Google Earth Blog
We’ve shown you some work from Henry Rothwell’s Digital Digging site before (such as the Hillforts we showed you back in April), and felt it was time to head back out there to see what’s new. Along with a slick new mobile responsive design, Henry has a handful of great new features on the site. One of those new features is a great collection of “long barrows”.
Long barrows are prehistoric monuments, typically rectangular or trapezoidal in shape. Tim Darvill, author of “Long Barrows of the Cotswolds and Surrounding Areas” has been helping Henry build out this section of the site.
Thanks to the new changes that Henry has made to his site, he hopes to be able to “spend less time tinkering, and more time creating content”. He already produces quite a lot of excellent content, so we’re looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next.
Great work Henry!
The heart-shaped island of Galesnjak, located off the coast of Croatia, has long been considered a romantic destination when viewed from afar. However, despite many requests to host weddings on the island it’s never been possible due to the thick shrubbery. One of the islands owners, Tonci Juresko, has decided to clear many of the trees from the island and replace them with 250 olive trees, in an effort to be able to host weddings in the future. The long-term goal is admirable, but the short-term result is pretty rough-looking:
All of the imagery in Google Earth still shows the island intact, though I expect a future update will let us see the scars (even if they appear via newer “historical imagery”). You can fly there and see it for yourself by loading this KML file.
The post New scars for the famous heart-shaped island near Croatia appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
Did the title confuse you enough? If you explore our planet long enough, you’ll find some very neat things, such as the tiny island of Vulcan Point, seen here (inside the lake on the island in the center of the image).
Vulcan Point island is found on Main Crater Lake, which is located on Volcano Island. Volcano Island is found on Taal Lake (which is formed via the Taal Caldera). Taal Lake is located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. It’s quite an amazing ring of lakes and islands!
The primary reason for the existence of this is Taal Volcano, which helps form some of these pieces. It’s a rather active volcano, with 33 historical eruptions, the last of which was in 1977.
To see all of it for yourself, you can use this KML file to fly out there in Google Earth.
The post An island on the world’s largest lake on an island in a lake on an island appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
Over the years, the vast majority of the files we’ve showcased for Google Earth have been focused on adding more detail about our planet. We’ve seen a few others, such as Matt Fox’s overlay of the moon and Mars (before those became official features), but today’s file from Jose Sanchez-Cerezo de la Fuente is a different take on things.
Jose has designed a map of human knowledge that is displayed on Google Earth using a massive image overlay.
His goal is to use this method to showcase a wealth of information — as you zoom in on each area, the data would become increasingly precise. Here’s a video that shows a bit more about his thoughts:
He dreams of this concept being used to organize vast collections of information. With the proper code (likely via a combination of image overlays and network links), it’s certainly very possible. For now, you can check out his rough idea by viewing the video above or loading this KMZ file into Google Earth.
Nice work, Jose!
Colin Hazlehurst has contributed some excellent tours to Google Earth over the years. His most impressive is likely the recreation of Captain James Cook’s circumnavigation of New Zealand, but he’s also covered items such as the 1825 Greek Independence battle.
He recently came across a great model of Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis airplane in the 3D Warehouse, read up more about him on Wikipedia, and then decided to recreate the famous flight in Google Earth.
The result is a very impressive tour, part of which can be seen in this video:
His plan is to present the 33.5 hour journey in about 335 minutes of animation, in other words, flying the model at 600 knots instead of the 100 knots at which the Spirit of St. Louis travelled.
He’s created this KMZ file, generated using a variant of the TourMaker tool that he’s developed for this kind of Google Earth animation. It still has some way to go, but is quite impressive already.
Great work, Colin!
Because of the way Google Earth work, volcanoes are almost always amazing to view inside of it. 3D terrain combined with high-resolution imagery makes for some stunning views, as we explained a while back in our “A to Z” post about Volcanoes.
The NASA Earth Observatory recently posted an image and article about “lava flows”, seen here:
From their article:
Streams of molten rock that ooze from gaps or vents in the Earth’s surface are called lava flows, and they can pose a hazard to everything in their paths. These rivers of rock can take many shapes and move at very different rates depending on the viscosity of the magma, the slope of the land, and the rate of an eruption.
While viscous lava flows are defined by steep flow fronts and pressure ridges, low-viscosity lavas tend to move faster and create longer, narrower shapes. They also tend to have smaller flow fronts and levee-like structure along their edges. Many characteristics of a low-viscosity lava flow are visible in this image of Zhupanovsky and Dzenzursky volcanoes on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. The image was acquired by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite on September 9, 2013.
We often feature some of the amazing images from the NASA Earth Observatory on our site, and they’ve recently published a post that gives some additional insight on how learn more about any satellite imagery that you come across.
Their main tips include:
- Look for a scale: Sometimes the big picture can be more important than high-res details.
- Look for patterns, shapes, and textures: Even clouds can give clues to the landscape below.
- Define colors: Different satellite instruments can ready colors differently, so be aware of what you’re looking at.
- Find north: If the image is in Google Earth, either built-in or using an image overlay, finding north is as easy as pressing the letter “n” on your keyboard. However, if you find other imagery online you may have to be careful as north isn’t always at the top of the image.
- Consider your prior knowledge: If you already know what happened in an area (recent fire, for example) it can make it easier to determine what you’re looking at.
It’s a great article, so click here to read the full entry on the Earth Observatory site.
A friend of his, Chi Po-Lin, has created a documentary titled “Taiwan from Above“. Steven has taken the amazing aerial trips from the documentary and recreated them in Google Earth. Specifically, Steven says:
I used two windows – one in, one out. The GPS route I got from Chi, which he made one day in 2008. This trip started from Puli, then flew to Central Mountains , Yushan Mountain, Sun Moon Lake and then back. It is a 240 km long, 1 hour 32 minute flight time trip.
You can read more about it it on Steven’s blog, or try it for yourself using the Google Earth Plugin on this page. The plugin version has varying levels of success depending on your browser, so you can also download the KMZ files to load them directly in Google Earth:
Great work, Steven!
On the southwestern point of Mauritius is a crazy-looking phenomenon. When viewed from the air (either in real life or in Google Earth) it appears to be an underwater waterfall!
Of course, a real underwater waterfall isn’t possible but the actual answer is really quite fascinating. An article on ScienceBlogs.com really digs into it, but the short version is:
What you’re witnessing, that looks like an underwater waterfall, is actually sand from the shores of Mauritius being driven via ocean currents off of that high, coastal shelf, and down into the darker ocean depths off the southern tip of the island.
To see it for yourself, check out the full article on ScienceBlogs or grab this KML file to fly there in Google Earth. [NOTE by Frank: Although Google has 3D bathymetry (underwater terrain), they don't attempt to provide such data so close to shore. Also, I checked a nautical chart, and the area is not as deep as it appears (only 10-20 meters). So, the effect is an optical illusion. But, it does look cool!]
Each year, Google releases their “Zeitgeist“, a summary of the “what captured the world’s attention in the past year”. This year, Google is working with PBS to offer you the opportunity to create your own Zeitgeist for 2013 using the Meograph storytelling tool.
Here is a sample video using stories from 2012:
The contest winner will receive a Nexus 7 tablet from Google, and will be featured on YouTube’s education channel and Google’s Google+ page. Entries must be submitted by midnight on December 14.
It appears that Google has just pushed out a fresh batch of imagery! Thanks to sharp-eyed GEB readers ‘Munden’ and ‘Dave’ for being the first to let us know about it.
As is often the case, this imagery isn’t yet in Google Maps. As a result, you can compare Google Earth to Google Maps to determine what is new; the fresh imagery is already in Google Earth, but the old imagery is still in Google Maps. If you compare the two side-by-side and they’re not identical, that means that you’ve found a freshly updated area in Google Earth!
Some of the updated areas include:
- Japan: Sasebo
- United States:
- California (Chino, Los Angeles, San Celmente)
- Colorado (Canon City and Royal Gorge)
- Kentucky (Louisville)
- Michigan (Escanaba, Gladstone, Menominee, Nahma, Rapid River, Stephenson)
- North Dakota (Kenmare, Minot)
- Oklahoma (Lawton)
- Tennessee (Martin, Union City)
- Washington (Bremerton, Everett, Maple Valley, Seattle, Tacoma)
- Wisconsin (Dodgeville, Marinette, Peshtigo, Sister Bay, Sturgeon Bay)
If you find any other updated areas, please leave a comment and let us know!
Despite happening 80 years ago, the crime spree of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow is one that continues to live on throughout the years and is the subject of an A&E miniseries that begins this weekend. To help add context to their real-life exploits, George from MyReadingMapped has built out a detailed map of their crimes from 1932-1934.
The map includes details and photos from dozens of their crimes, using a handful of sources to place all of them. From his site:
Some of the plotted points in this map are the actual locations, while others represent the general area. Bonnie’s good looks catapulted them to headline news and all the press exposure seem to escalate the violence and their bravado. Resulting in several shootouts with police and harrowing escapes that the press loved to write about.
For more, check out the full article on MyReadingMapped, the large version of the Google Map, the KML file for use in Google Earth, or the A&E page with details about the upcoming miniseries.
Great work, George!
We’ve shown you quite a few examples of Google Earth being used to help prevent crime (including a post last week), but now there’s another great story out of Vancouver. Scientists at the University of British Columbia are using Google Earth to calculate how much fish was being caught by Persian Gulf nations compared to how much they were reporting.
From the article:
…the researchers say Google Earth can be used to detect illegal fishing and underreporting of fish catches. To give some “ground truth” to the Persian Gulf’s fisheries take, Al-Abdulrazzak and Pauly studied Google Earth images from 2005 to 2010. Unlike fishing boats, weirs are big structures—as long as 321 meters (1,053 feet)—that remain anchored in place and are easily detected by satellites. The researchers spotted 1,656 weirs in 2005. But after running an algorithm to correct for poor visibility, they estimated there were actually around 1,900 weirs.
It’s yet another great use of Google Earth, and an excellent way to do that kind of work. Be sure to check out the full article to learn more.
The post Using Google Earth to catch overfishing in the Persian Gulf appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
As they did for 2012, the folks at DigitalGlobe are again asking for your help to choose their best image of the year. We’ve talked about DigitalGlobe and their work many times over the years, and their Top Image Contest makes for some tough decisions.
Here is a brief video that tells a bit more about the contest:
You can read more about the contest on their blog, or head out to their Contest album on their Facebook page and vote (by means of a “like”) for your favorites. Voting will end at midnight PST on December 16, so get your votes in before then.
Google’s annual “Santa Tracker” site is live, with new games and features being added each day from now until Christmas. When Christmas comes, as they’ve done in years past, Google will help track Santa’s journey around the world.
As we saw last year, there is also the (now separate) NORAD Tracks Santa site which is being powered by Microsoft. The result on Christmas Eve is that Santa may appear to be in two different places at once if the maps aren’t in sync, but there are some good explanations for that. Danny Sullivan did a great job of breaking down the differences in tracking software last year, including gems like this:
It might be that NORAD is somehow projecting Santa’s future location in an effort to help parents trying to usher their kids off to sleep. Personally, I long wished for this type of time-shifting, myself. Or perhaps Santa is moving so fast this year that NORAD’s systems are distorting the location. In the past, he was always spotted passing over particular places around midnight, by NORAD. Alternatively, maybe Google’s systems are lagging behind.
Regardless, it gives us two great sites to send the kids to look at and play with as the big day approaches.
As for Google’s technology, I expect we’ll see a pretty clever use of Google Maps and/or Google Earth on Christmas Eve. Their about page promises the “latest and greatest in Google Maps technology and sleigh engineering“. No matter how it turns out, it’ll be a fun day for all involved. Check it out for yourself at google.com/santatracker.
The post The countdown begins for Google’s annual Santa tracker appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
November saw some great stories related to Google Earth. Here are my favorites from the month:
We took another look at the amazing UTA Flight 772 memorial in the desert of Niger.
Michael Heizer creates some amazing (and amazingly large) artwork, and Google Earth is a great way to view much of it.
DigitalGlobe was the first to release post-typhoon imagery from the Philippines after Haiyan hit, though I expect we’ll see more from that region soon.
We took a look at the “Geo for Good” summit that was held at Google’s headquarters.
We showed you a neat way to learn more about the geo contexts of popular books by using the Google Lit Trips site.
We took a look at the current status of the popular “Google Earth War” game.
We looked at ways that Google Earth is used to help facilitate crimes, and how it’s also used to help prevent them.
What was your favorite story from November?
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the US, and I’m looking forward to taking it easy and enjoying time with family, eating the big meal, and watching some football.
A few years ago, Frank created the world’s largest Thanksgiving greeting card. You can check it out in Google Earth. Feel free to share the link with your friends or family. (By the way, if you look closely, you’ll see a placemark with a turkey icon. Check out the placemark for a little Thanksgiving trivia.)
Over the years we’ve shown you a number of examples of law enforcement using Google Earth to catch criminals and IT World has just put out a large list of ways that Google Earth has been used for both good and evil.
Included on the list is the town of Riverhead, NY cracking down on illegal pools, the “murder or a wet dog?” story from earlier this year, the stolen SUV discovered in the woods, illegal marijuana growing in California and a handful of other stories.
Some of them are stories I’ve never heard, such as their Burglary in Chicago story, which includes:
The burglar reportedly searched “expensive homes along highways” on Google and landed on the Chicago village of Indian Head Park, after which he used Google Earth and Google Maps to identify which houses would be easiest to break into.
All in all, it’s quite an impressive list! Go check it out for yourself on the IT World blog.
The post Using Google Earth for crime (and for preventing it) appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
The trend of “prepping”, or being prepared specifically for a major societal disruption (large scale rioting, economic collapse, blackouts, etc), is a growing trend. While there is much debate about whether or not many of the scenarios are likely to occur, a segment of the population spends a great deal of their time preparing for the worst. The Preparedness Advice Blog recently wrote an article on how Google Earth can assist preppers, with some great points in it.
Among other advice, they suggest that you simply “…use Google earth to find every pond or swimming pool within walking distance of your house. Looking at your neighborhood gives you a whole new perspective, you will notice things of which you are unaware.”
They also recommend that you use historical imagery to “see past photos of the same site… to spot changes” and look for choke points if you need to escape your area.
If nothing else, it’s another great example of how you can use Google Earth in your daily life to learn more about the area around you. Be sure to check out the full article on their blog to learn more.
The post How to use Google Earth to assist with your “prepping” appeared first on Google Earth Blog.
Eight years ago I created a game on Google Earth Hacks titled “GE War“. It was based very loosely on the idea of a Risk-style “take over the world” game, and it started as mostly a proof-of-concept of some interesting ideas I had regarding dynamic KML files.
I built a few other games using similar ideas (such as GE Football and GEMMO), but GE War remained the most popular. In fact, it was really taxing my server to manage the traffic, not to mention my time in developing and troubleshooting the game, so I handed it over to some of the more active players and developers and they’ve run with it!
The game was moved to gewar.net shortly after, and has continued to slowly evolve over the years. While the basic idea is the same (collect resources, attack other cities), it’s expanded quite a lot. They’ve changed some of the mechanics (changed oil from a “resource” to a “commodity”), adjusted how nuclear attacks work, created a boot camp for new players, and now have more than 1300 cities featured in the game.
If you’re a fan of this kind of game, having an always-on war-style game that runs inside of Google Earth is a pretty neat thing. Go start a game at gewar.net and take over the world!