31 de Agosto 2006
Better Method for Geotagging Photos for Flickr Using Google Earth/Picasa
After several months of waiting, Flickr has come out with its own method for geotagging and showing photos on a map. For quite some time, many enterprising programmers have been developing hacks to allow people to georeference photos and tag them with coordinates (geotagging). Flickr finally realized this was important, and in December they hired one of the most innovative developers - a guy named Rev Dan Cant who did a site called Geobloggers.com - and the results have been released in the form of the Flickr Map: flickr.com/map. The new interface uses a Yahoo-based map (Flickr was acquired by Yahoo), and there are several innovative features. I like the new web-based map interface for viewing the photos (see a brief review down below).
For the best method of geotagging, I recommend using the new Picasa 2.5 beta to organize and enhance your photos on your computer and Google Earth with Picasa 2.5 to geotag your photos. This new feature writes the coordinates in the photo's EXIF data. (Here's a mini-tutorial on geotagging with GE). If you do this, when you upload your photos to Flickr the new Flickr Map can be set to automatically pick up the EXIFgeotags. Using GE to geotag is more fun, faster (you can zoom in faster in GE), and can be more accurate (thanks to the better quality aerial and satellite photos). Plus, you can export your geotagged photos to Google Earth, the new PicasaWeb, Flickr Map, or wherever you want. (Note: here's another overview of this technique).
Although I recommend Google Earth for geotagging, I still like the new Flickr Map interface for showing photos. The map shows dots for locations of photos which match your current search. The center of the dot shows the number of photos in a location and the size is bigger for more photos. If there are a lot of photos at a given zoom level you see there are several pages of photos in the upper left corner of the map (just like in a normal search). You can search based on tags - search for all pictures of "cats" for example. When you click on a dot containing photos, you get a mini browser which lets you quickly scroll through thumbnails of the photos (just like on Flickr). You can click on the thumbnails and see bigger versions of the photo and then see the normal Flickr interface for viewing your photos.
You can also use Google Earth to browse photos from Flickr (here are three tools - I recommend the one from Metaltoad). But, as Rev Dan Cant has pointed out, these third-party tools have to scan the Flickr database for photos and will find it hard to keep up with the pace of new geotagged photos. There are already over 1 million photos which have been recently geotagged since Flickr Map came out. So, give Flickr Map a whirl.
When you are uploading your photos to Flickr you can choose a level of privacy for the photos. If you are showing photos of your home, you may only want friends and family to see the geotag. This makes a lot of sense, and I'm glad to see Flickr did this.
30 de Agosto 2006
Hurricane John Threatens West Mexico Coastline
There's a category 4 storm (117 knots/ 216kph / 134 mph winds) called Hurricane John in the east Pacific just off the coast of Mexico. The storm's forecasted path takes it northwest along the coast line towards Cabo San Lucas before it may veer to the open sea westward. You can track Hurricane John in near real-time (updates every 10 minutes) in Google Earth by using this excellent storm tracker . It shows current storms worldwide, the track of each storm, it's forecasted path, satellite photos, radar, and even shows web cams at towns near the path of the storm. This tool was developed by 'glooton' and posted at the Google Earth Community.
Meanwhile, East Asia needs to keep an eye on the Super Typhoon called Ioke which is a category 5 storm (155 mph winds) between Hawaii and Japan right now.
China Announces New Foreign Regulations on Mapping
From ShanghaiDaily.com, China is announcing new regulations requiring:
Any overseas institute or individual who intends on surveying or drawing the country's territory has to first receive permissions from mapping authorities under China's State Council and armed forces, according to the country's mapping law.
Those who ignore the law and collect, process and distribute the country's geographical information without authorization will be severely punished, the law states. Taking the information abroad or broadcasting it on any Website is also forbidden.
According to the story, some "illegal" maps have caused a negative impact on the political relations between China and some other countries. So, are they referring to recent photos like those listed below as the reason for these new proposed regulations? What are the implications of this to Google Earth? Are they going to tell Google they have to get permission for photos already in the public domain, if the photos are of China, or face severe legal and financial penalties?
See African Animals in High Resolution in Google Earth
When Google first released the National Geographic layer to Google Earth last September, the African Megaflyover images were an instant hit. Sometimes people browsing the African continent in Google Earth will be surprised to notice a tiny image and zoom in close to find a really high resolution image of a village or animals. (Yes, shown here is a screenshot from Google Earth of an aerial photo of some camels). If you turn on the African Megaflyover sub-layer under the National Geographic layer you will see about 500 little red airplane icons appear over the continent of Africa. Double click on the planes to zoom in and see what you find.
Someone named "Reggie98" posted a really nice collection of placemarks which has the photos of African animals categorized according to type and put into placemark subfolders. You can find: elephants, hippos, goats, flamingos, seals, and more. Simply open the folder "African animals" and you will see the list of animals, or double click on the photo icons as you zoom across Africa. This is a more informative and organized way to examine these wonderfully detailed photos from the National Geographic collection. This story was first posted in October last year, but most of you have probably not seen it.
29 de Agosto 2006
Google Updates Layers - New Featured Content for Google Earth - August 28th
Last night Google published and announced an update to the Google Earth Community (GEC) layers. These layers show blue "i" icons in Google Earth which show placemarks posted in the forums when turned on in the Layers pane on the lower left of GE. For those of you who posted in appropriate forums (some of the forums are not included in the layer) before August 18th, your placemarks should appear now. You may have to zoom down lower heights to see more of the placemarks. Since it's been a few months since the last update to this layer there are probably tens of thousands of new placemarks now available. Fortunately, the layer has sub-layers broken down by category (based somewhat on the forums at the GEC). This can help you eliminate unwanted placemarks.
In addition, Google has added a new layer called the "Featured Content" layer. Right now this includes the following: Turn Here, Jane Goodall's Gombe Chimpanzee Blog, and Discovery Channel's National Parks Tour (links point to earlier stories about these collections at GEB). My guess is that Google will rotate featured content from the GE Showcase web page through this new layer.
- Transportation Layer Improvements
- New Volcano Layer
- New Layer Layout
- New Search Feature in Placenames
- Ferry Routes in Road Layer
- Down Under and Kiwis Get Road Layer Update
29 de Agosto 2006
Back to School - Educational Uses with Google Earth
It is close to the end of summer in the northern hemisphere. Many kids are heading back to school after a summer break. For those of you who are educators and have thought, or heard, that Google Earth would make a good tool for geography lessons - let me suggest you look closer. Google Earth (GE) is not only a great tool for geography - it is a tool for tying all kinds of information to location. When you first load GE you have a wealth of information available at your fingertips. Thousands of aerial and satellite photos, dozens of layers of information: city names, country borders, airport locations, road maps, National Geographic content, volcanoes, and more. Since Google Earth is an intuitive and fun tool, I believe you could use it as a visualization and educational tool for almost any subject. Once students prepare their own content, GE can be used to present their work - or even share their work with the world.
Below you will find a sample of possible useful content for Google Earth in a variety of subjects such as geography, literature, science, history, and more. Basically, any information which can be tied to a location on Earth can be illustrated, and made interesting, using GE. Juicy Geography is a web site, by Noel Jenkins in the UK, designed to help teachers learn more about tools like GE for the classroom and suggests possible lessons. Also, check out a summary of educational uses for Google Maps by GoogleMapsMania.
Google Earth is a powerful visual tool for visualizing and presenting information tied to location. It can also be used as a tool for students to study or even prepare their own presentations. If I were an educator I would use it for many topics. You can use the "Search" or "Categories" on Google Earth Blog to find more information. Or, you can go to the Google Earth Community to look for materials as well. Here are just a sample of some of the material available organized by subject:
- Places quoted in Shakespeare
- Travels of Odysseus
- Around the World in 80 Days
- Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
- Astronomy: Meteor Craters, Solar Eclipses, Ice Flows, global temperatures
- Geology: lava flows, volcanoes, earthquakes
- Biology: Avian Flu, Chimpanzees, Ants
- Environment: Glacier melt, satellite data
- Weather: Weather tools, lightning data from NASA, more weather stories
- Lewis and Clark Expidition
- Shackleton Expedition
- Six Wives of Henry VIII
- 1906 San Francisco Earthquake
28 de Agosto 2006
August Google Earth Sightseer Newsletter Available
For those of you who did not elect to get the Sightseer newsletter by E-mail when downloading Google Earth, you can read the August isssue here. If you want to make sure you are signed up for Sightseer - go to the signup page here. A short while after published by E-mail, the issues are published at the Google Earth Community. In this month's issue:
Google Earth 4 Beta - New Features and Tips Weather in Google Earth Google Earth Data Layers
Environment and Conservation Forum The Tour de France Google Earth Links Placemarks of the Month August Calendar
And, of course, there is the usual "Where in the World?" contest.
Linking Songs to Location in Google Earth
Someone at the Google Earth Community posted a collection of placemarks based on locations mentioned in the lyrics of songs. In this case, the songs are by a group called The Tragically Hip. The poster, 'Wyman', indicated he thought this group "...are modern lyrical landscape artists in the way that many of their songs make use of stories, symbols and places, many of which can be geo-referenced". He confined each song to one location even if multiple locations were mentioned. Each placemark appears to use an Album cover for the icon.
This idea of tying songs to location is an interesting concept to me. I'd be interested to see songs from classic groups like the Beatles done in this way in Google Earth. If anyone knows of other collections based on music lyrics, let me know. Wyman indicated he got the idea from an earlier GEB post about the Canadian artists the Group of Seven.
27 de Agosto 2006
Track Hurricane Ernesto in Google Earth
[UPDATE 31-August-2006 2:30 PM ET: Ernesto is regaining strength over the gulf stream as it approaches the coast of the Carolinas. It is near-hurricane strength as of 2 PM Eastern Time at 70 mph sustained winds.]
It is now called Hurricane Ernesto as it passes Haiti and heads toward Cuba. The current forecasted track shows Ernesto striking west-central Florida in four days. But, a lot can change in 4 days with a hurricane's path. You can track the position of Hurricane Ernesto in Google Earth by using this excellent storm tracker . It shows current storms worldwide, the track of each storm, it's forecasted path, satellite photos, radar, and even shows web cams at towns near the path of the storm. This tool was developed by 'glooton' and posted at the Google Earth Community. There is another hurricane tracker (for Atlantic storms) which shows model forecast tracks, satellite photos, and other data. This was done by Paul Seabury and posted at the GEC as well. Also, check out this and other weather tools put together by Google Earth Blog.
By the way, there's a category 5 storm called Ioke in the middle of the Pacific right now with winds reaching more than 160 mph (140 knots). Use the first storm tracker above to see its track.
25 de Agosto 2006
Track Tropical Storm Ernesto in Google Earth
[UPDATE 31-August-2006 2:30 PM ET: Ernesto is regaining strength over the gulf stream as it approaches the coast of the Carolinas. It is near-hurricane strength as of 2 PM Eastern Time at 70 mph sustained winds.]
The first Atlantic tropical storm of the season with a real chance to build up to a threat for the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico is moving down hurricane alley right now. You can track the position of Tropical Storm Ernesto using this excellent Hurricane Tracker by 'glooton' which was posted at the Google Earth Community. You can see there are currently two hurricanes posing no threat in the Pacific and Tropical Storm Debby posing no threat in the middle of the Atlantic. There is another hurricane tracker (for Atlantic storms) which shows model forecast tracks, satellite photos, and other data. This was done by Paul Seabury and posted at the GEC as well. Also, check out this and other weather tools put together by Google Earth Blog. Current forecasts show Tropical Storm Ernesto reaching hurricane strength by Monday.
3D 747 Airliner on Approach at Maho Beach in Google Earth
You have probably already seen pictures and videos of giant airliners landing just a few feet above Maho Beach at Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten. They have been circulating the net in forums, blogs, and E-mail for years. Maho Beach is located only a few feet from the end of the runway. Google released high resolution satellite photos for this area (and most of the Caribbean) back in June. I downloaded a 747 Sketchup model from the Google 3DWarehouse and placed it on final approach in Google Earth. Check out the scene here in Google Earth (GE 4 Beta required). TIP: Use the middle mouse button to rotate around the scene. Unfortunately, this plane is missing it's landing gear so the landing will be a bit scary. :-)
Look at some amazing photos of actual planes landing here, and here is a video of a 747 landing at Maho Beach:
24 de Agosto 2006
News Roundup: Tides, Scientific visualization, Geody, Movie Times
- Tide Predictions for US - DestinSharks, a boating and fishing blog, has announced an ability to view Tide Stations and Predictions for the US in Google Earth. His file shows 1400 Tide Stations and 2900 sub-stations and allows you to view 3D tide prediction tables for each location.
- The Marine Geoscience Data System (a research group at Columbia University), has a number of Google Earth files including a map showing all the dive sites of Alvin the deep sea submersible, Earth's tectonic plates , and several others. OgleEarth has got other links and screenshots.
- Geody is a new location search engine. Enter a name, or coordinates, for a location and it gives you all kinds of methods for viewing. For example: New York, NY can be viewed with Google Earth, NASA WorldWind, Celestia, Google Maps, and Mapquest. You can export a location to a GPX file, Geocaching.com, etc. Also, you can get hotel and other travel information and links to Google and other search engines. What's more, you can search for locations on the Moon, Mars, and other space locations. Very cool!
- UK Movie Times - Earthware has created this network link which updates daily to show you the movie times for cinemas all over the UK. Check it out!
TriDef Visualizer - Dynamic Stereoscopic Viewing in Google Earth
A few months ago, Google Earth Blog wrote about some attempts to produce some basic anaglyphic (red-blue glasses required) stereoscopic screenshots so you could see "3D" in Google Earth. However, imagine being able to move Google Earth dynamically and see everything in stereoscopic 3D. Well, you don't have to imagine anymore!
A company called Dynamic Digital Depth, which specializes in 3D display technologies, has developed a new software product called TriDef Visualizer™ for Google Earth. This Windows software is actually a modified OpenGL graphics driver and so it can elegantly take over your Google Earth window. TriDef defaults to anaglyphic (red/blue) stereoscopic 3D. You will see a view like in the screenshot here (showing San Francisco 3D buildings). Click on the thumbnail for a bigger picture and try it with your red/blue glasses. The top half of GE is normal, and the bottom half is presenting dynamic stereoscopic views. So, as you move around looking at 3D terrain, or 3D buildings and models, you see 3D views (if you're wearing red/blue 3D glasses and once you've installed their trial software). There is no apparent speed impact, it just works. They have a special promotion for Google Earth - the full-screen version costs US $ 50.
TriDef Visualizer supports a number of different stereoscopic display techniques including dual projection and quad-buffered devices. It also allows you to control screen depth, focus parameters, and other settings. If you have a need to really show off 3D views in Google Earth, this is by far the best way to do it I've seen. I'm going to have to try this on a large projection screen. The registration/installation process for the trial is a little convoluted right now, but it is worth the trouble if you're a fan of stereoscopic viewing. By the way, once you have it working, to turn it off simply choose "Switch View to 2D" or close the TriDef control panel. Great stuff! I highly recommend trying it out if you're into stereoscopic 3D.
23 de Agosto 2006
Ramses II Move Planned with Google Earth
Announced today at the Official Google Blog, the statue of Ramses II - a major landmark in Cario, Egypt - is being moved to a new location. The engineers who planned the move used Google Earth to help plan the route. You can see the route in Google Earth here . If you double click the "Original Location" placemark (which will fly you there) and then deselect the placemark, you can just barely make out the statue (and its shadow) in the satellite photo of the Ramses Square. Here's a story about the planned move in USA Today.
3D Buildings for a Part of London in Google Earth
For some time now the guys at DigitalUrban - a blog by the folks at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) of the University College London - have been talking about a large collection of 3D buildings they have ready for Google Earth. However, they are trying to arrange a licensing arrangement with Google before they release it. I hope they work out the licensing soon, because I've been impressed by DigitalUrban's teasers.
In the meantime, I noticed someone at the Google Earth Community has been posting some basic 3D buildings for east London . Posted by 'barnabu' (who also did Google Saturn, and Kings College Chapel), he says he purposely kept the building models low in complexity. This simplicity makes for a fast download and good performance once the 3D buildings are loaded. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the CASA folks have done though.
22 de Agosto 2006
3D Luxor Hotel in Google Earth
While perusing the new Google 3DWarehouse, I discovered this really nice looking 3D model of the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Note: make sure you do NOT have the "3D Buildings" layer turned on in GE). I really like the Sphinx in front of the pyramid hotel in this model. This gives you an opportunity to look at the really high resolution (3 inches per pixel) photos of this area of Las Vegas. Turn off the model and look at the photo of the Luxor - if you zoom in close to the hotel you can see the reflections of trees, bushes and cars. You can also see people and cars around the hotel. According to the 3DWarehouse this hotel 3D model was posted by Google.
New Google 3DWarehouse Design
Google has released a new version of the Google 3DWarehouse. The design and layout borrows a lot of features from Google Video. It has "Popular", "Recent", "Google Picks" on the main page. The new features when you select a model are particularly interesting. When you load a model, which has been placed with Google Earth, you get a Google Maps showing the location of the model. Smart! Another new feature: at the bottom you get an indicator showing model complexity (based on polygon counts).
The 3DWarehouse Network Link has some improvements as well. It allows you to browse Google Earth and find models placed all over the planet (see Google's explanation). When you find a placemark at a location of interest and select it, you get a placemark description which describes the model similar to the interface at the 3DWarehouse. It even includes the model complexity indicator. Also, it appears the network link knows what version of GE you are using and will not show you a model in GE 3 if it only works in GE 4.
This update to the 3DWarehouse has some nice features making it even easier to find models in the 3DWarehouse. Hopefully, this will inspire more people to start sharing their models. Check out the 3DWarehouse now.
21 de Agosto 2006
Jane Goodall Gombe Chimpanzee GeoBlog V2.0
Earlier this year the Jane Goodall Institute became the first blog to provide their geographically tagged blog entries using exclusively Google Earth's KML file format with the Gombe Chimpanzee Blog. Each blog entry was a placemark with pictures, text, and links sometimes to other content. But, you still had to go to the blog to download each blog entry's KML file.
Now the Gombe Chimpanzee Blog has come out with a major update for Google Earth users. Not only that, but Google recently updated the area with a nice high resolution sateillite photo. The new blog entries are enhanced with snazzy formatting to provide an almost web-page quality to the placemark description. (I've noticed some flashing problems when these placemark descriptions load on Windows XP - especially if you move the mouse. But, they still look really nice). Part of the new design includes a side bar with links to a lot of other information you can load. For example:
- Blog archives - now you can load the entire archives of geoblog entries as a KML file. The older entries are in the new format if you use this file.
- Chimp Bios - these placemark descriptions sometimes include links to Quicktime videos of the chimp
- Gombe Flyover - Note: if you are not using the default tilt angle in GE you may need to adjust it higher due to the terrain
They also have other files showing the watersheds, streams, trails, and roads. By the way, their roads layer provide roads for all of Tanzania.
News of this update came via OgleEarth who says that Bryce Tugwell is the guy who made these excellent updates to the Gombe Chimpanzee Blog. Great work!
Guías Visuales para Google Earth 4
(Clic para agrandar)
Hace tiempo, en Marzo, Noel Jenkins me contactó para compartir algunas guías visuales que había creado para dar ayuda básica y avanzada sobre cómo entender la interfaz de GE 3. Ahora, ha publicado guías similares para Google Earth 4 Beta. Pueden cliquear sobre estas imágenes para verlas más grandes, o ir a este post y descargar documentos Word que les permitirán imprimir estas guías.
Noel también es devoto de utilizar los navegadores geográficos para educación. También tiene dos blogs: Digital Geography y Juicy Geography que tienen valiosa información para educadores (en inglés). Personalmente me gusta la manera de usar esta tecnología en clase para enseñar Geografía, especialmente el uso de Google Earth
Lighthouses of New Zealand in Google Earth
This nice collection of placemarks documenting lighthouses around the coast of New Zealand also serves as a good tour of this beautiful, and sometimes rugged, country. Since New Zealand just received significant high resolution satellite photography back in June, many of you may not have looked at these areas. The placemarks have photographs of the lighthouses when available, and include geographical and physical descriptions as well. This collection was posted by 'NormB' at the Google Earth Community.
Back in May, both Australia and New Zealand got more detailed road data in Google Maps. Normally it is only a short time before Google Earth and Maps synchronize. But, for some reason the road layer in Google Earth is still very sparse for both these countries.
One other thing, you can also tour Middle Earth while in New Zealand.
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - in Google Earth
James Joyce is often considered to be one of the most significant writers of the 20th century. His novel "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" is an autobiographical coming-of-age story in which he depicts a gifted young man's gradual attainment of maturity and selfconciousness. The work is full of geographic references, especially to Dublin where the main character lives. A 'davidherring', at the Google Earth Community, posted a collection of nearly 100 placemarks showing references to locations mentioned in the book. Most of the placemarks have excerpts showing where the location was mentioned, and they are organized according to chapters. See the post for more details and links to reference material. This is an excellent example of geodocumenting literary material.
20 de Agosto 2006
Firefox Crop Circle in Google Earth
[UPDATE 24-Nov-2006: Google has added an aerial photo of the site to the built-in imagery so you can see the logo was really there. Here is the actual location . I also moved the image overlay below to the correct location. The image overlay is higher resolution as it was taken from a plane.]
A bunch of Firefox devotees set out to generate more PR for Firefox. They decided to make a huge accurate Firefox logo in a crop field (designs like these are called "crop circles" - see the "official" Google Earth crop circle collection). This was a big project involving a lot of planning, building the crop stompers (to lay down the vegetation), GPSes, walkie-talkies, a plane and a helicopter (for the aerial photos). I took one of their high-resolution aerial photos and have overlayed the photo of the Firefox Crop Circle in Google Earth . This is only an approximate location, as I wasn't able to find the coordinates for the field.
Lost Ladder on Google's Roof
Redux, from a story here one year ago: Some of you may not have seen this. I was browsing the new high resolution data for Google's headquarters in California (also known as: the Googleplex) and noticed someone left a ladder on their roof! I thought this was pretty amusing so I posted a placemark in the GE Community forums. Check out the ladder for yourself. :-)
It turns out I was one of several who posted about the ladder in the forums. Some people added amusing thoughts like: "How do you find a lost ladder at Google? Do a search in Google Earth!" or "Evidence of a Google Crime Scene". By the way, if you turn on the Google Earth Community Layer you will find some other interesting things of note at the Googleplex. My favorite is Google's logo in the bottom of a small pool.
19 de Agosto 2006
New Book: "Off the Map" by GoogleSightseeing.com
My friends James and Alex Turnbull, who write GoogleSightseeing.com, have been busy turning their work into a book which will be called "Off the Map - The Most Amazing Sights on Earth as Seen by Satellite". In the UK the same book will go by "Not in the Guide Book - The wackiest sights in Google Earth, as seen by googlesightseeing.com". The book contains nearly 100 amazing sights of the Earth from satelllite photos with information about each sight. The book will be available on November 9th. You can pre-order the book from Amazon here.
18 de Agosto 2006
Make a 3D Building in Google Earth Using Paper Drawing
This is just fun. Dr. Andrew Hudson-Smith at DigitalUrban found a web site called skyscrapermodels.us which lets you make paper models of famous buildings. You could just print out the cut-outs, cut and paste the provided buildings. But, being a geek, Andy instead took the paper model of Bank of China into SketchUp and digitally cut and paste the buildings and created a Google Earth 3D model instead. Amazing! :-)
17 de Agosto 2006
Google Earth Helps Indian Citizens Trapped by Flood Waters
This is an interesting application of Google Earth: In Gujarat last week, some serious flooding left many people stranded. The city of Surat, India was particularly hard hit and the Indian Air Force needed to conduct some air-drops of desperately needed supplies to stranded citizens. Two local men, a Arvind Patel and Pravin Patel, used Google Earth to help suggest critical locations to make the drops greatly improving the relief efforts. The two men also convinced municipal authorities and airport officials to use Google Earth in their aid coordination. Here's a story from Ahmedabad Newsline.
According to another clipping from an Ahmedabad newspaper:
If [officials] could have struck upon this idea before, it would have helped many more people as carpet air-dropping of aid leads to lots of wastage. Using this tool, it was easy to identify buildings and other landmarks as [the locals] know the city like the back of their hands.
What an amazing application of Google Earth! Thanks to Jonathan who E-mailed me this story which came from worldchanging.com.
Google Maps for Mobile Now Supports Google Earth KML
Google has announced that Google Maps for Mobile (for your cell phone) now supports KML files (just like Google Maps started doing in June). This means you can access collections of placemarks into your phone when you need them. There are some limitations...the Google Maps for Mobile support is pretty much limited to just placemarks. And large collections will probably not work either. Apparently this new capability for Google Maps for Mobile was announced as part of some PR surround the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas. (Google already was running a 3D model contest for that show). First the flip phone looks like a Star Trek communicator, then we get Uhuru-like blue-tooth earpieces. What next? Google Earth tricorders of course! via GoogleMapsMania (which has some details on how to use the new application).
16 de Agosto 2006
World's Largest Cosmic Ray Detector Shown in Google Earth
The Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina will cover 3000 square kilometers when completed in Mendoza Province, Argentina. The observatory will be in the form of a large array of 1600 surface detectors ("water Cherenkov counters"). These devices will be used to detect the highest energy particles in the Universe, but they are very rare - hence the need for a large array. In fact, a similar array is planned to be built in Colorado, US. In addition to the array, there are four nitrogen flourescence telescopes, and two central laer facilities used to fire laser shots in the night sky to calibrate the detectors.
Stephane Coutu, an Associate Professor of Physics at Penn State University, posted a collection of placemarks documenting the detector array and other elements of the operation. There are scientists from 19 countries collaborating in the project. Look at the placemarks here . At this web page you can see more information on the Pierre Auger Observatory and the use of GE to visualize the project. They also have some 3D models of some of the buildings viewable with GE 4, for example: Campus buildings , Laser Facilities , and Flourescent Detector Buildings .
You can see some of the detectors in a few high resolution satellite photos of the area. However, Stephane notes that some of the photos appear to be incorrectly projected, or incorrectly placed. So, you see the detectors up to 50 meters away from the placemarks. In addition, not all of the detectors are built yet, so in many cases you won't see a detector at the placemark.
15 de Agosto 2006
Turnhere.com - Videos About Places
Google has a showcase of interesting placemark collections which you see when you download Google Earth. One of the collections. which has not yet appeared here, is Turnhere.com. They have a simple collection of placemarks showing the locations of videos which tell a story about different towns around the US. I like the short, professionally produced, videos which show candid interviews of people who live in these mostly rural towns and their views of why they like the town. One of my favorite videos is of the Yo-Yo museum in northern California. Just a chance to do a little sightseeing. Check it out!
KML Tips for a Google Maps Developer Book
One of the authors of a new book called "Google Maps Applications with PHP and AJAX" wrote Google Earth Blog about a recent blog entry where he talks about Google Maps' ability to support KML. He shows an example of how to create the KML, and explains the advantages and disadvantages of KML for use within Google Maps. Good luck with the new book Cameron!
14 de Agosto 2006
Campus Maps with 3D Buildings in Google Earth
Another campus map has been developed as a Google Earth map showing the locations of administrative and student buildings (posted by 'OneBoy'). Saint Francis University is a Catholic Liberal Arts University located on 600 acres in Loretto, Pennsylvania. Since the satellite photos in this area of GE are low resolution, the map provides an aerial photo showing more detail of the campus. Also provided are two sets of 3D models. If you are using GE 4, I suggest you open the Models folder and use the "High-Res" models which will actually run faster.
I'm surprised more universities, especially high tech ones like MIT and Stanford, haven't announced Google Earth campus maps as well.
12 de Agosto 2006
Travels of Odysseus in Google Earth
For some reason, I had the urge to find out where Odysseus might have travelled in the classic greek epic poem "Odyssey". Naturally, the Google Earth Community would be a good place to look. I entered "+odysseus +odyssey" in the search form and found this post by 'H21'. Last October, H21 posted this collection of placemarks showing the "traditional orthodox theory" for the locations described from Odyssey as Odysseus returns home from Troy.
H21 is from France and has posted a number of useful collections on the subjects of history, literature, biographies and more. Here is his own summary of some of his best collections.
- Around the Google Earth in 80 Days
- Places Quoted in Shakespeare in Google Earth
- 95 Seas of the World
- Highest Points in 177 Countries
- Castles in High Res in Google Earth
11 de Agosto 2006
Star Trek 3D Model Contest with Google Earth
As part of a promotion for a Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas on August 17-20, a contest is being held with support from Google. All you need is to create a Star Trek-based 3D model with the free Google SketchUp and submit it to the Google 3DWarehouse with the tag "scifi". The deadline is August 13, so get busy! The best 3D models will be displayed at the Google Booth at the convention. Here's a news story about the contest from startrek.com. Here's the Google page on the Star Trek contest.
Make Picasa Web Album into a Google Earth File
One of GEB's readers, Sean Watson, wrote to let us know about a nifty URL-tool which can convert a Picasa Web Album (assuming the Picasa photos have been geotagged - which is easy to do, see a tutorial). This was posted at a Picasa forum and developed by YourMap.com (which has a number of photo geotagging tools and map viewing tools). All you need is your Picasa Web Albums userid and album name and put it in the URL like this:
Once you submit the URL in your browser it passes your album to a program which generates a GE file on the fly with the geotagged photos from the album. Here is an example Picasa Web Album (Note: it may take a minute or two to generate) . Once you have your GE file generated you can save it and share it. Right now the generated file contains what appears to be some debug messages in the placemark descriptions. Obviously it is still under development.
Hopefully, Google will add their own tool and place it in the Picasa Web Album interface to generate KML on the fly from any web album. It's an obvious feature to include.
High Resolution Satellite Photo of Typhoon Saomai
Super Typhoon Saomai struck mainland China today causing over 1 million evacuations. Over 100 have been reported dead so far. This storm struck with winds near 150 mph putting it in the same class as Hurricane Katrina last year. A recently processed color high resolution satellite photo is overlayed in Google Earth showing the storm as it struck China just a few hours ago. See Google News stories on the storm. Image courtesy of MODIS Rapid Response Project at NASA/GSFC (500m resolution).
Google Releases Regionator - Useful Code for Google Earth
Google has released source code for a tool they call "Regionator". The code will enable developers to more rapidly develop interfaces to large databases of placemarks, images, and other data with KML 2.1 and the new GE 4. Presumably it takes advantage of the new level of detailing features and view based refreshes so only the data which is needed for the current view is presented. This should enable whole-Earth historic maps, more accurate local information overlays from GIS servers, new sets of aerial/satellite photography, and higher-precision scientific data to be shared with Google Earth. Hopefully, by releasing this source code, we will see even more exciting new visualizations in Google Earth.
10 de Agosto 2006
Salute to the An-2 in Google Earth
"The Antonov AN-2 biplane, the largest single engined biplane, is still in service in the military of some countries and in use as a civil aircraft and private aircraft in many others. It is also on display in museums around the world. Like the DC-3, it's easy to find from above using GE." This comes from a post by 'Hill' at the Google Earth Community. He posted the location of a few An-2s visible in Google Earth's satellite and aerial photography. What he didn't expect is that he would unleash a wave of similar finds by some aviation enthusiasts who love finding planes in GE. Already hundreds of the planes sitting around airports all over the world have been identified. Some of the searchers are even using aviation databases to find the registered home locaiton of the planes. Here's the collection of placemarks showing the An-2s found so far . (photo of the An-2 came from Airliners.net) Thanks to 'Delta102' for bringing the post to my attention - he happens to have discovered a large percentage of the An-2s in the collection. 'Delta102' is also a big contributor to the collection of DC-3s found around the world, which is also maintained by 'Hill'.
Moon Trees in Google Earth
Just happened upon this using the Google Earth Community layers in Google Earth. I happened to know about a moon tree at my campus at the University of Arizona. When I clicked on the placemark I discovered a photo of that tree in Google Earth was taken by a good friend of mine, Jim Scotti. It turns out someone has posted a Google Earth file showing the locations of moon trees around the US. What is a moon tree you ask? Here's a brief explanation:
"Apollo 14 launched in the late afternoon of January 31, 1971 on what was to be our third trip to the lunar surface. Five days later Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell walked on the Moon while Stuart Roosa, a former U.S. Forest Service smoke jumper, orbited above in the command module. Packed in small containers in Roosa's personal kit were hundreds of tree seeds, part of a joint NASA/USFS project. Upon return to Earth, the seeds were germinated by the Forest Service. Known as the "Moon Trees", the resulting seedlings were planted throughout the United States (often as part of the nation's bicentennial in 1976) and the world. They stand as a tribute to astronaut Roosa and the Apollo program." - From Dave Williams, NASA GSFC - The Moon Trees web site. Go to the site to learn more about the trees and how the seeds were flown and tested.
9 de Agosto 2006
Homemade Network of Real-time Lightning Data - See it in Google Earth
All it takes is a directional lightning detector, a PC, and an Internet connection. Then you can contribute to a sensor net showing real-time lightning strikes through Blitzortung.org. The focus of this sensor net is Europe. The web site shows maps of the data, or you can download a Google Earth network link showng the strike data which updates every minute. The colors of the dots seen here represent the age of the strikes (white was within 10 minutes, dark red is 60 minutes). Unfortunately, the GE file doesn't have the legend explaining the colors yet. They have other map formats (a density map for example) which hopefully they will provide in their GE network link as well. Read Blitzortung's About page for detals (available in German, English or French).
There have been other sensor nets shown in Google Earth. But, lightning data is particularly dynamic. And, this is the first time I've seen a real-time sensor net based on homemade equipment. I hope some folks start this up in the US too. I might even set one up myself! via OgleEarth.
Other sensor nets for Google Earth:
- Real-time Stream Flow Sensor Net in Google Earth
- Near Real-time Ocean/Weather Data
- Sensor Nets and the James Reserve Sensor Net
8 de Agosto 2006
Tropical Storms in the Pacific - Maria, Typhoon Saomai, and Bopha
So far this summer the tropical storms in the Atlantic have been mild and few in comparison to last year's flood of storms. Things have been pretty active in the Pacific though. Right now there are three storms of interest visible in the hurricane tracker which is part of GEB's collection of Storm Tracking Tools (read more about these tools). Maria is just now striking Japan, Bopha is striking Taiwan, and Typhoon Saomai (currently a class 2 storm) is about 1000 km east of Taiwan and headed west. Use the hurricane tracker to check not only the historical and forecasted track of these storms, but also see satellite photos, radar, and even web cams of the areas the storms are approaching.
Goggles - Google Maps Flight Simulator, Also: Google Earth Flying
A very cool Google Maps mashup, which lets you navigate by flying a little plane, was recently released. It's called "Goggles - the Google Maps Flightsim" and developed by Mark Caswell-Daniels. It is a very fun interface for flying around aerial photos in Google Maps. And, you can even shoot things if you want (just dive down using the UP and DOWN keys, and hit the SPACE key). Using this fun tool just brings a smile to your face. :-)
What some of you may not realize is that Google Earth has a similar built-in feature. Yes, you can navigate through Google Earth as if you are flying a plane! The feature is called "G-Force" mode. You press CTRL-G to enter the mode (your cursor should change to an airplane). Then hold the right mouse button and push forward or backwards to control speed. Hold the left mouse button and move forward or backward to control tilt, and move right or left to control your bank. Use CTRL-T to resume normal navigation mode. I suggest you try flying in areas with mountains or 3D buildings to get the full effect.
Look for G-Force mode on this help page for more details on the controls. It also shows the slightly different keys required for use on a Mac.
Microsoft vs. Google Imagery Comparison for Sydney, Australia
Back in May Microsoft released new imagery for the UK for Windows Live Local. Google Earth Blog had a story showing a comparison of the new data for a section of London around the London Eye. I suggested then that the Google Earth/Maps base imagery for the area needs some processing, because the imagery looks "foggy".
I was recently reading reports about Microsoft's new Sydney, Australia aerial imagery and took a look (Google Maps above, Windows Live Local below in the screenshots here). In this case, the Google Maps/Earth imagery is better processed than the Microsoft imagery. In fairness, both have similar high quality resolution for Sydney (although I think Google's is a little better). Google's database of high resolution imagery covers a much greater percentage of the surface of the Earth than Microsoft's by a large margin at this time. So, just picking major metropolitan areas doesn't show the whole "picture". Both of the companies buy their imagery from a variety of sources. As far as I know, Google does very little processing of the imagery it acquires. Some of the imagery in Google is better than Microsoft's, and vice versa. So, look at both!
You can easily compare the differences between Google Maps and Windows Live Local by using FlashEarth. Look at the Sydney Opera House area here in FlashEarth. Click on "Live Local (no labels)" or "Google Local" to compare the images. Or you can go look at this area of Sydney in Google Earth .
7 de Agosto 2006
Mayon Volcano in Phillipines Causes Evacuations - See in Google Earth
About 35,000 people near the Mayon Volcano in the Phillipines are being evacuated after at least 6 blasts were heard and a huge cloud of dust and ash was shooting into the sky this morning. From the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology: "Beautifully symmetrical Mayon volcano, which rises to 2,462 m above the Albay Gulf, is the Philippines' most active volcano. The structurally simple volcano has steep upper slopes that average 35-40 degrees and is capped by a small summit crater. " See this BBC Story (which includes pictures). Here are several useful resources for seeing this volcano in Google Earth:
- Location of the Mayon Volcano
- Go to your "Layers" pane in the left panel in Google Earth and turn on the "Geographic Features" layer. This layer shows world-wide volcanoes, and provides excellent descriptions with photos. Use the link above to find the Mayon Volcano and click on the Red Triangle to see a description of the volcano from the Smithsonian Institution. Read more about the volcano layer.
- Current Erupting Volcanoes - From Volcano World
- Earthquake Monitoring - Real-time seismic activity from the last seven days from around the world by the USGS. Read more.
News Roundup - Disease Found, Enterprise, Geb - God of Earth
- Disease Found in Google Earth - A health services organization in Amsterdam used Google Earth to find the location of the cause of a breakout of Legionnaires' disease in early July. About 30 people were infected and two people died. Apparently the health organization determined a certain kind of "cooling tower" was the cause, and they used Google Earth to look at the rooftops of the buildings in the satellite photos to find which building had that type of cooling tower. Read the details at OgleEarth.
- Google Earth Enterprise Blog - A Ryan Arp recently started up this new blog covering topics about Google Earth's top-end application: Google Earth Enterprise. In his introductory post he says he found no blogs focused on this space. It will be interesting to learn more about Google Earth's most complex application.
- GEB - this is the acronym of the Google Earth Blog. What some of you may not realize is that GEB is the name of an ancient Egyptian god - Geb - the God of Earth. You probably won't believe I knew that when I created the blog, and you would be right. :-)
Bariloche, Argentina - Una vez descargado este archivo de Google Earth, debes abrir la carpeta llamada "Bariloche". Tiene una colección de contenido multimedia: Un modelo 3D del cablecarril "Teleférico Cerro Otto", una cámara web del lago (cuya posición está señalada en 3D), el pronóstico del tiempo local actual y mapas SIG de las principales vías de comunicación. Bariloche tiene también algunas buenas imágenes de alta resolución en GE. Esta información fué publicada por 'Gerardo64' de la Comunidad Google Earth. Realmente me gustó el modelo 3D del Teleférico y la belleza de las montañas. Me dan ganas de visitar este lugar. Dice Gerardo: "La Estación Superior tiene la particularidad de que rota permanentemente, asi que si están allí por un rato, verán el paisaje en 360º" Aquí hay una página de Wikipedia sobre Bariloche.
5 de Agosto 2006
Speech and Gesture Input for Google Earth
This video actually came out a few months ago. Somehow I missed writing about it. Since I recently did a write-up on the ping pong ball interface for Google Earth, I thought I would share this one as well. The video was posted to Google Video by Edward Tse who worked on this project for his PhD and the research was apparently conducted at Mitsubishi Research Labs. The video shows a multi-touch capable tabletop display that allows someone to zoom in on the aerial/satellite photos of Google Earth using hand gestures or even speech recognition.
See other interface experiements:
Future Directions - See Microsoft Photosynth For Ideas
Last week Microsoft released a video showing new photo georeferrencing technology being developed as part of Microsoft Live Labs and done in collaboration with the University of Washington. The technology called Photosynth is truly breathtaking. The concept is to create a 3D experience out of photographs and the scene detail increases as you add more photos. It's best described by either watching a video, or actually trying out a live Java demo of the application. Here's the video:
So, what does this have to do with Google Earth?
Right now, Google Earth has some limited built-in 3D buildings (38 US cities have some simple grey-colored 3D models of buildings). Thanks to the freely available Google Sketchup, and the open KML file format, several other cities are getting 3D buildings from user contributions (see Vancouver, Buenos Aires, Cape Town.
If you were to integrate Google Earth with some of the features of Google Picasa and Google SketchUp, you wouldn't be far from having the capability of Photosynth. Picasa is already being integrated with GE for geotagging. And SketchUp has also already had some integration with GE. Google Earth 4 Beta now allows you to show photo textures over 3D models. I recommend watching this tutorial for Google SketchUp where you can see how easy it is to add phototextures to 3D models: making a birdhouse with photos. It should seem very familiar after viewing the Microsoft Photosynth video or demo.
Showing the power of integrating photos with 3D models is something Google Earth has been doing since day one. Google SketchUp has enabled anyone to add their own photos to the 3D world of GE. Photosynth is an excellent R&D demonstration of taking that to the next step. Google also has technologies capable of providing some of these capabilities. I'm sure Microsoft's Photosynth can only help inspire Google and other companies to advance their capabilities. There is no doubt Microsoft will consider using technologies from the Photosynth project in their own 3D globe when they release their challenge to Google Earth. Microsoft has also acquired some other technologies which might enable them to autogenerate 3D models of buildings with phototextures. I'm sure Google will also continue to advance their abilities to integrate photos in 3D space. It's great to have the big guys competing in these areas. The by-products are technologies like Google Earth and Photosynth and what we get to play with, as users of these free applications, is simply...amazing!
See Dr. Hudson-Smith's views on PhotoSynth at DigitalUrban.
4 de Agosto 2006
Music Group Audioslave Uses Google Earth for Promotion
The music group Audioslave, who happens to be the Xbox Artist of the Month of August, has a new album coming out called Revelations. The artwork for the new album has a photoshopped satellite photo of the Earth from space with a new continent on the surface in the shape of part of their logo. They also have released a Google Earth file which shows their new "nation" overlayed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean by patching together GE satellite photos. They call it AudioSlaveNation.
I find these kinds of creative applications of Google Earth, with a marketing hook, to be great business ideas. I hope they get a few extra eyeballs for their efforts and sell a few albums. Here are some other similar marketing efforts done with Google Earth:
- Pirates of the Caribbean - same idea with a custom island overlay
- Mazda MX-7 Sweepstakes
- British Army on Everest
- Adidas FIFA World Soccer Promotion
- Discovery Channel
- King Kong DVD promotion
3 de Agosto 2006
"Google Geek Unearth's Military Secret"
That's the title of a new story from ABC News by Bede Moore. This story is referring to the recent find of a huge military terrain map in China of a disputed border area between India and China in Google Earth which you can see and read about here. This is one of the most interesting finds in Google Earth this year. The news story points out that while Google Earth isn't being used by the military (they have access to even better satellite and aerial photos), anyone browsing the data and finding a unique sight can possibly reach "blogosphere stardom" if they find something really interesting.
See some other examples of unique finds:
- KC-135 Caught Refueling C-5 Galaxy in Mid-air
- Lancaster Bomber Found Flying in Google Earth
- Google Releases 3" Resolution Aerial Photos of Las Vegas
- Google Earth Sleuthing - Story of a Burning Ship
Update to Ping Pong Ball Interface for Google Earth - Video
In an update to the ping pong ball story a few days ago, Dr. Hudson-Smith at DigitalUrban has posted a blog entry documenting their successful test of the "Atlas Gloves" application which allows you to use lighted ping pong balls and a video camera to control Google Earth. They even produced a nice little video showing their test working:
They even provide a few tips on making it work properly if you choose to implement it yourself.
Three Flickr Photo Browsing Tools for Google Earth
A year ago today I wrote about an excellent network link tool for browsing Flickr photos in Google Earth. The idea was to show the location where your photos are taken by geotagging (showing the cooridnates) of the photo's location. Unfortunately, the guy who wrote it was hired by Yahoo at the end of last year and the network link went away. This was a very popular tool when it worked. Fortunately, other tools have been developed to try and fill the gap. Just recently news on two Flickr photo browsing tools has been sent to me.
The first called Flickrmap I wrote about in January which has the ability to let you geotag your photos with Google Earth (like the recently released capability with Google Picasa). Flickrmap has now been updated to Flickrmap V2 and includes new features such as route lines linking photos based on a trip, slideshows based on location, and more (see announcement). You can see the photos in either Google Maps, a Flash-based map, or with Google Earth. See the Flickrmap network link here (it takes a few seconds to update).
Last night I received an E-mail from someone at MetalToad Media who has produced a really slick looking network link for showing Flickr photos in Google Earth. This one not only finds those Flickr photos which have been geotagged, but also highlights those which have been rated interesting by Flickr users by coloring the icons red. The network link works really fast as well and will show up to 250 photos for any one view.
And finally, a third Flickr browsing tool called Geofeeder is available as well. This network link works slower because it actually loads small images for the icons of the placemarks. It was developed by Planet9. See the nice write-up at Ogle Earth on this one.
One thing you should realize is that only a small percentage of photos in Flickr are geotagged to date. I've been using the new Picasa 2.5 beta with geotagging and it is really fast and easy to use (see this tutorial). It will be good when Picasa 2.5 is released (and I hope they implement a network link to find geotagged photos in Picasa Web Albums). But, as more people start geotagging their photos, and more cameras come out with built-in GPS/geotagging capabilities, we will see a lot larger number of photos. The idea of showing rated photos is a particularly useful concept and will become important as we get larger numbers of photos geotagged. Otherwise, we will be inundated with too many photo-placemarks for any one spot on the Google Earth.
- Panoramio - Photos of the world, built from the ground up for georeferenced photos
- Geosnapper - another photobrowsing network link
Recent Aerial Photo Updates: Chicago, Canary Islands, Japan
Google adds new content to the satellite and aerial photos for Google Earth every few weeks. During the last couple of weeks several new areas were updated:
- Some areas of downtown Chicago were updated. Meigs Field , the former location of the default Microsoft Flight Simulator airport, is seen to no longer look like an airport and the transition to a park is well on its way. The mayor of Chicago should have been fined for breaking contract with the government and closing the airport a few years ago. Note: although the photos in Chicago seem to be newer, the quality is worse than the last batch.
- The Canary Islands - The update to these islands seems to have been a bit of a disaster. Apparently a local aerial photography company called Grafcan managed to get a contract with Google to supply Canary Island photography. The data they supplied was reportedly taken in 2002 (yet the Digital Globe photography it replaced was newer). The aerial photo coverage of the islands is certainly better with the new Grafcan data. But, according to local environmentalists the government is trying to hide recent developments with the older photos. Not only that, but Grafcan's images have been censored (a military base is blanked out). These issues have been covered quite well at OgleEarth here and here.
- There are also reports that new aerial photos have been added to parts of Japan.
2 de Agosto 2006
News Roundup - New GE Book, GE and Science, 3D Model, GIS Day, Another Chance
A collection of interesting news:
- Google Earth for Dummies - According to Amazon, this book is coming out on December 11, 2006 by David Crowder.
- How Google Earth is Changing Science - by Spiegel Online. This article has stirred up some negative comments from OgleEarth and Cartography. But, despite a few inaccuracies, I think its a good article. It correctly points out that an increasing number of scientists are using GE as a presentation tool to help the public understand their geospatially oriented data. See lots of examples of GE and science here.
- Beebe Windmill - GE 4 3D model - This nicely done 3D model of the windmill in Bridgehampton, New York was found at the GEC here. I like structures whose real-life shadows can be seen in the satellite/aerial photos.
- National GIS Day - National Geographics Society each year encourages GIS users and vendors to open their doors for a day (this year on November 15, 2006) to the general public to share GIS and mapping technologies. It is part of Geography Awareness Week. Since Google Maps and Google Earth have probably done more to help raise public awareness for mapping and GIS than any other products, I think Google should participate.
- Last Chance to See - This GE file from the blog Another Chance to See shows some placemarks documenting the travels of famed author Douglas Adams (most famous for "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy") when he wrote his book "Last Chance to See" which focused on endangered animals. Another Chance to See documents current and past information on the endangered animals from the book. The site recently got notice from the Sierra Club. The author of the blog, Gareth Suddes, got some tips on his GE file from GEB.
1 de Agosto 2006
Tropical Storm Chris
The next tropical storm from the Atlantic this season to threaten land, Tropical Storm Chris, is approaching the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean and the Bahamas. Fortunately, it isn't currently forecasted for hurricane strength. You can track Chris and other tropical storms around the world using Google Earth and the excellent Hurricane Tracker posted by 'glooton' at the Google Earth Community. Or, better yet, check out the Google Earth Blog storm tracking tools network link which bundles the tracker and other weather tools. These tools let you overlay satellite photos and other data in Google Earth to see the positions of storms, radar weather and other weather conditions.
[NOTE: 5 PM update shows this storm forecasted to reach hurricane strength by Friday afternoon near the Turks & Caicos and Bahamas.]
Happy Birthday Google Earth Blog
Happy Birthday! Google Earth Blog was first published one year ago today. A lot has happened in the last year for Google Earth, and I've learned a lot about blogging. Over 500 blog entries, over 1000 published comments (not counting spam), over 1000 images, and several million readers. The response from readers has been overwhelmingly positive. I hope all of you will continue reading the blog as Google Earth, and the content published by its users, continues to evolve and improve during the next year. Many thanks to the many bloggers who I've grown to know and who have helped me or given me ideas for improvement. In particular I want to thank the folks belonging to: OgleEarth, GoogleMapsMania, the MapRoom, GoogleSightSeeing, the Google Earth Community and its moderators, and the Google Earth Team.
Google Earth Team Recognized for Hurricane Katrina Help
Last year the Google Earth Team contributed to the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in a very unique fashion. They worked with Red Cross, NOAA, FEMA, and other government organizations to provide aerial imagery (and other data), taken after the hurricane hit, inside of Google Earth just a few days after the devastating hurricane hit. Because GE is so easy to use, not only did the relief organizations use this imagery to help assess damage, but also the citizens of the damaged areas were quick to realize they could see what damage may have occurred to their homes (since due to the evacuations they were not able to return for quite some time). The GE team did a phenomenal job considering the amount of work involved in georeferencing thousands of new photos and creating methods for users to view the data quickly and easily.
Last week the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (one of the top US government mapping and GIS organizations) presented the "Hurricane Katrina Recognition Award" to the Google Earth team, as well as the Google Enterprise and Global Support groups, for their direct support during the Katrina disaster. Read the details in the Official Google Blog. They did a great job!
Here is a summary of some of the resources provided by Google for Hurricane Katrina. And here is a reverse chronological listing of stories written about Hurricane Katrina by the Google Earth Blog as the events happened.