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31 de Enero 2007

Navigation Tricks with Google Earth 4

Nav Gadget Control in Google Earth 4The navigation gadget in Google Earth 4 packs a lot of functionality in a small space. In fact, there are some undocumented features which you may not have discovered. The nav gadget lets you control your view of GE in a number of ways. Did you know you can pan, zoom, rotate, and tilt with the nav gadget? You can also make the gadget itself appear and disappear with a wave of the mouse. Not only that, but you can reset your zoom, tilt and rotation very simply once you know the tricks.

Here's some details on the controls (including some tricks):

  1. Panning Click and hold your mouse on the center gadget - which acts like a joystick. While holding and dragging the mouse it will pan your view. You can also click the little arrows around the center to pan in a specific direction.
  2. Rotating - Click and drag the outer circle or the "N" button to rotate your view about the compass. The "N" is for north - so if it is on top, then north is up. Trick: - Click on the "N" button once and it will automatically reset to north up. Trick 2: You can also click the "n" key on your keyboard to reset.
  3. Zoom - The slider on the right controls your zoom. Drag it up or down to zoom in or out. The farther you drag the slider the faster it zooms. Click the "+" or "-" buttons to zoom in or out at a set speed. Trick: DOUBLE-click on the "+" or "-" buttons to zoom all the way in or out to minimum/maximum.
  4. Tilting - The slider on the top controls tilting. Drag it right or left to tilt down or up. The further you drag the slider the faster it tilts. The buttons on either slide let you tilt up or down at a set speed. Trick: DOUBLE-click the buttons on the right or left to tilt all the way up or down at once. Trick 2: you can also hit the "u" key on your keyboard to reset tilt all the way up at once. Trick3: you can hit the "r" key on the keyboard to tilt up and north up at the same time.

You can make the nav gadget disappear or appear by using the "View->Show Navigation" menu choices. "Never" makes it stay off, "Always" makes it stay on, "Automatic" is the interesting one. Automatic makes the gadget disappear when not in use. But, there is a trick to make this work: If you have "Automatic" turned on when you first start GE up, you have to move your mouse cursor over the upper right part of the nav gadget and back before it will automatically disappear (I didn't know this myself until recently). Wave the mouse cursor back to the upper right to make it reappear. This same behavior works with the time slider gadget with the same "View" menu choices. You can alternatively show just a compass (smaller than the nav gadget) by choosing the "View->Compass" option.

One final favorite little-known trick: You can zoom part way in by double clicking the left mouse button somewhere on the Earth, if you have two or more mouse buttons you can double click the right mouse button and zoom out part way.

If you want to learn other interesting things about using Google Earth, check out the "GE Basics" page here at GEB. Also, check out the Using Google Earth blog by a Googler named John Gardiner. And, don't forget the Google Earth User Guide.

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 9:08 AM | Comentarios (4)

30 de Enero 2007

Video Tutorials for SketchUp to Google Earth

Video Tutorials (podcasts) on SketchUp and Google EarthTwo certified SketchUp instructors called Mike Tadros and Alex Oliver have created a number of excellent video tutorials (podcasts) at a web site called go-2-school.com. These videos (Quicktime required) are professional-grade with nice transitions, music, and excellent zooms to show details on user interface sequences. They have chosen broadcast quality resolution (so you can see all the details), which does mean you either need very good broadband or need to be patient during download. Here are some Google Earth relevant tutorials: Google Earth to SketchUp - Part 1, and SketchUp to Google Earth - Part 2. If you are looking to learn more about using SketchUp, these video tutorials are worth watching.

Also available from the "School" guys is a video interview with Google's John Bacus at MacWorld earlier this month where he shows the new 3D buildings in Google Earth 4.

Related: See some of SketchUp's own video tutorials.

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 9:55 AM | Comentarios (1)

29 de Enero 2007

Discovery Sunrise on Google Earth

Discovery Sunrise Earth in Google EarthGoogle announced today a new layer in Google Earth found under the "Featured Content->Discovery Networks" sub-layer called "Sunrise Earth". This layer displays Discovery Channel placemark icons showing the locations for video clips from the Discover Channel Sunrise Earth program (which I enjoy watching sometimes on the Discovery HD channel). Each placemark contains a photo from the particular sunrise program and a link to a 2 to 3 minute video clip from that episode (see this one from the Dominican Republic for example). Watching these little clips might be a useful way to calm down during stressful moments.

Discovery Networks also has a couple of other sub-layers of placemarks for locations relating to other programs from their network: One from the Discovery Atlas program (another one with lots of HD programming) and Discovery World Tour which provides some good sightseeing around the world. Just turn on the layers under the "Featured Content->Discovery Networks" layers folder in GE.

Related: For real-time day and night sides of Earth, check this out.

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 3:27 PM | Comentarios (0)

Shape2Earth - GIS Data to Google Earth

Shape2Earth screenshot in Google EarthOne of the more basic outputs of GIS applications is a file type called a shapefile. A shapefile is a geospatial vector data format developed and popularized by GIS software maker ESRI, but used by other GIS software makers as well. For example, it's possible to use free GIS applications like MapWindow to produce shapefiles. There's an inexpensive ($29.99) application called Shape2Earth (Windows only) available which will let you convert shapefiles into KML so you can view your GIS data in Google Earth.

For more sophisticated GIS to Google Earth conversions, there are two other tools to consider. Arc2Earth ($99 - $299) is probably the most sophisticated (mentioned at GEB last year) which provides many tools for converting data and visualizations from ESRI's ArcGIS software. Arc2Earth has been updated substantially since it was first released. Also available is an application called KMLer ($20 - $50) which also has support for ArcGIS (see last year's GEB write-up).

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 9:35 AM | Comentarios (10)

28 de Enero 2007

Extremes of the Earth

Extremes in Google EarthAbout a year ago, someone at the Google Earth Community called 'satishgsk' did some work collecting placemarks of interesting examples of extremes all over the Earth . Examples: 'deepest canyon', 'tallest bridge', 'shortest river', 'largest crater', etc. His post includes lots of photos, but it's better to just look at the placemarks and see the place in Google Earth. The placemark descriptions include photos and a brief description. Note that the "facts" presented are not exactly documented, so the accuracy of the statements may be in question. But, it's a fun collection to load and do some sightseeing.

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 9:38 AM | Comentarios (0)

26 de Enero 2007

Sydney Aerial Photo Shoot

[UPDATE: 29-January - Photo shoot does not go as planned - see below]

Human sign on Sydney beach in Google EarthGoogle announced earlier this week they would be shooting high-resolution aerial photos in the Sydney Harbour area during Australia Day today. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that they saw many people all over town setting up to be in the picture. Many of the people were putting up banners, drawing signs in the sand, or laying people out to spell words hoping their words would be immortalized in Google Earth/Maps in a few weeks after Google processes the images. The article includes photos of several of the signs and groups participating. One guy put out a sign saying he loved his wife (who left him recently), and there are many other tales in another article in the newspaper. The first article pointed out that there are rumors Google did this in response to Microsoft doing an aerial photo shot on the same day. Whether or not this is true, the spontaneous response by people coming out for the Google photos was large. The authors of the article didn't mention anyone having seen the plane flying over. I'm trying to get confirmation from Google that the plane managed to acquire photos. I hope they did, this will be really interesting to see if the photos get published.

As feared, the photo shoot did not go as planned. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the plane Google hired was unable to get approval for the flight plan it had filed and it did not fly in all the locations or at the times Google had announced. So, many of the people who had arrived did not get their photos taken as planned. As mentioned last week, holding an aerial photograph as a PR event is very risky. Maybe backup plans such as aerial drones and kite aerial photography could be used to help increase the probability of success for events like this.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 12:10 PM | Comments (7)

High Res Photos from an Aerial Drone in Google Earth

Aerial drone photo in Google Earth

In early January, a very cool video was released showing a guy assemble a remote controlled aerial drone with a digital camera and then fly it using virtual reality goggles. A company called Pict'Earth is selling the technology. Shortly after the video was published, an innovative member of the GE Community by the name of Valery Hrosunov joined forces with Pict'Earth to demonstrate the aerial photo data using his SuperOverlay tool. The SuperOverlay tool lets you take large images and break them up into regions so they can be viewed elegantly in Google Earth. As an example, they have flown the drone over a gravel pit near Gardanne, France and you can view the imagery with Google Earth. The resulting image is less than a foot in resolution, so it will take a while to load all the layers of images. You can see how a low-flying drone can capture so much more detail. They have purposely outlined the images in GE so you can see how it tiles the images as you get closer. Once the imagery is loaded you can zoom in and out smoothly. You can read the Pict'Earth blog to follow their progress as they commercialize this technology. Great work guys, but I really need to fly one of these myself to do a proper review! *hint* *hint* :-)

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:56 AM | Comments (3)

25 de Enero 2007

Build Your Campus in 3D for Google Earth Contest

As previously mentioned (in my article last week about the University of Colorado/Boulder in 3D blog entry) Google is holding a contest for the best 3D model of a college campus created with SketchUp and posted for viewing in Google Earth. Google has just announced the contest on the Official Google Blog, and there are more details than when I first discovered the contest. Entries need to be submitted before 1-June-2007. The contest will be judged by a panel of experts from places like Disney, Electronic Arts, and even architects. See the contest web page for details and registration instructions. Follow the link to my earlier story to see a video showing the Boulder campus already completed by some Googlers at SketchUp, or you can just go to Boulder with GE 4 and turn on the "Buildings -> Best of Google Warehouse" layer to see it in full detail. By the way, some of the teams with the best entries will win a 3-day trip to the Googleplex for a work shop on 3D modeling.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 1:17 PM | Comments (3)

Third Life - Google Earth's Next Step?

TechCrunch has just published about some rumors that Google is working on using Google Earth-related technology to create an application similar to Second Life or There. These ventures are some of the more successful attempts to build an alternative 3D "universe" (called a Metaverse) where you can interact with other people through the net by building avatars who represent your self in that other world. The concept of the metaverse was popularized by a science fiction book called "Snow Crash" by Neal Stepheson (a good read by the way). In fact, according to John Hanke - Director of Google Earth - scenes from that book were part of the inspiration which led to Google Earth.

TechCrunch points to a blog entry by one of the investors of Second Life that they believe "Google is working on turning Google Earth into a virtual world a la SecondLife." TechCrunch also pointed to a Business 2.0 article last month (not sure how I missed this one) which discusses in more detail speculation that Google may move in the direction of creating a metaverse. That article correctly points out that between Google Earth and SketchUp, Google has a lot of the right technology to make this possible. One blogger has speculated Google would just buy Second Life.

There is certainly a lot of merit to the speculation Google might create a metaverse. In the 1980s, I worked on virtual reality technologies at NASA, and I've been a big fan of Snow Crash and the concept of a metaverse since the book was first published. There have been many attempts (I made a couple attempts myself) since the early 90s to make metaverses - and the concept is finally starting to catch on (mostly because the standard desktop can finally handle the 3D graphics required). Google Earth has already demonstrated many innovative ways to pull in diverse dynamic information from the Internet and share that in a visually appealing way. And Google has barely tapped the possibilities even with GE 4 which just came out. There are many possibilities for improving Google Earth and how we interact with it.

But, Google Earth is not a metaverse. It's a virtual globe on steroids. However, thanks in part to GE and SketchUp, Google has the right technologies, and experience with data scalability and interfaces to make a metaverse work. For Google there could be big money (even more advertising possibilities) by providing better ways to interact with Internet information rather than just using a standard browser. Buying SecondLife? There could be some merit to that strategy, but Google could certainly develop their own platform if they chose to go this route - and marketing would not be a problem.

I'm eagerly awaiting further developments for both Google Earth/virtual globes, and what happens in the rapidly developing Metaverse market. We live in exciting times!

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:31 AM | Comments (2)

Super Touch Screen for Google Earth

Last fall, Jeff Han demonstrated a multi-touch large screen interface, to allow you to interface to a computer through touch, at TED Talks (check out last year's video of his presentation). Now, Jeff has formed a company called Perceptive Pixel to bring this idea to market. He was interviewed by Fast Company and they have released this really awesome video demonstrating even more applications including Google Earth being used with a wall-sized touch screen:

This is a truly inspiring demonstration. It quickly captivates the mind about the opportunities, but if you watch closely you realize Jeff has truly come up with some innovative human-computer interaction concepts. via OgleEarth who, like me, can't wait to try this out!

Related: Another touch/gesture/speech interface from a year ago using Google Earth and demonstrated by Edward Tse.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 7:00 AM | Comments (1)

24 de Enero 2007

Google Earth Data Error Compendium

Data errors in Google EarthOne of the Google Earth Community members called 'PriceCollins', has spent many hours carefully compiling, organizing, collecting, and explaining data errors in Google Earth. These errors are comprised of anything from image placement errors, photo blemishes, alignment errors, flashes (due to reflection of the sun), and even image processing errors (like the tiny bug in one photo - which is now gone, but you can see the screenshot here). PriceCollins has made a concerted effort to make Google aware of these errors and get them to fix as many as possible. He has organized his information in a thread of posts and created a comprehensive data error compendium of nested network links to let you peruse all the errors organized by type and location.

The thread of posts includes a table of contents to help you understand the different types of errors. For example, look at "Camera Artifacts", or some may find the one on "Censorship" of particular interest. There are also errors from the data layers as well (such as misplaced water bodies).

Some "errors" are debatable. For example, "Contrails" from jets may be an error from the perspective of someone wanting to look at the data below the contrail. But, those of us who like finding airplanes in flight find the contrails a handy way to find them. :-)

You should note that Google buys (or is given) their data from dozens of providers and the amount of data is huge. I'm sure with this much data (and new data every few weeks), that it is virtually impossible to remove all "errors". In fact, I think some of the errors make for fun discovery and sightseeing in themselves. But, it is a good idea to make Google aware of the errors so they can improve the experience for everyone. I've heard Google is actively working with PriceCollins to improve their data error handling processes. Way to go PriceCollins!

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 1:28 PM | Comments (5)

Dutch KLM Releases Air Fare Finder in Google Earth

Dutch KLM airfares in Google EarthA GEB reader from GlobeAssistant.com contacted me today to let me know Dutch KLM airlines has released a Google Earth network link showing airfares for flights from Amsterdam to destinations around the world. You have to zoom in close enough for the placemarks to destinations to appear. Each placemark shows the price in Euros, and provides a link to make a reservation and/or change your from/to parameters. There are instructions in Dutch on the main page at KLM. There is also a Dutch news item about this at Emerce in the Netherlands. Currently the network link only shows flights from Amsterdam.

British Airways released something similar last summer. This is KLM's response. KLM hired GlobeAssistant.com which provides professional services to implement Google Earth business applications.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:10 AM | Comments (0)

23 de Enero 2007

Opción de Guardar Imagen en Google Earth

De capturas de pantalla de GE 4

Google Earth tiene la capacidad de guardar o imprimir la vista actual de GE. La versión gratuita de GE sólo puede guardar una imagen de hasta 1000x1000 pixels (o de tu tamaño de pantalla), pero la versión GE Pro puede hacerlo con imágenes de hasta 4800x4800 pixels, que es más que suficiente para impresiones de calidad de gran tamaño. Estuve experimentando esta capacidad en GE 4 Pro, y los resultados son asombrosos. Por ejemplo, tomé este panorama como captura de pantalla de edificios 3D de Denver, Colorado (vean el artículo en el blog que escribí sobre estos modelos). Que lo pueden ver haciendo clic en la imagen de arriba a través de un Album Web de Picasa. Una vez allí, seleccionen "Descargar foto" para verla a plena resolución (4800x1199 pixels). La calidad de estos modelos 3D foto texturados cuando uno acerca la vista a fondo es increíble.

El método que utiliza GE Pro para crear estas imágenes es fantástico. Eligen del menú "Archivo->Imprimir..." o "Archivo->Guardar ->Guardar Imagen..." para iniciar el proceso, luego eligen qué resolución desean tener. Con la opción "Guardar" deberán especificar el formato de la imagen (jpg). GE Pro básicamente utiliza el mismo método que algunos fotógrafos para crear fotos con cámaras digitales en "gigapixels" tomando una serie de fotos en serie, una al lado de otra y utilizando luego un algoritmo de empalme. Cada "toma" es "expuesta" lo suficiente como para que se graben todos los detalles de la escena. Es divertido ver - las primeras veces. Me dí cuenta de que no se puede uno acercar demasiado a la escena cuando hay edificios 3D porque el empalme automático hará que se pierdan algunas partes de los modelos 3D en cada toma.

Tomen nota de que deberían leer las licencias tanto de GE, como de GE Pro (busquen "licencia" en la página de ayuda de GE) para lo que tenga que ver con la impresión ya que dice que pueden ser utilizadas "sólo para uso personal". Tampoco pueden tener permiso para vender las impresiones - le pregunté a Google sobre esto..

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 12:41 PM | Comments (3)

News roundup: Google vs. Microsoft, 3D San Jose, Endurance, Weather, Off the Map

  • Google Vs. Microsoft Aerial Dogfight - Yesterday I reported that Google announced plans to shoot aerial photos on Friday for Australia Day in Sydney. Today, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that Microsoft has also announced to do the same thing. Gee, I wonder if they both plan to take photos of the Superbowl?
  • 3D San Jose - The GIS folks in San Jose have released the 3D buildings which I mentioned they were developing last November. The San Jose 3D Buildings (8.3 Mbytes) require GE 4, but they don't have textures. They are also rather complex - so they may effect performance in GE.
  • HMS Endurance - An excellent GE documentary of this year's expedition to Antartica by the Royal Navy's Ice Patrol Vessel HMS Endurance has been posted at the GEC by 'saellis'. The HMS Endurance file includes tracks and placemarks with photos, links to stories, and even video. This reminds me of the excellent Shackleton GE historical documentary.
  • Weather - DestinSharks.com has taken the same methodology they used for their ship weather reporting system and collected similar data from the NOAA airport weather called METAR. Now you can get a visual impression of winds, wind direction, and visibility for the entire US based on the placemark icons (read the post for details). Download the NOAA METAR network link here . DestinSharks also has put together several weather resources into a single combined network link.
  • Off the Map - GoogleSightseeing's new book "Off the Map" got a write-up in the New York Post.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:20 AM | Comments (3)

22 de Enero 2007

Google Announces Aerial Photo Shoot for Australia Day - January 26

This is pretty interesting. I read about this at Ionut Alex. Chitu's blog. In honor of the celebration of the national holiday Australia Day 2007 on January 26, Google has announced it will be taking new aerial photos of Sydney. The announcement includes a Google Maps mashup where you can drag a placemark around to find out approximately what time the plane is expected to fly over. Google also added a custom URL/sub-domain for Australia last week at maps.google.com.au. See the Sydney Morning Herald story about this which has more details about the aerial photo shoot.

This is a bit of a risky move from a PR perspective. Quality aerial photography is dependent on perfect weather conditions. If its a cloudy day - the day will be a disappointment. Other things can go wrong as well such as airplane maintenance issues, photography equipment failures, air traffic control issues, and imagery processing problems (most aerial photographers still use traditional film systems). But, if its a beautiful day, and all goes well, in a couple of months from now we could see some really interesting photos in Google Maps/Earth where people actually had a chance to know about an aerial photo shoot. I wonder if we'll see some interesting banner ads laid out on roofs?

[Update 1:35PM ET: I just noticed Google at least put a disclaimer in small print at the bottom of their announcement page about the risks involved.]

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 1:21 PM | Comments (4)

Track Cruise Ships in 3D in Google Earth

Track 3D Cruise Ships in Google EarthOver a year ago, some folks at web design company Glooton in France released a cool network link that let you track cruise ships around the world from Costa Cruise Ships. Clicking on the placemarks for the ship location also shows you updated web cam photos from the ships. A couple of weeks ago, a Google Earth Community member called 'svens' posted a new version of the cruise ship tracking network link which includes 3D models to show the position of the ships, and new network links to let you track the ships as they move. He's also recently added 3D name labels on the backs of the ships (using the new 3D text capability with SketchUp 6). See the instructions in the "Cruises" folder under the network link in your "Temporary Places". And, if you click on the folder for each cruise ship you can see the web cam photos and other information (like weather, speed, position, heading, etc.). These 3D models are a little complex - so they look good. But, they also might slow down your Google Earth viewing (due to memory and graphics complexity). So, turn them off when you are done looking - you can selectively turn off the 3D models and still view the other data.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 10:37 AM | Comments (3)

Imagery Update: Google Earth Using Spot Image Satellite Photos in Europe

[UPDATE 2:30PM ET: Spot Image has released a press release about their multi-year agreement with Google to provide new imagery such as the new data described below.]

Google has updated imagery for Belgium, France, Portugal, and France to use CNES/Spot Image satellite imagery at 2.5 meter resolution imagery instead of the old Terrametrics/NASA 15 meter resolution base imagery. So, in other words the low resolution areas are 6X better resolution. Stefan Geens at OgleEarth got the details from Spot Image:

It covers France, Spain, Portugal and Belgium. It is made of imagery from our SPOT5 satellite : 2.5m in resolution. The images are selected from our existing catalog (most recent and cloudfree). They are then combined to make one single uniform image. To cover France, we need roughly 500 SPOT5 images which are of course taken at various date, sunlight, angles, etc...

Stefan also says some new high resolution Digital Globe strips are in Belgium. I am quickly researching to see if other areas have been updated in high resolution. Please drop a comment here if you find new imagery.

By the way, this is the first Spot Image satellite imagery in GE I've seen. It's interesting to see Google is expanding it's source of imagery data to another commercial satellite provider. A few days ago Digital Globe's newly acquired GlobeXplorer announced it was selling data to Microsoft. And now this happens. Probably just a coincidence, since I'm sure it took more than a few days to implement this imagery.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:10 AM | Comments (14)

20 de Enero 2007

Daily NASA MODIS Satellite Imagery for Google Earth

MODIS Daily Satellite Imagery Overlays in Google EarthThe power of WMS (Web Mapping Service) is really showing with several new imagery layers coming out from NASA. Someone called 'OnEarthWMS' at the GEC just yesterday posted some really cool links showing the hi-resolution color satellite photos from the MODIS (Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) Terra and Aqua satellites. These network links show all the photos from the previous 24 hours updated daily, and show more detail as you zoom in:

Note: You should only turn on one of these layers at a time or they may interfere.

Implementing transparency on the blank spots in the MODIS satellite would allow the rest of the Earth to show through. He also shows an example of what this would look like with a Blue Marble underlayed with the MODIS data.

These links are definitely network links worth saving in your "My Places". These are powerful examples of how GE can be used to show large dataset updated frequently and more useful as you zoom in closer. Not only that, but this is yet another step towards near real-time satellite photography being made available for GE. This is the kind of work I would expect the new NASA/Google relationship to produce.


Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:38 AM | Comments (7)

NASA Mars Imagery for Google Earth

Mars Imagery Overlays in Google EarthYesterday I mentioned a new network link to a WMS (Web Mapping Service) for showing the Blue Marble Next Generation imagery from NASA which was posted by 'OnEarthWMS'. The same guy has also posted several network links for different imagery datasets for the entire surface of Mars. These are overlayed over the Earth (I recommend turning off the "View->Atmosphere" when you load them). Some of the layers have strips of very high resolution data from Mars Global Surveyor. Check these out (make sure you zoom in to see more detail):

Note: you should turn off these layers before loading the next one.

Here's the OnMars web site at NASA which hosts these GE KML files. This is great stuff to look at! Thanks OnEarthWMS and NASA.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:09 AM | Comments (0)

19 de Enero 2007

News Roundup - KML 2.1 Docs, New Blue Marble from NASA, more Panoramas

  • KML 2.1 Docs - Google has substantially updated the KML documentation. This includes new KML samples, KML tutorials, and KML reference docs.
  • New Blue Marble - Someone at NASA has put out a GE 4 network link allowing you to view the Blue Marble Next Generation from a WMS (Web Mapping Service). This means you get pretty smooth updates of higher resolution versions as you get closer. It also time stamps the data and lets you view all 12 versions for each month of the year. You can animate the results as in my Blue Marble Time Animation. One thing I don't like is that the NASA BM images are dark and need a color saturation boost. But, I'm glad to see this regardless. Posted at the GEC by 'OnEarthWMS'.
  • More Panoramas - The new innovative approach for viewing panorama photos from DigitalUrban has resulted in several new examples. It involves placing the photos inside a 3D sphere - which you can read about here. Here are some stories highlighting new samples: Trafalgar Square, Snowdon in Wales, Andy Warhol, and someone has done kite aerial photos with it as well.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:24 AM | Comments (5)

18 de Enero 2007

Boulder, Colorado 3D Buildings in Google Earth, and a Google 3D Contest

It probably will not surprise many of you that if you go to Google Earth 4 now with the new "Best of 3DWarehouse" building layer turned on that Google has modeled much of Boulder with photo-textured 3D buildings. After all, Boulder is where @Last Software, makers of SketchUp - and now part of Google, was founded and is still operating. SketchUp is a free 3D modeling software package that allows you to build and upload your own 3D models into Google Earth. I've created a YouTube video of the buildings in Boulder and you will see they have modeled the entire University of Colorado at Boulder campus. I also noticed the Google/SketchUp office building is not rendered, but the SketchUp guys posted some models of Boulder last year so I show it in the video.

Google is holding a contest right now to whoever builds the best 3D campus for Google Earth. Models must be submitted by June 1, 2007. From the contest site:

The top 5-7 teams (max 50 people) will win a 3 day trip to Google's Mountain View headquarters to participate in a workshop with 3D modeling experts from Google, get free airfare and hotel, food in our world-famous cafes, and a guided tour of our incredible campus. Oh yeah, and lasting online glory!

The 3DWarehouse now has a new mini-video tutorial showing how to use the 3DWarehouse network link in Google Earth. The network link is a great way to find thousands of other 3D models posted for viewing in GE.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 10:05 AM | Comments (1)

17 de Enero 2007

Sundance Film Festival Map in Google Earth

Sundance Film Festival in Google EarthLast year someone at the Google Earth Community put together an excellent guide to the 2006 Sundance Film Festival for viewing with Google Earth. I wrote about the map, and suggested that the organizers should use this as a model and do something for the 2007 event. Unfortunately, they apparently are not savvy enough to either read GEB, or to even take advantage of a basic Google Maps mashup - much less GE. Here's the 2007 map from the official Sundance Film Festival site as a simple image. Fortunately, it appears most of the location details for this year's event are the same - so, you can view last year's GE map and most of the shuttle routes, HQ locations, and theaters haven't changed. This is a very well done map with colorful tracks, custom icons, and good information on the theaters. Check it out!

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 1:21 PM | Comments (0)

Edificios 3D de Hamburgo llegan a Google Earth

Edificios 3D de Hamburgo llegan a Google EarthSpiegel Online de Alemania ha publicado una nota (en alemán) [Aquí hay un resumen en inglés.] sobre una colección impresionante de edificios 3D foto texturados para Google Earth. De acuerdo al artículo será publicado por Google pronto, pero los modelos no fueron creados por Google. Aparentemente, los modelos fueron provistos por el "sector privado de la ciudad". Spiegel Online lanzó una serie de capturas de pantallas y un video (Flash requerido) que muestra estos modelos de edificios - y la verdad es que se ven muy lindos. Por suerte, la colección será publicada en la capa de Edificios 3D pronto (el artículo dice que en pocos días o semanas). Les haré saber en cuanto esté publicada. Gracias a los lectores alemanes del GEB Volker Kinkelin y Boris Friedrichs por el dato.

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:36 AM | Comments (2)

Bouncing Google Earth

Ok, you have to see this one - so, to make it easy I made a video. It made me laugh this morning. This bouncing Google Earth (from within Google Earth) was created by 'barnabu' and posted at the Google Earth Community (GEC). You can easily view this in GE 4 by loading the bouncing GE file , then click on the little clock icon on the left side of the time slider gadget. This brings up the time options requester, and you need to select the "Repeat mode" to "Bounce" option on the lower right. Click "Ok", and then select the "Play" button (a little right arrow on the right side of the time slider). You will then see the bounce animation. 'barnabu' created this as an example of how to do an animated shadow. He does that, but I think its just hilarious! You can just watch this little YouTube video (but, it looks a lot better in GE):

Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:24 AM | Comments (2)

16 de Enero 2007

Acomodando las Opciones de Google Earth

Este artículo describe algunos consejos sobre cómo acomodar tus opciones en Google Earth 4 ("Preferencias" en la Mac). Si todavía usas la versión de GE 3 este viejo artículo del blog te ayudará, pero recomiendo que instales la versión 4 de GE. Si haces clic en la "categoría Consejos Google Earth" de este blog, encontrarás otros consejos y sugerencias para mejorar la experiencia con GE. O fíjense en los "Principios" para tener una lista de historias que cubren el uso básico de GE.

Para ir a las Opciones vayan a "Herramientas -> Opciones" (o "Google Earth -> Preferencias" en la Mac). Esto habre una ventana con las siguientes pestañas: Vista 3D, Cache, Viajes, Navegación, General.

Aquí van mis recomendaciones para cada una de estas opciones:

  • Vista 3D
    • Ajusten el Area Detallada->Grande si tienen una placa gráfica decente, y pongan la resolución de pantalla alta, esto mejorará los detalles visuales. Es lo mejor si quieren hacer capturas de pantallas.
    • Ajusten las fuentes para hacerlas legibles sin que lleguen a ser distractivas cuando estén viendo algún lugar.
    • Si usan GE para ver montañas, prueben la Exageración de la Elevación en 1.5 o más. Esto hace que el terreno 3D se exagere un poco. Poniendo 2.0 se exageraría al doble. NOTA: la capa "Terreno" debe estar activada para ver el terreno en 3D. También es bueno volver la Exageración a 1 si están subiendo un modelo 3D para que quede a la altura ideal.
    • Les sugiero ajustar el Mapa General al tamaño que mejor trabaje para Ustedes de acuerdo al tamaño de sus pantallas. (Consejo: usen Control-M (o Apple-M en la Mac) para activar el Mapa General en GE)
    • Para más consejos sobre la perfomance:vean esta entrada del blog.
  • Cache
    • GE 4 optimiza este seteo automáticamente. Lo pueden ajustar, pero recomiendo dejarlo como está a menos que cambien la cantidad de memoria de sus sitemas.
    • Si les sobra espacio de disco, seteen la cache de disco a 2000 MB (2GB) - el máximo que pueden usar - esto significará menos descarga de imágenes cuando están por lugares ya vistos. También pueden usar a GE sin conexión de una manera mejor.
  • Viajes
    • Ajusten el control de Velocidad de Vuelo / Viaje para tener más velocidad , sobre todo si usan mucho a GE. Esto se traduce en vuelos más rápidos cuando hacen doble clic para ir de un lugar a otro.
    • Las Opciones de Viajes sobre cómo llegar les permiten acomodar la inclinación de la cámara, velocidad y alcance.
  • Navegación
    • Configuración de la Rueda del Ratón - Les recomiendo ajustar la velocidad de la rueda del ratón porque así acelerarán los movimientos de acercamiento y alejamiento en GE.
    • También pueden invertir el orden de la dirección de la ruedita para acercar o alejar.
  • General
    • Marquen "Mostrar resultados web en un navegador externo" si quieren (o no quieren) usar un browser externo cuando hagan clic en algún vínculo de la descripción de una marca de posición.

    Ahora, vayan y disfruten de la experiencia con Google Earth 4!

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 10:54 AM | Comments (4)

    Google Earth Blog World Headquarters

    Google Earth Blog World HQ

    After working several years from my home office, I started off 2007 by leasing an office in a building with other business people. It seems I reached my limit in working in solitude, and needed some business oriented social interaction. Since I've been an entrepreneur all my life, I naturally checked out the First Flight Venture Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. You can use the map above, or see the location here in Google Earth . This facility specializes in incubating new businesses by providing high class office space, office equipment, conference rooms, business advice, and other resources to help entrepreneurs increase their chances of success. And, I think the name is highly appropriate (North Carolina being the home to the first flight of the Wright Brother's). The Research Triangle Park (RTP) is a pretty great area to work. You can see there are lots of trees in the area, there are lots of places to walk or bike nearby, and a park right behind my office! So, if you're in the area and want to visit the GEB World Headquarters, you know where to go. :-)

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:37 AM | Comments (1)

    15 de Enero 2007

    China Garden Maps in Google Earth

    Map of the world in a Garden in China seen in Google EarthSomeone at the Google Earth Community called 'maiky1974' posted a placemark showing a garden in China which has a map of the world when viewed from above. Just to the south there are ponds in the shape of China and another in the shape of the province (see comments in the GEC post). The satellite photo of the area has a bluish tinge to it (probably due to haze and lack of color enhancement). If you click on my thumbnail here you will see a larger photo of the area. I color enhanced the photo using Picasa. Thanks to Joe for the tip!

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

    PanoViewer - Viewing Panorama Photos in Google Earth

    Panoviewer for panorama photos in Google EarthFor a while now, DigitalUrban - a blog focused on visualizing urban areas with visualization tools like Google Earth - has been tantalizing us with talk and video about a new way to view panorama photographs using GE. They have finally released their method. What they have done is released a basic spherical 3D model, and showed you how to add a panoramic photo as a texture to the inside of the sphere. They made it really easy - you simply add the file name of your photo to one place with a text editor, and you are basically done. DigitalUrban has a step-by-step tutorial with example. The one catch to this tool is that you really need the 3D mouse device called SpaceNavigator to view the panorama's properly. The SpaceNavigator lets you fly yourself inside the sphere and spin yourself about in place. Actually, some other controllers could be set up to do the same thing, but SN is the easiest. Here is the result from the tutorial which you can view in GE. If you don't have a SpaceNavigator, you will find it difficult to really view the panorama this way. I've added a couple of views you can double-click on in the KMZ to see views within the sphere. Here is a video DigitalUrban made which shows what it looks like using a SpaceNavigator:

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:13 AM | Comments (5)

    13 de Enero 2007

    News Roundup - KML indexing, GPS tools, SketchUp PhotoMatch Tutorial, GE Blogs

    It seems everyone wants to start off the new year with new Google Earth stuff. Which is great! I've had a virtual flood of people wanting me to write about their new interesting GE content. I really appreciate the input, but I'm starting to fall behind in reporting all of them. This week, you regular GEB readers probably noticed about double the normal number of posts at GEB. This roundup is an attempt to start catching up with more.

    • KML indexing - Google Maps API blog posted a tip for web/blog owners on how to get KML files indexed by Google so people can search and find your interesting GE files.
    • GPS tools - DestinSharks.com has posted an excellent write-up on using GE with a GPS to show real-time position. He talks about several applications you can use. This is a nice complement to my blog entry on the same topic.
    • SketchUp PhotoMatch - SketchUp 6 was released this week, and one of the biggest new features is Photo Match. Photo Match lets you create 3D models from photos. This is particularly useful for creating photo-textured 3D buildings for GE. There are a few video tutorials available on the new features. Watch this double-speed 5 minute video to see a building created by a SketchUp staffer with Photo Match in only 10 minutes.
    • GE blogs - there are new blogs with a focus on Google Earth cropping up in other parts of the world. Check out SinGeo.sg, a blog with a focus on Google Earth content for Singapore. Also, in Denmark there's Boliga.dk (which is clearly about GE, but I don't read/speak the language). It's a real estate site which uses GE, thanks Bent!

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:47 AM | Comments (1)

    NOAA Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) Weather Feed for Google Earth

    NOAA volunteer observing ship weather data from DestinSharks.com in Google EarthDestinSharks.com has become a real powerhouse in the realm of unique and powerful Google Earth application development. During the last couple of weeks he's been sharing with me his development of a nifty tool based on data from NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration). NOAA has encouraged commercial ships around the world to report weather conditions as they travel the seas. The program is called the Voluntary Observation Ship (VOS) Project. NOAA collects this data to supplement satellite and computer models with real-world surface conditions to improve weather reporting and predictions. DestinSharks could have just put up a network link with placemarks showing the weather data, but they went a bit further with it. If you download the VOS network link , you will immediately see circular icons with: arrows indicating wind direction, color indicating surface visibility, hovering your mouse over an icon shows basic weather data, and clicking on an icon shows you all the weather data. More importantly, the data is time stamped so you can drag the slider to see reports for each of the last 24 hours (some ships only report once a day, others report every hour). This is an excellent example of using the power of GE KML to portray a lot of information without flooding your eyes with too much information. See the blog entry for more details.

    By the way, the NOAA estuarine bathymetry data I wrote about yesterday, has already been added to DestinSharks huge marine charts project. And, if you join the beta test, you will see they now have about 500 marine charts available in Google Earth now!

    Other DestinSharks projects at GEB:

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:12 AM | Comments (0)

    12 de Enero 2007

    Better Looking Earth From Space and a New FlashEarth

    Blue Marble in Google EarthThose of you who are regular readers of Google Earth Blog (GEB) know that I have been campaigning Google to create a better view of Earth from space. I really don't like Google Earth's default ugly-looking view of the Earth from space. Google could easily offer an option in the layers to allow a prettier view of the Earth to those of us who would prefer it. So, a few weeks ago I published an add-on called the Blue Marble (for GE 4) which is based on the beautiful NASA Blue Marble Next Generationa data - except, I brightened the NASA photo and increased its color saturation. My add-on lets you view the Blue Marble from space (it shows a view based on the current month), and when you get closer it will fade out letting you see the normal GE imagery. Ideally, higher-resolution versions of the Blue Marble would transition as you get closer, but I haven't had the time to set up and process the imagery and KML.

    Anyway, I just found out this week that Yahoo Maps now has an awesome high-quality aerial view of Earth, and they also use the Blue Marble NG. They transition to higher resolution data as you get closer and have a very high quality, carefully color balanced, dataset using another imagery set (I believe it is Landsat) when you zoom even closer. The work was done by i-cubed. Kudo's to i-cubed for a great job! By the way, NASA's free WorldWind virtual globe also uses Blue Marble data and looks better as a result.

    I highly recommend checking out FlashEarth.com to compare the aerial photography of the top mapping tools out there (currently it allows you to compare: Google Maps, Microsoft Virtual Earth, Yahoo Maps, Ask.com, OpenLayers, and NASA Terra). FlashEarth has a very smooth interface allowing you to use your mousewheel to zoom, and it also allows you to rotate the view by using the compass in the upper right (a feature most of the mapping tools don't provide themselves for their data). Using FlashEarth, I think you will quickly agree that Yahoo Maps now has the best looking views of the Earth from space (from higher altitudes) verses all the other major players (Microsoft, Google, and Ask). And, unfortunately, Google Maps has the worst high altitude view IMHO. Of course, zoomed in close on a comparative basis world-wide, Google Maps/Earth will win 9 times out of 10 over any of the other players. Anyway, whoever has done FlashEarth - Great work!

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 1:47 PM | Comments (3)

    NOAA Releases Estuarine Bathymetric Data for Google Earth

    estuary bathymetry from NOAA in Google EarthI was contacted recently by NOAA regarding their release of bathymetry data for estuaries around the US. These colorful datasets "...are an interpolated data set representing the most up-to-date depth sounding information that was available at the time of publication (1998)." Read more about the data. You can view the page providing access to the GE files here, where you select a region and then select which estuary you want to view. Then look for a link to "Google Earth Visualization files". Here's a sample of the Pamlico Sound in North Carolina. Thanks NOAA!

    Related: new shaded relief map of the terrain of the US from NASA SRTM data.

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:24 AM | Comments (0)

    Shaded Relief Map of US Terrain in Google Earth

    SRTM shaded relief map of terrain in Google EarthA GEB reader wrote me to tell me of his project over the holidays to create a dynamic KML which shows Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) digital elevation model in a shaded relief format for North America (NOTE: GE 4 is required). Jiro implemented this using KML 2.1 region tags so you get more detail as you zoom in, and it works very quickly. He also has used Google Picasa web servers and managed to parse the resulting location of all the images which really helps since the images end up being on many servers. The entire database is just under 1 GBtyes. But, you don't need the technical stuff. Just go download this shaded relief map and check it out. Jiro points out it is possible to do the whole world since the SRTM mission data is available for the whole Earth. Great job Jiro, this is amazing!

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:04 AM | Comments (2)

    11 de Enero 2007

    Capas de Google Earth

    Berlin con capas en Google EarthGoogle Earth es probablemente mejor conocido por su enorme colección de imágenes satelitales y fotos aéreas disponibles gratuitamente de todo el mundo. Casi tod el mundo que accede a internet lo ha probado - generalmente pare ver su casa, o encontrar algo sobre un lugar al que quiera ir de vacaciones. La base de datos de imágenes es realmente gigante - millones de kilómetros cuadrados - el equivalente a millones de fotos de 8 megapixeles. Google no dió a conocer los números pero estamos hablando de terabytes de imágenes. Pero de algo que la gente debería tomar nota es de las "Capas" de Google Earth. Las capas están disponibles a través de una interfaz en el rincón inferior izquierdo de la aplicación. Y allí debe haber tanta información como la correspondiente a las imágenes!.

    Las capas proveén de buena información acerca del planeta en una variedad de temas, y también son una forma que tiene Google de compartir las valiosas contribuciones de información que realizan los particulares y organizaciones. Las "Capas" están organizadas utilizando una estructura del tipo de carpetas y al abrirlas podrán ver en algunas sub-carpetas. Realmente lleva tiempo explorar y aprender todo lo que está disponible. Algo que no deberían hacer es activar demasiadas capas al mismo tiempo. Les recomiendo activar sólo algunas a la vez, y luego desactivarlas para así, poder activar otras y navegar mejor. Cuando vean algún ícono prueben de cliquearlo para ver la información. Algunas de estas capas brindan muchísima información a través de las burbujas de información que se activan al cliquear el ícono de la marca de posición.

    Para información geográfica básica, les sugiero lo siguiente:

    • Terreno - Siempre lo tengo activado. Es el terreno 3D que se vé cuando se inclina la vista, como montañas, valles y cañones.
    • Caminos - Google tiene caminos detallados y calles de muchos países - no todos - que incluyen Canadá, Estados Unidos, muchos de Europa, Brasil, Chile, etc. Más países son agregados cada tanto. Desde mucha altitud no pueden verse los caminos (o verán sólo los principales), cuando esta capa esté activada.
    • Fronteras - esta capa les permite ver las fronteras de los países, así como también su división política interna, costas, nombres, etc. Inclusive incluye detalles de zonas en disputa. Nuevamente, si se acercan verán más información.
    • Sitios Poblados - esta capa es la que muestra los nombres de las ciudades y poblaciones de todo el mundo.
    • Accidentes Geográficos - esta categoría contiene sub-capas con cosas como volcanes, nombres de montañas y lagos.

    Otra sección de las capas es la que se utiliza para destacar puntos de interés en casos de viajes. Es el mismo tipo de información que se obtiene de un GPS instalado en un moderno automóvil, por ejemplo restaurants, hoteles, etc. Son ejemplos las capas de Viajes y Ocio, Servicio Comunitarios, Alojamiento, Restaurantes, etc. Al igual que los Caminos, Google va agregando continuamente información en estas capas mes a mes.

    Gran Cañón en Google EarthTodas las capas mencionadas arriba son importantes y útiles, pero hay muchas capas muy interesantes que no provienen de Google mismo, o sea no han sido creadas por ellos. Google recientemente lanzó la capa "Web Geográfica" que tiene datos de Wikipedia, Fotos de Panoramio y lo Mejor de la Comunidad Google Earth con una selección de los mejores trabajos publicados por miles de colaboradores de todo el mundo.

    Y finalmente, GE tiene las capas "Contenidos Patrocinados y Concientización Global" que destacan contenido de una variedad importante de Organizaciones como la Mapas Históricos Rumsey, Revista National Geographic, Discovery Channel, European Space Agency, e inclusive las Naciones Unidas. Esta es destacada información de interés humano, científico, histórico, medioambiental e inclusive, comentarios sobre restaurantes.

    Si no han explorado las Capas de Google Earth, se están perdiendo un mundo de información. Google está continuamente agregando capas e información a capas existentes. Generalmente se actualizan una vez por mes.

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 12:38 PM | Comments (2)

    10 de Enero 2007

    Upper Green Valley Environmental Issues Illustrated with Google Earth

    Skytruth.org is a web site which promotes environmental awareness and protection with digital mapping technology. They have organized geospatial information on an issue in the Upper Green Valley region of Wyoming which has resulted from the US Bureau of Land Management granting licenses to mine oil and gas in the region. Skytruth then crafted the information in a Google Earth file (5 Mbytes) which illustrates the region, illustrates the migration paths of animals, shows the locations of mining, and even has a time animation (GE 4 required) showing the explosion of new wells planted over the last 10 years. They also posted the collection at the Google Earth Community.

    Skytruth also has produced an excellent 10 minute video which succinctly describes the issues and cleverly uses Google Earth to give people a 3D perspective on the lay of the land in the area:

    Kudo's to Skytruth for an excellent use of Google Earth!

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 1:20 PM | Comments (0)

    Modo Viaje en Google Earth

    Modo viaje en Google Earth Una de las más lindas características de Google Earth es el "Modo Viaje" . Si tienen un camino o una serie de marcas de posición (por ejemplo si han ingresado una serie de direcciones) pueden volar a través de ellas.

    Por ejemplo, en el panel de "Búsqueda", arriba a la izquierda pueden ingresar un sitio seguido de coma y el país al que pertenece y volar hacia ese lugar, por ejemplo "Buenos Aires, Argentina" y hacer "enter". Ahora verán dos botones "Play Tour" . Presionen el botón Play y recorrerán el tour.

    Si tienen una serie de marcas de posición en el panel Lugares pueden seleccionar esa carpeta con lugares y utilizar el modo Volar para recorrerlos. Simplemente presionen el botón de Play (abajo en la barra de "Lugares" y recorrerán el tour. Si quieren deterlo, presionen el botón que está a la derecha del Play. También pueden seleccionar la carpeta y presionar ALT-p - para iniciar el viaje.

    Se puede ajustar la velocidad, el ángulo de visión y la altura llendo al menú "Herramientas->Opciones" ("Preferencias" en la Mac) y elejir la opción "Viajes". Allí podrán ajustar la Inclinación de la cámara, Alcance, y Velocidad . También pueden activar una característica llamada "Mostrar descripción cuando el viaje haga una pausa" que desplegará la burbuja de descripción de cada marca de posición, cada vez que el viaje se detenga en alguna de ellas.

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:57 AM | Comments (4)

    9 de Enero 2007

    Google Earth 4 Officially Released

    Google Earth 4 ScreenshotGoogle Earth 4 is officially released! The beta program began 6 months ago, and now almost exactly 1 year after GE 3 was released, GE 4 is no longer in beta (latest version is 4.0.2722). See the Google Earth home page for details, or just go download GE 4 now. GE 4 has many new features not available in the earlier version. Many of the features have been described in this blog over the past few months. Here are some highlights and why you should definitely consider upgrading.

    New Google Earth 4 features:

    • 3D Models - GE 4 supports a new format which allows for models which have textures. It also supports the new 3D buildings layer. The official release of GE includes lots of optimizations to improve 3D viewing.
    • Time Animation - the new time slider appears when KML content has been stamped with time. Read about the new time feature. And, here is a list of the top ten time animations done in 2006 for GE 4.
    • New Look - GE 4 has a much cleaner look than GE 3. It devotes more attention to the main 3D view, and has a new navigation gadget which appears in the upper right corner. There are too many enhancements to list them all. Some notable ones are: Support for radio buttons in KML, network link icons animate when loading, new organized menus, and more GE Options.
    • Controllers - Support for joystick controllers and flight simulator yokes. And, best of all, the new SpaceNavigator (Windows only at the moment, but a Mac driver soon).
    • Regions - GE 4 supports very large image overlays which can be "tiled" or "regionated" so you can view the full detail as you zoom in. See the "Rumsey Historical Maps" in the "Featured Content" layer for an excellent example of this powerful feature.

    If you have been following this blog during the past six months, and have been keeping up with the numerous beta releases, you may have seen many of the new features. But, there is so much new content and so many new layers, even I haven't seen everything. Either way, make sure you have the new release and have fun! Thanks to Google and its fantastic Google Earth team for all the hard work!

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 12:42 PM | Comments (24)

    Awesome 3D Buildings of Denver in Google Earth

    There is a hidden treat behind the update a couple days ago to the layers. Google has crafted a fantastic collection of 3D building models for the city of Denver, Colorado. This collection was obviously created to show of GE 4's ability to show high quality photo textured 3D models, and is a part of the new "Best of 3D Warehouse" layer found under the "3D Buildings" layer in GE. This ONLY works with the latest GE 4 - so go download GE 4 if you don't have version 4.0.2722 or greater. A word of caution: if your computer doesn't have a recent 3D video card, your performance may not be very satisfactory as more buildings load. To give you a preview of what it looks like on a new computer, check out this YouTube fly-thru demonstration of the new buildings I created this morning:

    Wondering how I flew through the buildings like that? Check this out to find out how.

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 10:34 AM | Comments (8)

    SketchUp 6 is Released!

    Google SketchUp 6

    Google has just released SketchUp 6 Pro - the latest version of their fantastic 3D modeling software. In addition, they have also released Google SketchUp 6 - the free version of SketchUp - which is particularly useful for creating 3D models for Google Earth. Either program provides an interface for placing 3D models into Google Earth. The new version of SketchUp 6 has a number of nice new features. The most significant from a GE perspective is the new Photo Match tool which makes it even easier to create 3D photo textures. They also have added 3D text capability. This means it will be possible to annotate things in GE with 3D labels.

    Check out OgleEarth's comments on the new SketchUp and the new features included.

    Check out many 3D models in Google Earth right now. If you've already downloaded the latest GE 4 - you can check out the new "Best of 3D Warehouse" 3D buildings layer.

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:40 AM | Comments (0)

    SpaceNavigator Works on Mac OS X

    [NOTE: Updated 9-May-2007 - SpaceNavigator now works if you download Google Earth 4.1 Beta...read more here.]

    Just in time for MacWorld, the guys at 3DConnexion have released a driver for the fabulous SpaceNavigator for Mac OS X. Quite simply, the SpaceNavigator is the best way to fly around in Google Earth (and other 3D programs). This is an early release of the Mac driver (version 0.1), and unfortunately they have not released the driver for Google Earth yet. But, it must be coming soon. Right now it works with SketchUp 6 (just released), Maya and formZ. If you already have your SpaceNavigator, go here to download the driver. If you don't have one, you can buy them from Amazon here. You can read my earlier review of SpaceNavigator, or check out the YouTube video review here:

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:33 AM | Comments (1)

    8 de Enero 2007

    News Roundup: GlobeXplorer Acquired by Digital Globe, Conferences, Google Telescope

    • GlobeXplorer Acquired by Digital Globe - Reuters reports on this acquisition which is interesting because Digital Globe is the primary provider of satellite imagery for Google Earth. GlobeXplorer provides software for distributing imagery and also previously acquired an aerial photography business. All Points Blog has a podcast interview with Digital Globe's CEO Jill Smith.
    • Conferences - John Bailey of the Alaska Volcano Observatory is maintaining a calendar of conferences, workshops, short courses, etc. that are targeted at scientific uses of virtual globes. John also helped organize the special sessions on virtual globes at AGU.
    • Google Telescope - Google has been recruited to help solve a massive data challenge for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope which will be built and operational in 2013. The telescope will survey the entire sky creating 30 Terabytes of data each night. Google hasn't determined whether the data will be organized in a specific product, like the popular Google Earth, said company spokesman Jon Murchinson.

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

    The Truth About Google Earth

    Here's a funny video someone made involving Google Earth from YouTube:

    via UrbanCartography

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:54 AM | Comments (0)

    7 de Enero 2007

    Google Lanza Nueva Capa de Edificios 3D para Google Earth

    [ACTUALIZACION: Ver video demostración en YouTube de estos nuevos Edificios 3D.]

    Edificios 3D con texturas en Google Earth

    Google ha lanzado una nueva capa (visible con GE 4 beta), que te permite ver edificios 3D de alta calidad, muchos de los cuales tienen texturas fotográficas. Les recomiendo descargar la nueva versión oficial de Google Earth 4 porque carga estos modelos mucho más rápido que las versiones beta anteriores ( en realidad la nueva capa no está disponible si no tienen la última versión). Ahora pueden activar la capa "Edificios 3D" y automáticamente se cargarán los edificios 3D de alta calidad disponibles en el área que estén viendo. La capa es un Vínculo de Red que automáticamente carga los edificios pero sólo de ciudades que tengan edificios disponibles. Casi todas las grandes ciudades de todo el mundo tienen, al menos, algunos edificios listos. Arriba hay una imagen de Nueva York. No hay ningún conflicto entre los edificios sin texturas (en gris) y los nuevos de alta calidad. Los grises serán reemplazados cuando estén sus versiones texturadas.

    Igualmente pueden también descargar el vínculo de red del Depósito 3D para encontrar aún más modelos 3D eligiendo el lugar para ver qué hay allí.

    Esta nueva capa de edificios es la respuesta de Google al reciente lanzamiento de Microsoft con su producto Virtual Earth 3D beta con varias ciudades con edificios 3D texturados. Microsoft tiene varias ciudades casi completas con este tipo de modelos. Que están muy buenas. Con esta implementación de Google, cualquiera puede hacer y agregar edificios 3D en el Depósito 3D, y pueden ser seleccionados para formar parte permanente de la capa de Edificios 3D. Vamos a ver cómo evoluciona esta capa con el correr del tiempo.

    Lean acerca de otras nueva capas agregadas hoy también.

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:35 AM | Comments (13)

    New Layers - Yelp Reviews, Textured 3D Buildings, Brazilian Roads, and more

    Google has released new layers today. Probably the biggest addition is the Best of 3DWarehouse Buildings layer (read more below):

    New/updated layers:

    • Yelp Reviews - A new Featured Content layer of reviews from the web site Yelp.com which hosts reviews by people who have been there.
    • 3D Buildings - Google has decided to make the large repository of quality 3D buildings from the 3D Warehouse easier to view. If you have the latest GE 4 beta, you can now turn on a "Best of 3D Warehouse" layer under "3D Buildings" and it will automatically load high quality buildings for the area you are viewing (using a network link). You can also still download the 3D Warehouse network link to find even more 3D models and select the placemark to load them up. See this for more details.
    • Roads of Brazil - Remember a few days ago when I said some of the new roads for Google Maps were not in GE? Well, they at least added the new ones for Brazil. But, where is Australia, New Zealand, etc? In fact, the crude base layers of roads for those two countries are gone now. Maybe that's a sign the new road layers are coming.
    • Geographic Web - there seems to be a lot more Panoramio photos in the "Geographic Web" layer.
    • "Sunrise Earth" - Under the "Featured Content" layer you will find "Discovery Network", there is now a new sublayer called "Sunrise Earth". This shows placemarks for locations where Discovery HD has "Sunrise Earth" programs and if you click on the placemarks the picture is a link to 2.5 minute video clips from the programs.

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:09 AM | Comments (4)

    6 de Enero 2007

    Mapa de Vista General en Google Earth

    Menú VerEl Mapa General es una característica en Google Earth para ayudarte a determinar tu posición sobre la Tierra. Lo puedes activar o desactivar llendo al menú "Ver" y elegir "Vista General del Mapa".

    Esta es una linda herramienta que muestra un mapa en miniatura en el rincón superior izquierdo del visor 3D. Un rectángulo rojo (o una cruz cuando estás muy cerca) te indican el área que estás viendo. Si haces doble clic con el mouse en otra área del mapa general volarás hasta allí (quedarás a la misma altitud que antes)

    El Mapa de Vista General te ayuda a tener una perspectiva del lugar de la Tierra que estás observando, y es una forma rápida de ir a otra parte del mundo que quieras ver. Lo puedes activar o desactivar con una combinación de teclas: Control-M. Puedes también ajustar el tamaño del mapa llendo a las Opciones (en "Herramientas->Opciones" en la pestaña Vista 3D ó en "Preferencias" en la Mac). Aquí se puede cambiar también la "Relación de Acercamiento" que significa qué tan preciso es la vista del Mapa General con respecto al nivel de acercamiento de tu vista 3D (por defecto, infinito).

    Relacionado: Guía de Usuario de Google Earth sobre Mapa de Vista General

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 2:53 PM | Comments (2)

    5 de Enero 2007

    Vean un Avión a control remoto capturar imágenes en tiempo real para GE

    Vean este video impresionante que muestra un tipo lanzando un pequeño VANT (Vehículo Aéreo No Tripulado) a control remoto con una cámara digital, que utiliza para capturar imágenes y mostrarlas en GE.

    La Compañía Pict'Earth, ha lanzado este video en su sitio web. El operador puede ver las imágenes en tiempo real a través de unos anteojos de realidad virtual. Luego, las imágenes pueden ser vistas en GE. Esto debe ser la cosa más impresionante que ví hacer con GE! Y hay algunos usos prácticos para esta tecnología. Google debería tomar nota. Esta tecnología podría ser muchísimo más barata que comprar imágenes satelitales de alta resolución. Aunque sea para imágenes de eventos especiales.

    Digg it!

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:53 AM | Comments (26)

    News Roundup - Spiegel and Hanke, New FAQ, Licensing Issue, Military Strategy

    • Speigel and Hanke - Spiegel Online interviews John Hanke, who led the company Keyhole which developed the application which became Google Earth. A couple of interesting quotes: "A new version of Google Earth will soon hit the market that allows users to admire a whole gamut of cities in largely photorealistic detail. New York is one of them." and also: "...points out that administrative authorities in Gran Canaria -- one of the Canary Islands in Spain -- have already provided three-dimensional images of all their towns." Looks like more 3D buildings are coming.
    • New FAQ - John Gardiner has posted a new FAQ to help answer questions about the new Geographic Web layer. It helps answer questions for those interested in seeing Wikipedia information included in the new Wikipedia sub-layer.
    • Licensing Issue - An article written in the Guardian talks about the reason why the Virtual London 3D models (see sample movie) developed by the folks at CASA (who write the Digital Urban blog I frequently blog about) have not been made available to the public for viewing in Google Earth. Apparently the reason has to do with a licensing issue between Ordinance Survey (OS) in England and Google. The OS seems to have a real lock on mapping data in the UK. Read OgleEarth's comments.
    • Military Strategy - The Strategy Page makes some interesting observations about how the availability of satellite photos in Google Earth has been changing the perception of the importance and desire of troops to get their hands on military-grade satellite imagery. I'm not sure how accurate the information in the article is with regards to whether the troops have the right tools available. It certainly seems that the appropriately cleared personnel should be able to get the imagery they need in an application as easy to use as GE. In fact, I'm sure Google has talked to the military about using GE for just that purpose (for use with the military's databases). But, who knows whether the military would use GE, or spend millions of dollars developing something harder to use.

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 6:41 AM | Comments (0)

    4 de Enero 2007

    Google Earth Road Layers Falling Behind

    For some reason, the Google Earth Road layers haven't been staying synchronized with Google Maps. The only exception in the last few months I'm aware of is when Japan was added to both in September. During the last few months, Google Maps has added detailed road maps for Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Brasil. None of these locations are available with detailed road maps in Google Earth. I guess the process to convert road layer information into the vector format needed for GE is requiring more work. Either that or there are some sort of licensing issues. But, Google isn't saying what the issue is - I've asked. At least residents in these locations can turn to Google Maps - however, on another rant: Google Maps still doesn't provide a button to view the current location in Google Earth! Why is that?

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 3:24 PM | Comments (6)

    Black Pearl in 3D in Google Earth

    Black Pearl in Google EarthOver the holidays, 'jpwade' (who has contributed many 3D models to the GE Community) posted a 3D model similar to the Black Pearl ship from the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean". He also implemented a time animation showing the ship sailing about in a bay in the islands. Load the Black Pearl model (you must be using GE 4) and hit the "Play" button (a right arrow triangular button on the right of the time slider in the upper part of the screen). Pay close attention to how it animates at the beginning. It seems his version of the Black Pearl has capabilities similar to the Flying Dutchman. Thanks Joey!

    Related, some other 3D models for Google Earth by 'jpwade':

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 9:38 AM | Comments (2)

    3 de Enero 2007

    Principios Importantes para Google Earth

    Monte Santa Helena en Google EarthSi eres nuevo en Google Earth (GE), o estás buscando maneras de mejorar cómo interactuar con él, este artículo puede ser una ayuda. Otras fuentes de referencias las encontrarás debajo. Nota: este artículo asume que estás utilizando GE versión 4 - vean esto para consejos sobre GE versión 3.

    Aprender a manipular el mouse y las teclas es crucial en GE para tener las mejores posibilidades de vistas de la Tierra. La primer cosa importante que debes saber es cómo acercarse para ver mejor la superficie terrestre. Tienes varias formas de hacer esto: haz doble clic con tu botón izquierdo del mouse para acercarte y, si tienes un mouse de múltiples botones, doble clic con el derecho para alejarte; usa también la ruedita del medio (si tienes una) o usa las combinaciones CTRL-FLECHA ARRIBA o CTRL-FLECHA ABAJO . Puedes también utilizar los botones "+" y "-" de las barras de navegación desplazables de arriba a la derecha para cambiar la altitud. La rueda de scroll del mouse es probablemente el método favorito de los fanáticos de GE. Todos estos métodos ajustan la altura sobre la superficie terrestre. Puedes ver la altura sobre el nivel del mar (del punto desde el que estás mirando) en el rincón derecho y abajo de la pantalla. Puedes moverte hacia un punto de la superficie que quieras ver haciendo 1 clic con el botón izquierdo sobre la superficie de la tierra y arrastrar el mouse para ubicar ese punto más o menos en el centro de la pantalla, luego suelta el botón del mouse.

    Al principio, mucha gente no se daba cuenta de que Google Earth es mucho más que un mapa con imágenes aéreas pegadas. GE usa datos de las misiones del Space Shuttle que proveen información sobre el terreno en 3D de la totalidad de la superficie terrestre. Déjemne demostrárselo:

    Hagan clic en éste vínculo para ir a GE y volar al Monte Santa Helena. Hermoso, verdad? Bueno, prueben esto: presionen la tecla PgDown (ó AvPag en algunos teclados en español) y vean cómo se inclina el punto de vista para poder apreciar el Monte Santa Helena en 3D (si no lo ven en 3D, asegúrense de que la capa "Terreno" esté activada). Está bueno, no? PgUp (ó RePag en teclados en español) inclinará la vista nuevamente hacia arriba. También pueden usar el control deslizable de arriba a la derecha para inclinar. Un lindo consejo: presionen la tecla "u" para inclinar hacia la vertical automáticamente. La tecla "r" resetea la visión a la posición vertical con el Norte alineado hacia arriba.

    Una manera más fácil de inclinar y desplazar la vista es hacer clic con la ruedita central y arrastrar, luego soltar (aquellos de Ustedes que usan Mac con un mouse de 1 sólo botón deberán usar las técnicas explicadas arriba, pero les recomiendo que se consigan un mouse de 3 botones). Mientras presionan la ruedita central de scroll del mouse, y mueven el cursor hacia adelante o atrás, la vista se inclina o se pone más vertical. Arrastrando de esta forma pero de lado a lado verán cómo recorren alrededor del punto observado. Si mientras hacen esto presionan la tecla SHIFT la rotación mantiene la altura de observación mientras se rota.

    Fuentes Relacionadas:

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 5:20 PM | Comments (3)

    Updating GE Tips to GE 4

    Over the next few days, I will be re-writing and publishing some of the Google Earth tips I've written since this blog began that were based on GE 3. The changes will reflect differences based on the newer GE 4. Eventually, when GE 4 is no longer beta, I will change the GE Basics page to reflect only GE 4 tips (although the old page and stories will still be available for those who are unable to upgrade from GE 3 for whatever reason).

    Even some of you regular GEB readers may find some useful tips. Oh, and feel free to add comments with other useful tips! The next blog entry is the first upgraded tip entry.

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 5:14 PM | Comments (0)

    2 de Enero 2007

    Using GPS in Real-time with Google Earth

    GPS Driving in Google EarthGoogle's recent GE 4 Beta release (on December 16) included a new feature for GE Plus/Pro/EC users. If you have a compatible GPS (current Garmin units work well) you can show your position in the new GE by simply turning on a new option under the "Tools->GPS->Real-time" option. For my Garmin, I used the "Garmin PVT" option with the GPS (a Garmin 60Csx) hooked up through USB to my Intel MacBook. This works on both the Windows XP and Mac OSX version of GE Pro in my tests. If you turn on the "Automatically follow path" option, GE will zoom to your current position and will automatically zoom to a level showing the path of the points most recently imported from your GPS (you can specify how many points - up to 100). I wish there was a way to set the altitude and tilt for your view while following, but the view works pretty well now. Here is a sample of a GPS track I saved after stopping at an exit off the highway. You can of course upload your entire track from your GPS and use a tool like GPSVisualizer.com to do fancier track visualizations.

    If you are using this in your car (or other forms of transportation) you probably will not have Internet access. So, it is important to first load your GE cache up with imagery/data for the area you will be traveling before you leave your Internet connection behind. For example, I set up driving directions for the trip I planned and played the tour of my drive before I left the house. You need to make sure the playback of the tour is slow enough to allow each area of imagery to load into cache (check the GE options for "Touring->Tour Speed").

    By the way, if you are using the free version of GE, there is a free application available called GooPs which let's you do real-time GPS tracking. It has been posted and updated by GEC member 'davidhite'. I haven't tested it myself yet, but I plan to since I see he recently supports an air-based feature (i.e. tracks with altitude). So, I will try this on a flight sometime soon.

    For many other articles on GPS and Google Earth read the GPS category.

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 11:47 AM | Comments (12)

    Google Earth Blog - 8 Million page views in 2006

    Happy 2007 everyone! I've just reviewed the 2006 year-end statistics for Google Earth Blog (GEB), and it was an amazing year. GEB had 7,977,793 page loads on the web site (this does not include RSS readers which amounted to over 3 million requests in 2006). There were also 3,744,498 unique visitors to the web site. I'm happy to report that my readership is very international with approximately 60% of traffic from non-US locations. Special thanks to Google Adsense for helping make it possible for me to dedicate the time to write this blog. Also, thanks to the many sponsors through Google Adsense, Amazon, and a few direct sponsors on GEB. The biggest thanks to the Google Earth team for a great program and to the MANY GEB readers!

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:39 AM | Comments (3)

    News Roundup: Superoverlay, GE Chess, Geosite, ArcGIS Explorer

    • Superoverlay - Valery Hrosunov has released Superoverlay Pro ($95) which includes scheduling of tasks to process Superoverlays. "Superoverlay is a stand-alone Google Earth application for tiling raster datasets and creating view based regions in KML or KMZ files. Also Superoverlay can generate world files for all images in ArcView style". In other words, it helps you put large image overlays into Google Earth (for example alternative maps or aerial photography).
    • GE Chess - Another game to be played with Google Earth. This one lets you set up a 3D Chess board in Google Earth. You have to do a free registration to get started (no e-mail required), and you have to install 3D models on your local drive before you can start. Instructions are provided. Check out the GE Chess game by Ashley Joyce.
    • Geosite - This product was recently released by CH2M Hill, a global engineering construction and operations firm. GISCafe Weekly has a summary of the new product which allows customers to dynamically view project information within Google Earth.
    • ArcGIS Explorer - the virtual globe browser from GIS software giant ESRI was finally released in beta form a few weeks ago. Stefan Geens of OgleEarth has done a thorough review of the product from a Google Earth perspective. His final conclusion is that AGX so far is a disappointment.

    Enviado porFrankTaylor at 8:00 AM | Comments (0)

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