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31 de Diciembre 2005

Frank's Favorite Google Earth Blog Stories For 2005

Best wishes for a Happy New Year to all GEB readers!

The following is a list of my 10 favorite Google Earth Blog Stories for 2005 (out of nearly 200 entries) with a brief description why I picked each one (listed alphabetically).

  1. 500 National Geographic... - The new National Geographic layer was just announced. Fantastic resource!
  2. Arizona Hiking Trip - Documented my own personal hike up a mountain in Arizona. All you need is a GPS to do your own.
  3. Business Opportunities and Google Earth - My thoughts on business and Google Earth
  4. City of Portland GIS - These guys have done the best GIS related work in Google Earth
  5. Real Estate Done Google Earth Style - Real estate is one of the most powerful uses of GE
  6. Sailing the Seven Seas - I spent months documenting a sailing trip we took two years ago using Google Earth
  7. Sir Ernest Shackleton - One of the best historical documentaries for Google Earth
  8. Tracking a Whale Shark - Regularly followed a Whale Shark until they lost the signal a couple of weeks ago
  9. UK Autumn Leaves - A really cool network link which allowed you to track leaf color changes
  10. World Wide Panorama - Find a world of panorama pictures using Google Earth

There are many other interesting Google Earth files to be found on GEB. Make use of the category links, or the Search feature to find more. Also, check out the reference library for links to Google Earth related web sites or reference material.

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 8:36 AM | Comentarios (1)

30 de Diciembre 2005

PC World Gives Google Earth Innovation Award

PC World Magazine has named Google Earth as one of the top 25 Innovative products in the 2006 PC World Innovations Awards. You can read the story on the awards here. From the story, Google Earth is: "...Fun, practical, and free--that's a tough combination to beat."

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 12:35 PM | Comentarios (0)

World's Longest Railroad in Google Earth

The Trans-Siberian Railroad is the longest railroad in the world. The eastern terminus in Vladivostok is 9,289 km (5, 772 miles) from Moscow. This excellent Google Earth file has been created by a Google Earth Community moderator called "Hill" (who has posted over 3000 posts). He recently upgraded what was originally a collection of placemarks to also include paths showing the tracks of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Once you download the file you can fly a tour of the entire route, or visit the various cities where the railroad stops. You can turn off the paths if you want to see the view of the tracks in Google Earth unimpeded. Or you can just admire the vast extent of the largest railroad in the world.

You can view the official Trans-Siberian Railroad website (English or Russian or German). I also recommend you read Hill's Post at the GEC which includes other photos and details. Great work Hill!

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 9:14 AM | Comentarios (0)

29 de Diciembre 2005

Google Earth, Journalism, and New York Times

Stefan Geens has written a couple of interesting entries at his blog Ogle Earth about Google Earth's growing visibility in mainstream journalism. Specifically he refers to a couple of recent articles in the New York Times involving Google Earth.

Stefan calls the first blog entry "Blurgate" which refers to the NY Times article which came out last week called "Governments Tremble at Google's Bird's-Eye View". This sensational title was ameliorated by the facts presented in the article with regards to high resolution photos of sensitive places and how Google only provides data which is publicly available. But, as Stefan points out they did admit to an error regarding the fact that the Naval Observatory, and the Vice President's residence, are still blurred in Google Earth. Read Stefan's entry for more details.

Stefan's second blog entry refers to a more recent NY Times article called "Below a Mountain of Wealth, a River of Waste" which is an investigative article about an environmentally irresponsible gold mine in Indonesia. The Journalist used Google Earth to look at the mine. Stefan correctly points out how these articles are demonstrating the increasing relevancy of Google Earth in the media at large. By the way, Stefan also provides a link to an "amazing" image overlay posted at the Google Earth Community which shows the mine in more detail.

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 8:04 AM | Comentarios (0)

28 de Diciembre 2005

German Web Site Dedicated to Google Earth

There's a new web site dedicated to Google Earth for the German-speaking world. The Deutsche Google Earth Community available at googleerde.de is a web site with forums, a database of GE files, and useful reference materials about Google Earth. Their forums appear to be quite active and they have quite an extensive collection of GE files.

Since I don't speak German, I can't give you a real review of this site. But, it has many of the same qualities as those found at GoogleEarthHacks, as well as a mixture of those found at the Official Google Earth Community. If you speak German, you should check it out.

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 9:14 AM | Comentarios (0)

28 de Diciembre 2005

Top 500 Hotels in Google Earth - Travel + Leisure Magazine

Travel + Leisure Magazine is yet another mainstream business who has chosen to use Google Earth to promote their business and provide useful information to the world at large. T+L has collected input from its readers and determined the top 500 hotels in the world, they have placemarked the locations in Google Earth, provided information on the hotels, and links to more information.

You can download the T+L 500 Best Hotels now and start a virtual tour of the best hotels on the planet. Here is the T+L 500 web page describing this useful collection.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:30 AM | Comments (0)

27 de Diciembre 2005

Adidas Promotion Uses Google Earth

The Australian division of Adidas has put together a slick advertising promotion of their participation in the 2006 World Cup Football competition. The winner of a game, which uses Google Earth for its interface, gets a 2006 Adidas World Cup football signed by Harry Kewell.

To load the game, simply go to this Adidas page (which uses Flash) and start up the game there. It will load a Google Earth file which will start the game. From the Adidas page: "The game is based on answering trivia questions of ten adidas-sponsored players. Each player is assigned 1 x 'who am I' question and 2 x 'trivia' questions with 4 possible answers each. Each question is geographically based. As a question is presented, the Google Earth globe spins to the relevant geographical location on the earth. This serves as a hint to the answer."

This is yet another example of how Google Earth is entering the mainstream as an interface to help capture the minds of potential customers for businesses. Click on my business category for lots of other examples.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:10 AM | Comments (1)

26 de Diciembre 2005

FAQ: "Weird Circles" Seen From Space

crop circles center pivot irrigation in Google EarthOne of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) from people new to exploring our world from space is "What are these strange circles I see all over the place?" (or some variation). The Google Earth Community (GEC) has seen this question asked countless times. One of the GEC members 'Chief_Sparky' recently collected some information explaining the circles from various sources to try and help people understand what they are (and no, they aren't made by aliens).

You can read the detailed explanation above. Here's my variation: The circles are areas where the land has been watered by an irrigation system (sprinklers) which are attached to the ground at the center and rotate around (usually on wheels). Usually found in arid parts of the world such as the States of Arizona, Nebraska, Colorado, etc. they will vary in color based on time of year, crop, and type of land. The irrigation systems are also called "center pivot irrigation".

Some farmers have used the systems to form geometric patterns when viewed from above. These are called "crop circles". Here's a good article on the subject from the WikiPedia. At the GEC, one enterprising member is collecting crop circles found by GE users in Google Earth. You can find more details on the collection here.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:22 AM | Comments (3)

23 de Diciembre 2005

Official Google Earth Santa Tracker

[EDIT: This was the 2005 Santa Tracker, for the 2006 Santa Tracker go here. You can also view Santa's Route to see a rough approximation of where he travelled.]

Google has released their own Santa Tracker for use with Google Earth. According to the announcement at the Google Earth Community the tracker will update every 10 seconds starting around 9:00 AM EST December 24th. The announcement was also made at the Google Blog.

Once you download the Santa Tracker above, you will follow Santa and his sleigh as he visits each town every 10 seconds or so. You can watch as he approaches your town and get the milk and cookies ready! I'm not sure what technology Google is using to follow Santa (GPS, Radar, or some Internet WIFI technology?), but perhaps they are linked into the Norad Santa Tracking system. Also, see this story about another GE file showing Santa's route.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:22 PM | Comments (29)

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in Google Earth

Sydney Hobart Yacht Race in Google EarthThe official site of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has announced they will be supporting Google Earth as their format of choice for following the race. The race begins on December 26th and the site indicated the position updates wiill be done every ten minutes. The route goes from Sydney, Australia to the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. This yacht race has been going on for about 60 years and has often been in the news. The weather can be very challenging on this race, and on some years boats have been lost due to the weather.

You can download their Sydney Hobart Yacht Race GE file and learn more about the race right now. Then, save it in your My Places folder so you will be ready to check on the race after Christmas. I like how they have used their placemarks folder to provide details on the race and links back to the web site. I am also looking forward to following this race in near-real time for the first time.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 6:45 AM | Comments (4)

22 de Diciembre 2005

Castles in High Res in Google Earth

Castles in Google EarthHere is a collection of 109 placemarks showing castles of Europe which are available in high-resolution photos in Google Earth. Right now there's no annotated information, just the name of the castles. But, I'm sure if you did a search on the castle names in the Wikipedia you could find more information.

This collection came from one of the better posters at the Google Earth Community who often posts collections with literature and historical references. He calls himself H21 and hails from France. Here is the post for the castles. I've previously shown his collections of placemarks for "Around the World in 80 Days" and "Places Quoted in Shakespeare".

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:09 AM | Comments (0)

21 de Diciembre 2005

Santa's Route in Google Earth

Santa Route in Google EarthA website called Travel by GPS has a web page dedicated to Tracking Santa. One of the cool things they have done is mapped out Santa's route showing how he passes over 529 cities from midnight to midnight in one contiguous path.

So, get in the Christmas spirit and download Santa's Route in Google Earth. You can click on the "Points" folder after it downloads and click on "Play Tour" to fly the entire path if you want (warning, this might take a while unless you have Santa Magic).

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:23 AM | Comments (8)

20 de Diciembre 2005

Enhanced Google Search Integration in Google Earth

Last week when Google made an update to their vector data for the Google Earth Database, one of the less documented features they added was an enhancement to their "Populated Places" data. They are providing greater integration with Google Search. If you select the Layer "Populated Places" as you zoom in to a country or state you will see larger cities appear first with white/black square placemark icons. If you select the placemark you get a link to "Search Google" which results in a city search for that location with greater data.

Google Search has pretty detailed and convenient links to things like News and Maps for main cities in the US. And, it will do a basic search for city names all over the world and give some relevant and useful links. But, I don't get a link to maps for London for example. I would assume if I were living in the UK, it would automatically search the UK version of Google for these city names (which then does produce a link to Google Maps).

Interestingly, if you select the Layer "Borders" (which will not only show outlines of countries, but also the capitol cities in these countries), you will see that the capitol city links are not yet showing a link to Google Search. I guess they are still working through the integration process.

In the near future, I'm expecting Google will start integrating Google Earth with Google Maps. So, you can either choose to view your current Google Maps location in Google Earth or vice versa. Maybe this will happen when Google Earth goes out of beta.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:48 AM | Comments (0)

19 de Diciembre 2005

Back on Land

Just returned from my sailboat delivery from Annapolis, Maryland to Vero Beach Florida. It was an awesome trip and I will give some more details later this week. Unfortunately, I won't have a detailed GPS track due to an unexpected glitch, but I will be able to show a track in Google Earth from our logs when I get it converted. And, I will share some photos as well.

Tomorrow I will begin catching up on my backlog of E-mails and news stories. Sorry for the delay, but we had little access to the Internet while out at sea!

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 10:28 PM | Comments (0)

16 de Diciembre 2005

Slick Airfare Tool for Google Earth

Airfare tool in Google EarthA couple of days ago someone called 'gwwallace' at the Google Earth Community posted a really cool tool for calculating airfares (I believe it only works for the continental US and Canada right now). The airfare tool will automatically try to guess the nearest airport to you based on a lookup for your IP address. It will automatically show you airfares to various major airports from that departure point. You can try it now to see if it guesses your nearest airport correctly (it worked for me). Once you have airfares shown for various airports, you can click on the placemark and a link will be provided to a web site where you can get more information or presumably make a reservation.

If the airfare calculator doesn't guess your IP address, you can tell it what departure airport you want to use by modifying a URL. You can also choose destination airports shown as well. The instructions for modifying the URL are in this post, along with examples. This program is just getting off the ground. But, it has some real possibilities. This is a groundbreaking type of application. Great work 'gwwallace'! And, thanks to Chief_Sparky for bringing it to my attention.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:05 AM | Comments (2)

15 de Diciembre 2005

New Vector Data for Google Earth

This is a little late because I'm making a sailboat delivery down the coast. Google released on December 13th new vector data for Google Earth. The primary change being to improve the look and effeciency of the road data. In addition, the Google Earth Community Layers are supposed to be improved a bit. Here's the announcement.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 4:31 PM | Comments (0)

Around the Google Earth in 80 Days

Someone at the Google Earth Community has published 19 annotated placemarks for Jules Verne's book "Around the World in 80 Days ". Included are references to the chapters and events related to each placemark. After you download the placemarks you can select the first placemark in the folder "80jours" (the poster was French) and choose "Play Tour" to fly to each placemark.

In his post, 'H21' included a link to the entire online version of the book where you can look up his references. As with movies and historical documentaries, I expect we will see many more similar collections of placemarks based on literary references.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:10 AM | Comments (0)

14 de Diciembre 2005

Wilco Database of Concert Tours

Wilco Concerts in Google EarthThe alternative rock band Wilco, which recently won a Grammy, has some dedicated fans who have collected all sorts of data about the band. They have not only the locations and tours of where they have played, but details on the set lists of songs they played at each location. Their web site at Wilco Base has recently released a Google Earth file showing the locations and tours of Wilco with links to the data. Once you download the GE file, click on the "Where's WIlco" folder in your Places pane to see the data. Click on a placemark to see the link to the set lists.

This is the first example of documenting a band's travel I've seen. I expect there will be many more in the future. Imagine following historical trips and reminiscing about concerts you've attended in the past? Thanks to Rob of Wilco Base for bringing this to my attention, and great work!

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:05 AM | Comments (0)

13 de Diciembre 2005

Gone Sailing! Passage Plan in Google Earth

Sailing passage GPS track in Google EarthToday I am leaving to help deliver a beautiful Voyage 440 catamaran (same make and model as my old boat PatiCat) from Maryland down to Vero Beach Florida. As a result, please be patient if you send me E-mail as I will have almost no Internet connectivity for the next several days. Don't worry though, I have already written a few stories for GEB, one for each day of the week, which will be published first thing each morning.

You can see the approximate passage we have planned in Google Earth. We will come down the Chesapeake, go out to the ocean around Cape Haterras and down the coast to Florida. We have to stay kind of close to the coast to avoid going into the north-moving Gulf Stream. Zoom in and you will see we have to go past our destination to the Ft. Pierce Inlet in Florida due to bridges which are too short for our mast to go under if we were to take the northern Sebastian Inlet. Our total passage is about 860 nautical miles and will take about 5 - 6 days in this boat.

Those of you who have been following my writings will probably guess I'm pretty excited about this. And you would be right! Also, I plan to write a story when we get back with our actual GPS track in GE and include some georeferenced photos as well. What fun!

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:18 AM | Comments (1)

12 de Diciembre 2005

3280+ Football Teams and Stadiums Around the World

Football Soccer Stadiums in Google EarthA couple of months ago I wrote about a fan-collected database of information provided in the form of placemarks for Google Earth which showed 1650+ football (aka Soccer) stadiums from around the world. In the last two months, they have greatly improved not only the quantity, but also the quality of information on football teams and stadiums. You can download the collection now, and you can view the thread of discussions at the GEC here.

The information is organized by leagues, by countries, and teams. Placemarks use the flag of the country for their icons, and the placemarks may contain photos of the stadium, logos of the teams/league, and links to information about the stadium and/or teams. By the way, when I last reported the file had been downloaded 3000 times, now it's been downloaded over 9000 times. This is still the largest fan-collected GE information I've seen. There must be a few football fans out there.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:51 AM | Comments (1)

10 de Diciembre 2005

Need for Standardization for Referring to Google Earth Files

It is not surprising to notice that people are linking to locations using Google Earth on web sites all over the Internet. I write and provide links to Google Earth files almost every day. Every day people are adding links to Google Earth files in places like the WikiPedia which is a great resource and can really use a way to show locations and maps described in its contents.

However, there is something developing which I think is confusing to people. There is a huge variance at describing what it is you are linking to. Here's some examples from the WikiPedia:

  • "Map in Google Earth"
  • "Places marked out as a Google Earth placemarks file"
  • "plug-in for Google Earth"
  • "KML File for Google Earth"
  • "Google Earth placemark file"
  • "Detailed placemarks of XXXX for Google Earth"
  • "Google-Earth placemark"
  • "Map of the XXX for Google Earth"
  • "KMZ file"

On Google Earth Blog, I use...

On Google Earth Blog, I use a Google Earth logo icon to indicate when I have a link to a Google Earth file, and the mouse-over always describes the link as a "GE File". I chose to do this because the attachments in the Google Earth Community used this method, but few other web sites are doing this. Google has released another icon for such use as well, but I stopped using it because it was too large for use within my blog (it made gaps in the text layout).

Another "problem" is that a Google Earth file can contain many different things: placemarks, network links, image overlays, paths, links, and many other forms of data for the descriptions. I guess the "problem" here is that Google Earth is basically a 3D Earth-oriented browser, and can contain many different forms of content. For a web browser everyone seems to understand when you say you have a "link to a web page". But, when viewing a GE file you would rarely think of it as a "page".

The file format of KML/KMZ is also confusing. KML stands for Keyhole Markup Language (Keyhole comes from the original name to the program we now know as Google Earth). Google has been slowly going away from the Keyhole name, but its legacy confusingly persists.

In my opinion, if Google Earth files are going to become even more pervasive, then a new way of referring to the files needs to become standardized. This might be facilitated by coming up with a new file name. For example, most people know what they are getting when they get a Zip file, or a Gif. I think the compressed version (KMZ) should be the standard Google Earth file. And I think the file extension should be renamed. Possible extension names: GEL (Google Earth Location file), GEM (Google Earth Mapping file), GMZ (GE Markup Compressed), GML (Google Earth Markup Language), or maybe just GEF (Google Earth File).

Here's a thought, how about a "link to a Google Earth file"? Just some thoughts...

Another thought just occurred to me. What if Google supported GE files to be opened with Google Maps as well (to the extent the file will work there). Then, if you select a GE File your browser could default to either Google Earth, or to Google Maps (since it works in almost any browser)?

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:40 AM | Comments (17)

9 de Diciembre 2005

Google Earth for Mac OS X Coming Soon

According to Apple Insider, a much anticipated test version of Google Earth for Mac OS X has begun limited circulation for testing purposes. I'm really glad to hear about this, because a lot of visually oriented people use Macs and so I can only imagine they will be even greater fans of Google Earth than most Windows users once they get their own native version of the program.

As soon as a version is available publicly, I will of course report it here at the Google Earth Blog. In the meantime, if you follow the link to Apple Insider above you will find some screenshots of the Mac Version to whet your appetite. Also, go to OgleEarth for all kinds of reviews and comments (Stefan has been eagerly anticipating this release for some time).

[EDIT: Another story here at the Unofficial Apple Weblog PLEASE NOTE that the test version circulating is a not-intended-for-public release which was leaked to the net. I'm sure Google will release an "official" beta test soon.]

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:51 AM | Comments (4)

Locations for Amusement Parks/Roller Coasters in Google Earth

Roller Coasters Amusement Parks in Google EarthIf you are looking for the locations of amusement parks and roller coasters, the best collection for Google Earth I've found so far is from BozAdventures.com. They have posted their database of amusement park placemarks as a network link at the Google Earth Community. There's a bit too much blatant commercialism in this, but it still is fun to look at all the parks and to find out how well you can see the rollercoasters in Google Earth.

Once you download their network link from above you will see the BozAdventures logo icons. Currently, their focus is clearly on the US, but there are a few parks in other countries. Zoom in further and you will see there is a lot of information contained here (literally hundreds of roller coasters are marked). When you click on the placemark you will see their logo blazened in the description and a sometimes useful link which will take you to their database entry for the placemark. Not all of the entries have information, but you can sign up and add your own feedback to their database. I think they should allow anyone to update the data (more like a Wiki), and then their data might get populated more quickly. Anyway, this is a fun collection of placemarks!

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

8 de Diciembre 2005

Lighthouses in Italy from Google Earth

Lighthouses in Italy in Google EarthIn a post at the Google Earth Community in late-August, someone called 'bebop' from Florence, Italy posted an excellent collection of placemarks for lighthouses in Italy . He has marked 72 lighthouses and includes photos, details about the lighthouse, and sometimes even links to websites and navigational information about the light's characteristics (color, flash rate, etc.).

I found this collection interesting because in some of the placemarks you can see quite a lot of detail to these lighthouses. Many of the lighthouses have much different shapes to the ones seen in most of the United States. For example, I found one which is shaped to look like a ship's rudder. Can you find it? If so, leave a comment here with the name of the placemark.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 10:13 AM | Comments (1)

7 de Diciembre 2005

Tax Assessors Using Google Earth

Someone just told me an interesting story which happened to a friend of his. His friend got a call from a tax assessor asking him to pay property taxes and fines. His friend contacted the assessor and they produced photos of his property showing where he had built new structures on his property without permits or reporting a change in value to his property. Where did the photos come from? Google Earth!

So, I guess there are other avenues of doing business with Google Earth I hadn't considered. However, before people get too upset at Google about this. Please consider that most counties and state governments already have access to aerial photography through state-run GIS systems if they choose to use it. Google Earth might be a bit easier to use though. The new ArcGIS Explorer browser ESRI is planning to release next January will make it even easier for tax assessors to spot property tax violations since it works in tangent with GIS databases.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 12:34 PM | Comments (4)

Funky Buildings, Haunted Boats in Google Earth

Weird Buildings in Google EarthSomeone was asking at the Google Earth Community about some Google Earth pictures of what looked like ghost sailboats in the UK. If you look at the above link you will see the boats look dim and faded compared to the other nearby boats. The reason these boats look this way is that they lie near the edge of two aerial photos in the Google Earth database. In order to make the images look continuous, the image database people blend the edges of the two photos so the colors match more closely. They try to make sure objects are not along the edges, but boats are hard to spot in these images.

Another example of this type of edge blending is in high resolution photos of big cities. Along the edge of photos in a downtown area may be large buildings. Since the aerial photos are likely taken at different angles (the plane is in a different spot), the angles of the tall buildings are different. To help with the blending, the database people actually cut the edges around the tall buildings and let them overlap. See this example from Chicago, Illinois.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:04 AM | Comments (7)

6 de Diciembre 2005

Planes in Flight in Google Earth (revisited)

Planes in Flight Flying in Google Earth screenshotIt is becoming something of a passion for some, looking at the high resolution satellite and aerial photography to find a shot of an aircraft in flight somewhere on the Earth. As previously reported here and here people at the Google Earth Community have been collecting the locations of pictures of planes captured in flight in the Google Earth data.

The folks at the GEC have been creating a database which is being updated daily, and until recently you had to go to the main post and re-download the KMZ file to get the latest updates. Now, my friend Valery up in Russia has created a network link for the plane collections including the airplanes in flights, airports, locations of DC3s, and locations of Starships. He has also put train/rail-related collections as well. Once you download the network link, move it to your "My Places" folder for safe keeping. Then, click on the "Transportation" folder to see what it contains. Click on the folder you want to examine and explore. I recommend the "Air->All Aircraft in Flight". You will be amazed at the dozens of planes in flight people have found. Double click on the placemarks to get a close-up view of these planes.

One thing you may notice is that some of the planes have a "ghost". This is not a shadow, but is in fact an artifact of satellite imagery and the fact that planes are in motion. You can read an explanation here. A tip: when you are done looking at all the placemarks you can select the main folder with the right mouse button and choose "Hide Contents" to deselect all the placemarks. Then click on the folder "triangle" to open/close the folder.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:02 AM | Comments (10)

5 de Diciembre 2005

40 Highest Buildings in Rotterdam for Google Earth

Highest Buildings in 3D in Rotterdam in Google Earth screenshotSome students at the Hogeschool Rotterdam in the Netherlands made 3D models of the 40 highest buildings in Rotterdam for a school project. They used Sketchup, a 3D modelling program which supports exporting to Google Earth, to build the models. All the buildings were built by hand and they even used GPS to help with gathering their data. If you open their folder in the Places area called "Rotterdam Landmarks" you can open the "Tour & Info" folder and fly a tour of the buildings. Or you can click on the placemarks and see photos of the actual buildings. You can visit their web site for a general overview or to download from their site.

These models are quite colorful, and I wondered if the actual buildings are as colorful as the models. Looking at the provided photos you can see for yourself. The scale of the models looks accurate judging from the shadows the actual buildings casted in the Google Earth photo. The buildings look a lot better than the default buildings included in Google Earth for some of the major cities in the US. I would give these students an "A" (or the equivalent in the Netherlands).

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:53 AM | Comments (2)

3 de Diciembre 2005

Massive New Data Update for Google Earth

Google released a major update to their Google Earth database last night. The biggest update is to the UK which includes a large number of cities of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales all at 6-inch resolution. In addition, .7 meter resolution data was added for a number of cities around the world including Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt; several cities in India; Mexico City; Sydney, Australia; and several others. The Galapogos Islands had a mask fix, and even a few cities in the US were updated. In particular, check out the USGS data for Las Vegas. Here's the post at the Google Earth Community with all the details.

Get out there and explore! And those of you who like adding placemarks for interesting things to look at will have a field day for a few weeks to come at least.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:22 AM | Comments (5)

2 de Diciembre 2005

Google Earth Community RSS Feeds Available

My friend Stefan Geens at OgleEarth will be glad to hear Google has just offered some RSS feeds for the Google Earth Community forums. You can read the post by one of the forum moderators called 'PenguinOpus' which contains links to the RSS feeds.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:00 PM | Comments (0)

Google Desktop Now Supports Google Earth

Google has released a plugin for Google Desktop which will find all your KML/KMZ files and will let you view them in Google Earth. You can download the plug-in here. If you don't have Google Desktop yet, you can find out and download it from here.

I hope Google will start to include Google Earth support in other products such as Google Maps, Blogsearch, Google Analytics (the web statistics program should show locations of visitors in Google Earth - A must!), and more. For example, I'd like to see Gmail support Google Earth by showing you the distribution of locations E-mails come from.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 6:54 PM | Comments (0)

Near Real-time Flight Tracking in Google Earth

Flight tracker Flying in Google Earth screenshotA couple of days ago someone at the Google Earth Community posted a new dynamic data network link for tracking of all inbound flights into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The data updates currently about every 15 seconds. Once you download the flight tracker , you will see the airplane icons and tracks showing the last few position updates of the airlines flight. If you click on the airplane icon you get its altitude and airspeed.

What is really neat is zooming in on LAX and watching airplanes slow down, descend and land at the airport. And don't forget, you can tilt your views in Google Earth and see the planes do their descent in 3D.

This network link was developed by some guys at fboweb.com which provides services to pilots for doing flight planning, flight logs, provides airport information, and flight tracking. They also provide services so pilots can do their job and get data with a PDA. Here's the thread of posts where the dynamic data link was posted.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:59 AM | Comments (3)

1 de Diciembre 2005

More GIS Data for Google Earth

World Designer Atlas GIS Maps in Google Earthwidth=250 height=204 hspace=The guys who published the Russian bird migration tracks I wrote about last week have also been creating a great collection of GIS (Geographic Information System) data regarding basic world geographical information for Google Earth. They call the collection "World Designer", and it includes all kinds of information including boundaries and territories for continents, regions, countries, administrative units, coastlines, lakes, oceans, timezones and populations.

Once you download World Designer , you need to find the "World Designer" folder in your Temporary Places in Google Earth and click on it. Then open the folders after it loads and start turning on the information you want to look at. This data is presented in a clean fashion, so much so that you don't realize just how much information you are looking at until you start looking at it in more detail. Here is the post at the GEC where Valery35 makes available the latest version of World Designer.

This and other Google Earth works by the same guys can be found at their GIS-LAB web site (both English and Russian versions are available). Their network links are well done technically, and they seem to have some very good GIS information data sources. Excellent stuff!

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:24 AM | Comments (0)

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