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I got the whole world in my hands...
June 9, 2011 3:27 PM   Subscribe

The official Google Earth plugin is one free download that makes all sorts of cool stuff possible in your browser. There's a full screen version of the program (complete with underwater views and 3D buildings) which can be searched by entering queries at the end of the URL. There's a framed version with support for layers, historical imagery, day/night cycles, and the Google Sky starmap. Less useful but more fun are Google's collection of "experiments" demonstrating the possibilities of the Earth API, including a "Geo Whiz" geography quiz, an antipode locater, a 3D first-person view of San Francisco, a virtual route-follower, and MONSTER MILKTRUCK!, a crazy fun driving simulator that lets you careen a virtual milk truck through the Googleplex campus, ricochet off the Himalayas, or explore any other place you care to name. Lots more can be found in the Google Earth Gallery -- highlights include a look at mountaintop removal mining, a real-time flight tracker, a guide to trails and outdoor recreation, a 360 panorama catalog, geotagged Panoramio photos, and the comprehensive crowdsourced Google Earth Community Layer. And while it's too large to view online, don't miss loading the Metafilter user location map into a desktop version of Google Earth!

Controls for the plugin:

left click and drag: pan
right click and drag: rotate/smooth zoom
scroll wheel: zoom into/away from cursor
scroll wheel click and drag: rotate around point
double left/right click: zoom in/out

WASD/arrow keys: pan
Shift+WASD/arrow keys: rotate/tilt camera
+,-: zoom in/out
posted by Rhaomi (15 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

 
Just another day in the cartocracy. Plotters gonna plot.
posted by anigbrowl at 3:45 PM on June 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


I've always known that I could spend hours and hours with Google Earth, but I don't have the bandwith currently to make it anything but frustrating.

One day, when I have FiOS again.
posted by Defenestrator at 3:56 PM on June 9, 2011


Rhaomi: “The official Google Earth plugin is one free download that makes all sorts of cool stuff possible in your browser.”

No, it makes all sorts of cool stuff possible in your browser. Mine is Chrome, but this doesn't work in it... because I'm on Ubuntu. Still haven't figured out why this awesome plugin, which is at least a year old as far as I know, is not available on Linux and apparently never will be.
posted by koeselitz at 4:34 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


why not just download Google Earth?

it does all of those things and also lets you explore the Moon and Mars
posted by Cloud King at 4:47 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, it makes all sorts of cool stuff possible in your browser. Mine is Chrome, but this doesn't work in it... because I'm on Ubuntu. Still haven't figured out why this awesome plugin, which is at least a year old as far as I know, is not available on Linux and apparently never will be.

At some point it will be done in WebGL, surely. It would be a killer app for modern browsers, and a great showcase for Google too.
posted by jaduncan at 4:52 PM on June 9, 2011


Why am I reminded of Katamari Damacy all of a sudden? na-naaaa, na-na-na-na-na na na...
posted by JHarris at 5:00 PM on June 9, 2011


This would be a lot cooler if it worked. Load it up, meet the requirements, using Google Chrome... and get immediate messag that it wont work because I dont have latest version of browser. Seems like google has cooled on the execute with style scale. Reflected in stock price i guess.
posted by jcworth at 5:42 PM on June 9, 2011


Let me know when the stand-alone Google Earth gets editing tools that don't feel like they were written in a high school programming lab.
posted by waterunderground at 5:51 PM on June 9, 2011


Man, you people are a tough crowd. I just came here to hate on the GEO Quiz.
posted by sneebler at 6:00 PM on June 9, 2011


So, I was driving the Monster Milktruck around my neighborhood and noticed that while most of it was just aerial photography mapped onto rolling terrain, there were a few completely random houses and whatnot with 3D representations sticking up above the horizon line. Turns out that you can render your own home / office building / favorite feature and have it included in the big Google Earth map, via Google Building Maker.

Unfortunately there are way too many trees around my house to make it look like much more than a leafy cube, but maybe I'll add a rendering of my library branch or something.

Also, my favorite thing to do with Google Earth is to zoom-in on tiny little yellow-outlined atolls in the South Pacific and think wistful thoughts. Seriously, as soon as I launch it, I hear the Marshalls calling. sigh
posted by mumkin at 6:14 PM on June 9, 2011


Re: Milktruck

Very Reid Fleming
posted by djrock3k at 8:12 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Protip: Monster Milktruck on the Grand Canyon is epic.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:22 PM on June 9, 2011


According to this, I live on the median of a frontage road which runs parallel to Interstate 5. I had better get cracking on my cardboard sign.
posted by Danf at 9:36 PM on June 9, 2011


Why am I reminded of Katamari Damacy all of a sudden? na-naaaa, na-na-na-na-na na na...

I'd like to see a Google Earth/Katamari Damacy mashup. Perhaps a massively multiplayer one, with the data kept on a server. (Though maybe not; it would suck when you're rolling up pushpins and sushi rolls on a coffee table somewhere and and some more advanced player rolls up the house you're in.)
posted by acb at 4:11 AM on June 10, 2011


WOAH, there's a Reid Fleming web site? What's next, Flaming Carrot tweets?
posted by wenestvedt at 5:44 AM on June 10, 2011


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