just sent me a message saying my similar cruising log inspired him to do his.]

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:22 AM | Comments (0)

8 de Noviembre 2005

Example of Google Earth Ad

Example of ad advertising in Google Earth screenshotHere's an example of the type of ad Google is experimenting with in Google Earth. Only a random sample of GE users will have a chance to see these ads (I have not yet seen one) with the new version (v3.0.0739) of Google Earth.

In my opinion, this type of ad is perfectly acceptable. Those of us who read the Google Earth Community forums should be comfortable as they look exactly like the ones we see in the forums. This type of ad would only appear in the description bubble for businesses you search for in the Local Search, or for certain layers (like "Lodging"). So, they are not "in your face" type ads. I'm sure there are other types of ad formats Google is experimenting with. Also, as I previously reported, if you use the PLUS version of GE, you can apparently turn these off.

Thanks to 'esterrett' at the GEC for posting the snapshot shown here. If anyone else sees other kinds of ads, please post them in this same thread to let others see.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 2:42 PM | Comments (0)

Lewis and Clark Expedition in Google Earth

lewis and clark expedition map in Google Earth trackMaps are wonderful things, but maps combined with Google Earth are even better. One of the Google Earth team members, known as 'ink_polaroid' in the Google Earth Community, a few months ago posted a historical map of the Lewis and Clark Expedition . The GE file includes colorized tracks of the route taken during the expedition, and placemarks with links to a sample of diary entries from the expedition members from the Discovering Lewis and Clark website.

Make sure you open the Lewis and Clark Expedition Places folders and see some of the other features. He has a map showing the extent of the Louisiana Purchase (which is what initiated the L&C Expedition), and placemarks to other sites during the trip. You can zoom in and see the sites up close, and also turn on the "Roads" layer to make comparisons to their trip. Don't forget to "Tilt" the view and see the mountainous terrain they travelled when they got out west.

The power of combining the 3D views of GE, the satellite and aerial photography of the terrain, the tracks and placemarks, with the links to the web make this map so much more informative than any paper map.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:35 AM | Comments (0)

7 de Noviembre 2005

Ads Coming to Google Earth

The new beta version of Google Earth V3.0.0739 released over the weekend (see my story here) has an interesting new feature. In the PLUS version of GE there's an option in the Preferences window which says "Disable onscreen advertising". The interesting thing is this option apparently doesn't exist in the free version of Google Earth.

So, apparently you can expect to see some form of onscreen advertising in GE soon. But, to turn them off you will need to have a subscription of Google Earth Plus or Pro. It will be interesting to see how this is implemented and what the reaction will be from the general GE users. So far, no one has reported seeing ads appear (that I can find anyway).

[EDIT - 19:32 EST: From the new release notes - "Google ads are now shown inside some of the information balloons. These are experimental and will only be shown some of the time."]

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 1:45 PM | Comments (3)

EarthBooker - 80,000 Hotels in Google Earth

Earthbooker hotel locations in Google EarthIn the United States and the UK you can search for hotels and get some results. However, the rest of the world is not available yet within Google Earth's search. Thanks to the power of the network link and business enterprise you can view 80,000 hotels all over the world. EarthBooker.com not only provides a web site for browsing for the world's hotels, but also a Google Earth network link which they call EarthBooker.

Once you download EarthBooker , zoom in to a location to see hotels. The closer you are, the more hotels will appear (assuming there are hotels from their database there). If you click the hotel you will get a description, a picture, and of course links to make a reservation, get more information, or even ways to get a newsletter. Of course, you can also get directions from Google Earth and you can use GE to search for nearby tourist locations (simply turn on the Google Earth Community Layer to find all kinds of things nearby).

This is an excellent application of Google Earth's network link which makes GE a fabulous 3D browser. The application for EarthBooker was developed by GlobeAssistant.com which specializes in writing business applications for Google Earth particularly for Real Estate, News, and Travel.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:06 AM | Comments (3)

Places Quoted in Shakespeare in Google Earth

Places quoted in Shakespeare literature in Google EarthNow you can look at the places quoted in Shakespeare (85 placemarks). Someone named "H21" from France posted the placemarks at the Google Earth Community and it has been a very popular post. The author must be a literature professor as he purposely left off a few places and challenged people to find the missing quoted places. One of the Google Earth team members added a custom placemark which has a picture of Shakespeare.

I predict many other literature maps will be ported over to Google Earth as well. This is an excellent application of mapping technology. A few weeks ago I wrote about a similar application where the locations of "The Lord of the Rings" movie scenes were shot.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:31 AM | Comments (1)

4 de Noviembre 2005

New Version of Google Earth (3.0.0739)

[Editied: 05 November, 2005 14:22 EST]

This version seems largely focused on improvements to the Google Earth Community Layer to allow more control over the number of placemarks viewed at once.

(NOTE: there also was an update to the Layers database (which all versions of GE will see) which changed the name of the "Keyhole BBS Layer" to "Google Earth Community" Layer, updated the DG layers, and added the Education sub-layer (to the GEC layer).)

A new version of Google Earth has just been put up. Download it at earth.google.com. There is no documentation on the differences available yet. It is interesting they've come out with a new update only 2 weeks after the last update. The biggest change I've noticed is with the Community Layer (see below). I suspect we'll see a new database update soon (which is overdue). Here's what I've noticed has changed with the new version so far (I will add updates as I figure them out):

  • Improved description bubbles - a new cleaner look. Seems faster when images are loaded as well.
  • New Education sub-layer in the Google Earth Community layer
  • When the GEC Layer is turned on it uses a level of detail trick where only a few of the placemarks are shown until you get closer more appear, then even closer you see dense patches of placemarks. Apparently at a higher (above ground) level the fewer placemarks you see are ones which have been reviewed for quality. Then, when you zoom in further you get more placemarks. Interesting!
  • An additional layer (near the bottom of the list) called "Google Earth Community (unranked) contains the bulk of the posted placemarks which have yet to be "approved" as good quality posts.
  • They have fixed a bug with description bubbles when large images were loaded (they were clipped horizontally).
  • The layer which was called "User Submitted Layers" is now "Community Showcase", but no new data - yet.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 11:43 PM | Comments (3)

Lugares de Avistajes de OVNIS en Google Earth

Lugares de Avistajes de OVNIS en Google EarthLa primera vez que escuché que alguien utilizaba los Mapas Google primero y Google Earth luego, para mostrar lugares donde se habían visto Ovnis, pensé que era algo tonto. Pero luego de ver el archivo de Google Earth , que particiona los avistajes de acuerdo al año en que se produjeron me dí cuenta de que es otra perspectiva. Nota: hay datos sólo para Estados Unidos (donde parece que más Ovnis aparecen).

Luego de descargarla en GE, vean en "Lugares" y fíjense dentro de la carpeta "UFO Sightings" para ver la información. Pueden activar las marcas de cada año en particular de una base de datos con datos desde el año 1860 a 2005. Lo que encontré interesante es la densidad de reportes a partir de 1995. Parece que una vez que arrancó Internet, más gente pudo comunicar sus especulaciones. Pero me pregunto si esto es un signo de sanidad de nuestra sociedad a lo largo del tiempo...

En cierta manera...

Años atrás trabajé en un Planetario donde dedicábamos un espectáculo a la explicación de diversos fenómenos naturales que muchas veces son interpretados como avistajes de Ovnis (y que para el público no eran conocidos). Por ejemplo: globos meteorológicos, helicópteros, meteoritos, satélites, etc. Luego de cada show el público podía contarnos sobre sus experiencias con Ovnis. Aparentemente, compartir esta información devino en más reportes sobre ovnis. Me pregunto si algún otro país tiene la cantidad de reportes de Ovnis - o al menos se acerca a esa cantidad - que los Estados Unidos.

Los datos de estos mapas están basados en una base de datos del Centro Nacional de Reportes de Ovnis. Los Mapas de Ovnis de Mapas Google y el archivo para Google Earth fueron creados por una compañía de Canadá llamada Poly9. A propósito, estos mapas estan técnicamente muy bien hechos. ¡Buen trabajo Poly9!

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:37 AM | Comments (11)

3 de Noviembre 2005

Avian Flu Outbreak Map in Google Earth

Avian Flu map in Google EarthSomeone called "purplelinny" at the Google Earth Community has been collecting information on the spread of Avian Flu around the world. She cites her references in the thread and has been in contact with a journalist at Nature who has been researching this as well.

You can download the Google Earth file and you will see the placemarks with unique icons indicating 'confirmed', 'unconfirmed', or human verses animal or bird cases. If you look in the Places window and open her folder (called H5N1 after the name of the flu strain), you will see it is organized according to the different types and other useful infromation about the flu.

Check out the Avian Flu thread where purplelinny posts updates to the GE file and information about the flu outbreak. If you like this work, you might want to drop a note saying so. Great work purplelinny!

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:23 AM | Comments (1)

Setting Up Google Earth Options

[NOTE: These notes were written for GE 3, the new GE 4 has slightly different options.]

If you click on the "Google Earth Tips" category you'll find a collection of stories I've written which contain tips on improving your experience with Google Earth. This entry provides some tips on optimizing Google Earth options to improve your experience.

To get to the options, select the menu "Tools" -> "Options". This opens a window of options with the following panes: View, Cache, Control, Navigation, Preferences.

Here are my recommendations...

Here are my recommendations for each pane:

  • View
    • Set Detail Area->Large if you have a decent graphics card - this will greatly improve visual detail if you run at higher screen resolutions as more of your window will be in full detail. Better for taking screenshots as well.
    • Try adjusting your fonts so the labels are readable, but not distracting while browsing in GE.
    • If you use Google Earth to look at mountains, try setting Elevation Exaggeration to 1.5 or higher. This makes the 3D terrain have exaggerrated heights. A setting of 2.0 would be twice as high. NOTE: the "terrain" layer must be selected to see 3D terrain.
  • Cache
    • Set your memory cache as large as you can (depends on your system) - if you have 1GB of memory, you may be able to set this to 350. More memory means it will be able to load more overlays, placemarks, etc. without slowing down.
    • If you can afford the disk space, set your disk space cache to 2000 MB (2GB) - this will mean less downloading when viewing the same locations. Also, you can use GE offline better.
  • Control
    • Set the speed of Fly-to/Tour to a faster speed if you use GE a lot
    • The advanced setting gives you more control over speeds and camera angle
  • Navigation
    • I suggest you adjust the Overview Map size to what works for your screen size (tip: use Control-M to bring up Overview Map in GE)
  • Preferences
    • Click "Show web results in external broswer" if you want to use an external browser

I hope this information helps. If you have other tips, please leave a comment here.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:31 AM | Comments (9)

2 de Noviembre 2005

MapLandia - Unique International Google Maps/Earth Website

 align=right><a href=Maplandia.com was announced last week. I hesitated to write a story about it because it has limited Google Earth support. But, Maplandia does have a lot of potential. Maplandia.com addresses a concern that much of the world is not currently really mapped in the Google Maps data. Sure, there are borders and capitals and such for all countries. MapLandia provides regional and administrative district outlines for almost every country. It also has many more cities and geographic references for countries all over the world.

Maplandia.com provides...

Maplandia.com provides links to allow you to customize your own web page and provide reference links to maps about your favorite geographic places. It also provides links to travel information related to most locations. And, once you find a specific location/city, the web site provides a link to a Google Earth placemark for that location. Unfortunately, currently this is the extent of the Google Earth support. I was hoping he would provide more detail in the placemark's description about that city/region/country. But, maybe the author will add that later. Also, it seems to me a link for Google Earth can be created for any placemark, not just when you drill down to a specific location.

Maplandia organizes its web pages for the various locations very consistently and the URL for these pages provides a fast way to find anything around the world. For example, you can type http://www.maplandia.com/new-zealand/auckland/ to find Auckland, New Zealand.

Good commentary about Maplandia can be found at Google Maps Mania and at OgleEarth.com.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:08 AM | Comments (1)

1 de Noviembre 2005

Real Estate Interest in Google Earth Grows

Plantana Real Estate Florida in Google EarthGoogle Earth is a great tool for exploring real estate. In earlier stories I wrote about a Colorado Real Estate application in GE, and in general about business applications for Google Earth.

Last week Google Earth took center stage at a real estate industry conference. John Hanke, General Manager of the Google Earth project, spoke at the conference and demonstrated a number of real estate applications for Google Earth. I read about this in a news story here (requires subscription). Apparently the demonstration produced a lot of positive reaction.

One of the...

One of the companies I previously wrote about, Globe Assistant, offers services to help businesses utilize GE. They released a Google Earth real estate application for Plantana Real Estate , Inc. in Florida (most of the properties are in the Jacksonville area). The GlobeAssistant application uses a view-based query to load properties based on your current view. The resulting colorful placemarks indicate the location of properties, and the descriptions usually show photos of the property. They also provide basic details such as price, square footage, etc. And, of course, they provide a link for more details and contact information for the broker. GlobeAssistant apparently not only offers the service of access to the database, generating the network link, and creating a nice interface, they also apparently offer hosting services as well.

GlobeAssistant is doing some excellent work, and I expect they will get lots of other GE business as Google Earth becomes increasingly widespread.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:59 AM | Comments (2)

Geocaching.com Uses Random Approximate Coordinates in Google Earth

On 22 October I wrote about Geocaching.com supporting Google Earth as a powerful way to search Geocaches. At the time I had no official announcement from the company. Here's a link to the announcement, which provides some additional details on their Google Earth suport.

The most interesting thing about this announcement is this: "...the coordinates used in Google Earth are only an approximation and can be up to 100 ft from the actual location. Do not use the coordinates in Google Earth for cache hunting" Apparently, Google Earth is so accurate in showing cache locations they felt it would take away some of the fun if the placemark showed the real coordinates. If you select "View Cache Details" from the placemark and then "edit" the placemark, select "advanced", select "Location" and compare the coordinates they will be different. Now, given that GPS's are already off by anywhere from 5-75 feet, the actual error in location may be even bigger. You could just enter the real coordinates from the web page if you don't like this feature. But, its interesting they chose this approach. Or, could it be that Geocaching.com was concerned someone would start saving the Google Earth network link placemarks and create their own database of the geocache coordinates?

The announcment also...

The announcement also contained two other features: Geocaching .com is offering GE files for Bookmark lists and for showing where a Travel Bug has travelled (read the Geocaching.com site if you don't know what these are). I'm glad Geocaching.com is taking advantage of GE to provide their customers with useful visualization tools. Geocaching and Google Earth are ideally suited for one another.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:56 AM | Comments (1)

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