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1 de Marzo 2007

Swiss Alps "Fighter" Tour in Google Earth

On Wednesday, Google released high resolution terrain for the Swiss Alps, and new high resolution imagery for Google Earth. The Swiss Alps are really beautiful to view in GE yourself, but I occasionally like to show YouTube video demos for 3D content like this. As I was considering my approach, my friend Scott Madry (the Armchair Archaeologist) sent me a link to a cool video showing a real-life jet pilot taking off and flying through famous places in the Swiss Alps. At this point, I had to do the geeky thing and see if I could make the same flight sequences in Google Earth! So, I spent all day trying to coerce the "G-Force" mode in Google Earth to fly in a rough approximation to this military pilot (not easy at all!). The main point here is that the GE terrain looks VERY close to the real thing.

Anyway, you can watch the real video on the top, and my video below using Google Earth. If you play both at the same time you can see I managed to get them to play close to in sequence (you might want to turn off the audio on mine since it's just a crude mono-copy of the sound from the original).


Google Earth

Some notes: Google's imagery of the alps is summertime, but the jet video was in the winter. It took me like 50 tries to get the upside down turn over Mont Blanc with the mouse-based G-Force interface and no throttle control. The meticulous among you will notice other little flaws in my flying, but hey - it was only 8 hours worth of trial and error! Hope you guys like it. Digg it!

[UPDATE: Some have asked me - I just used the mouse with G-Force to control, and MS MovieMaker to splice the clips together and create the video. It took me a few minutes to figure out where each flight sequence was located and the flight path, and a bit longer to practice the right speed and approach.]

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 1 de Marzo 2007 a las 10:05 PM

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  • Comentarios

    Very nicely done; that obviously took a lot of work but it shows off the new terrain quite well! I wish I had a fast enough connection to try something like that.

    Not having a joystick, I've never played with the g-force mode much, but I didn't realize it was possible to roll in GE. That's the one axis of rotation that the space navigator doesn't support -- not that I miss it, really, but it would be kind of cool for making 'flight sim' type movies.

    Enviado por: Lauren at 1 de Marzo 2007 a las 10:43 PM

    This blog post made my day. Great work...thanks.

    Enviado por: Scot at 1 de Marzo 2007 a las 10:57 PM

    Hello Frank,

    this one is awesome and really out of world..........

    i liked it very much......

    Just out of curiosity, did you used Space navigator from 3dconnexion for recording this video.......... and what tools did you use to create the video file.........

    once gain great job......... congrats

    Gopi P

    Enviado por: Gopi P at 1 de Marzo 2007 a las 11:10 PM

    "At this point, I had to do the geeky thing and see if I could make the same flight sequences in Google Earth!"

    Priceless! I love it!

    Enviado por: gulfstreme at 2 de Marzo 2007 a las 12:16 AM

    Great job, I was amazed to see you could match them so closely.

    Enviado por: Todd at 2 de Marzo 2007 a las 12:26 AM


    Enviado por: GEORGE P STOUBIS at 2 de Marzo 2007 a las 01:48 AM

    Great! Awesome!

    Enviado por: Renalid at 2 de Marzo 2007 a las 03:35 AM

    frank mate ... that was stunning .. a fantastic piece of work!!

    Enviado por: ZNO at 2 de Marzo 2007 a las 04:13 AM

    I've just linked you (http://google-mapping.blogspot.com/2007/03/wow-in-volo-sulle-alpi-svizzere-con.html) in my blog about google mapping and... google earthing ;-)
    Thank you, Frank, and keep up the good job :-)

    Enviado por: Google Mapping Blog at 2 de Marzo 2007 a las 05:41 AM

    Absolutely amazing, true dedication!

    Enviado por: Barry Hunter at 2 de Marzo 2007 a las 10:41 AM

    Very nicely done!

    BTW, lauren made a comment about SpaceNavigator not being able to roll. My SpaceNavigator (the least expensive one) DOES support that axis of movement. The key to enabling this is to check the box called Tilt/Spin/Roll from the 3Dconnexion Control Panel. You can get to this screen by pressing the right button on the SpaceNavigator.

    Again, well done on the video.

    Enviado por: JavaChip at 2 de Marzo 2007 a las 08:21 PM

    You are truly a SUPER GEEK!
    That is an amazing piece of work, I can't believe the level of synchronisation you reached. I salute you and I wish I had nothing better to do but fly around in GE with my spacenavigator...

    Again, well done!

    Enviado por: martin cheeseboy at 2 de Marzo 2007 a las 11:41 PM

    Thank you and keep up the good Job :-)


    Enviado por: Andre seekXL at 4 de Marzo 2007 a las 08:17 AM

    Nice video Frank. How do you get such a long video with that amount of clarity to upload on YouTube. I've tried doing a few using the original CamStudio (not CamTasia) but the quality just isn't there after I shrink the video down to under 10Mb. Do you run GE at full screen while recording and reduce the video size later or run GE in a smaller window while recording? Also what software and codec do you use?

    Here's a little scenary for your next flight ;) http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/details?mid=4da7dde3005b71b59a2179681175d7e7

    Enviado por: Josh Wilson at 4 de Marzo 2007 a las 05:22 PM


    Enviado por: dude at 4 de Marzo 2007 a las 11:18 PM

    After doing a model of the Grande Dixence Dam, I saw your video and had to go back and do a model of the Mauvoisin Dam which you flew over. http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/details?mid=b19f5f577b5eb764ec615c5cc5618f46

    Enviado por: Josh Wilson at 5 de Marzo 2007 a las 01:58 AM

    Only one word: RESPECT.
    These videos are absolutely breathtaking. Great work !!

    Enviado por: Jacek at 9 de Marzo 2007 a las 02:40 PM

    Hi Frank,

    Just blogged about your video: http://richrach.com/rich/?p=254

    Some friends and I are going hiking in the Alps this summer and I've been using Google to 'visualise' the routes. When the upped the resolution of the photos of the Alps it was like the mist had cleared! The videos are inspirational, and it's a relief to see how accurate Google's terrain mapping is.

    Enviado por: m8eyboy at 11 de Marzo 2007 a las 11:49 AM


    realy great work...thx a lot.

    Enviado por: kaboltzky at 15 de Marzo 2007 a las 04:28 PM

    Very impressive...I thought I was alone in my attempts to duplicate flight paths. I like to do it real time during sporting events that use blimps and helicopters for aerial shots. I have even split screened a car chase in California. It adds that third dimension to the experience. Keep up the fantastic work!

    Enviado por: Kenneth Dockery at 17 de Marzo 2007 a las 02:40 PM

    just Perfect!

    What is the music that you chose ??

    Enviado por: Martin at 31 de Marzo 2007 a las 05:52 AM

    Brilliant piece of work - truly inspirational.
    But please tell - what is the music? Truly another masterpiece.

    Enviado por: elmo at 31 de Marzo 2007 a las 11:22 AM

    LOL very very cool. I can't get that close to the runway on Google Earth though -- is this a special version?

    Enviado por: sylvia at 1 de Abril 2007 a las 08:28 PM

    Very nice work!

    @Kenneth Dockery: The music I believe is "Ameno" from the album "Era" by Eric Lévi (ITMS -> http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playlistId=14917260&s=143456&i=14917281)

    Enviado por: Marcus Sundgren at 3 de Mayo 2007 a las 02:46 AM

    Wow you have done an amazing job on this!!
    Quite stunning and very impressive.

    I'm going to send this URL on to a few people I know will be well impressed by this.

    I have one question - where did you find out that this new imagery was available from on Google?

    (I'd like to create a "fly past" of the great wall of china - something like this - for kids at a school we are doing charity work for and Google images of the wall are too low res (I think Microsofts are better - but that doesn't help me with Google Earth. Do you know if Google have an advance list of where they will improve the quality of images?)

    Enviado por: Ken at 13 de Mayo 2007 a las 08:01 AM

    Hi Frank, this is amazing, Thank you!

    Enviado por: Andi at 29 de Mayo 2007 a las 04:39 PM


    I have never been interested in flight simulation, until you showed this. So I finally decided to try the G-Force myself and the first place I went was the Tetons. They as stunning as the Alps.

    Although I could just as well have used the normal mouse mode to view the scenery, flying around yourself makes it absolutely breathtaking.

    Thanks for showing us the way.

    Enviado por: Roger at 10 de Junio 2007 a las 09:18 PM

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