According to Wired, "Paired with AI and VR, Google Earth will change the world". But just after its tenth birthday, Google Earth is already changing the world even without AI or VR, simply by giving scientists tools to map the world's problems (NYT). Google Earth Engine has become an emerging tool in environmental monitoring, conservation, water resources, regional planning, epidemiology, forestry, agriculture, climate science, and many other fields:
In 2007, not long after taking the job at Google, Askay flew to Brazil, helping an indigenous tribe, the Surui, map deforestation in their area of the Amazon, and this gave rise to a wider project called Google Earth Engine. With Earth Engine, outside developers and companies [and scientists] can use Google’s enormous network of data centers to run sweeping calculations on the company’s satellite imagery and other environmental data, a digital catalog that dates back more than 40 years.[more inside]
Postcards From Google Earth: "I collect Google Earth images. I discovered them by accident, these particularly strange snapshots, where the illusion of a seamless and accurate representation of the Earth’s surface seems to break down. I was Google Earth-ing, when I noticed that a striking number of buildings looked like they were upside down." [more inside]
The true story of a lost child who never forgot his home, a mother who never gave up hope, and google earth.
MeFi's own Alan Taylor brings us another crop of stunning aerial imagery from Google Earth, inviting you to guess what you're looking at. Now with multiple choice! (previously)
Books seen in new ways: the Book Drum World Map (popular books mapped to their locations, and more). The Infinite Helical Bookcase. CodexCloud (store, search and share your eBooks online). Also: galleries and blogs of unique bookshelves, Bookshelf Porn and BookPorn. [more inside]
Google Earth Clock is a digital clock assembled from views of the planet that resemble numbers. (Not for the vertiginous; requires the Google Earth plugin). [more inside]
"Looking at the world through via Google Earth offers striking images of the diversity of our planet and the impact that humans have had on it. Today's entry is a puzzle. We're challenging you to figure out where in the world each of the images below is taken. (You'll find answers and links at the bottom of the entry.) North is not always up in these pictures, and, apart from a bit of contrast, they are unaltered images provided by Google and its mapping partners. So I invite you to open up Google Earth (or Google Maps), have a look at the images below, and dive in. Good luck!"
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! [more inside]
Clement Valla uses Google Earth to zoom in on bridges and roads in a way which makes them appear warped. [more inside]
Fernando Vicente creates his own Body Worlds*, shows what makes people tick, gets under their skin, and appeals to dignity and prurience. Also, he has a blog. Reminds me of Boris Artzybasheff and Yoshitomo Nara for different reasons. via strange maps [more inside]
We've discussed the "once in a century" Amazon Drought of 2005-06. Five years later and we are seeing another once in a century drought in the Amazon. How serious are the effects of these droughts for global climate? The science appears to be mixed. Helping monitor is the newly released Google Earth 6.0, which can track individual trees within a section of the Amazonian forest, and 80 million other trees in 7 cities around the world (video).
Early into the Egypt-Italy Science Year 2009, a crater was found by a research team with Google Earth on the hyperarid southern edge of Egypt. Not associated with the earlier documented Clayton craters located in the south-east corner of Egypt, the recently discovered crater is unique for its untouched, pristine nature that appears more similar to other planets and moons with thin atmospheres, even though the impact has been estimated to be a few thousand years old. The crater, labeled Gebel Kamil, will be the 177th known impact site on Earth, as logged by the Earth Impact Database. [more inside]
Googlelittrips is a website that utilizes Google Earth to show readers the important locations in books they are reading. [more inside]
Andy Grauland scours Google Maps for stunning natural imagery. The 19-year old Dane has close to two dozen extracts on his site. Take a look at places where no street view exists, and feel free to zoom/pan. (via, see also (previously))
Google has invented the Holodeck. Well, not really, but for the moment it's probably the next best thing. Google's Liquid Galaxy Project, a virtual glass elevator that lets you fly around the world, makes for a stunning presentation. Developed as part of Google’s “20 per cent time” initiative, which sees its engineers encouraged to pursue their own projects on company time, Liquid Galaxy allows users to fly through the Grand Canyon, leap into low-Earth orbit and back down into the oceans and even perch oneself on the Great Pyramid of Giza, all without even breaking a sweat. Check out the amazing video here.
One of the great things about Google Earth is how extensible it is using KML. You can use it to show off placemarks, build 3D structures, track wildfires or hurricanes, and much more. Google Earth can be used as a scientific visualization platform. OpenEarth is an open source initiative that archives, hosts and disseminates Data, Models and Tools for marine and coastal scientists and engineers. Their KML data visualizations using Google Earth display some of the possibilities. [via] [more inside]
The San Francisco Bay Bridge has been shut down for the weekend to allow workers to roll a section of the old bridge away, and roll in a temporary section, while they build the new permanent bridge. Download the video here showing how they'll do it. [more inside]
North Korea has a reputation as one of the most secretive, authoritarian, repressive countries in the world. But that doesn't stop Curtis Melvin, a PhD student at George Mason University, from trying to shine some light into the country's dark corners l His North Korea Economy Watch site, which includes The most authoritative map of North Korea on Google Earth l Gulags, Nukes and a Water Slide: Citizen Spies Lift North Korea's Veil.
Hacking the Sky: Robert Simpson writes astronomy tools for use with Google Earth, Google Sky, and Twitter.
Star Viewer ― merging Google Earth (Sky) with Hubblecast videos to learn more about what you're seeing in the night sky. [more inside]
Google Earth moves to square centimeter resolution, when it comes to art at Madrid's Prado Museum. Zoom in on 14-gigapixel images (about 1400 times the detail of a standard 10-gigapixel camera) of some of the museum's masterpieces, via Google Earth or Google Maps (start here). It's like putting your nose right up to the painting. Some details at Google Blog. Be sure to watch the how-it-was-done video.
What a month for Google Earth. Its breathtaking updated 3D New York City skyline features textured photos of hundreds of buildings. It has doubled its US coverage and expanded Street View imagery by 22 times. But it also became the subject of a failed legal petition in India demanding it blur sensitive areas in the country. Supposedly, it had agreed to do this nearly two years before the Mumbai attack. Despite the bad timing, an Indian rival plans to sharpen the competition. Google Maps and Earth allegedly blur sensitive sites and a few questionably sensitive landmarks. However, as yet undeterred by security and privacy controversy, Google is adding GeoEye's satellite imagery to Google Earth next month.
Using images from Google Earth, scientists have determined that grazing cattle and deer align themselves with the Earth's magnetic field.
NPR article on World Where's Waldo Link to the website A Canadian woman made a giant waldo and put it on top of her house and is waiting for the google earth satellites to pick him up.
Building on the ideas of Microsoft's Photosynth, flickr's geotagging, and Google's Panoramio, Viewfinder aims to organize photographs spatially in 3D worlds such as Google Earth. See it in action.
Native Names Projects by the Coeur d'Alene Tribe GIS Program and the Hawaii Board on Geographic Names are adding audio pronunciation guides to geospatial place-name datasets in several on-line mapping formats. [more inside]
Discoveries made using satellite imagery, particularly via Google Earth, have made headlines in the blue and green before. Increasingly high-resolution photos, combined with obsessive interest, have lead inevitably to the next step: interpretation and analysis of spots on the Earth's surface for which information is restricted, censored, or classified, such as the preparedness of military defenses in North Korea and Iran, or the viability of Saudi Arabia's next big oil play. Of course, not all mapping is benevolent.
The of Battlefields and Bibliophiles blog has a fun quiz. Check your knowledge of American Civil War battlefields by guessing which battleground is featured in the Google Earth images. Answers here. [more inside]
Construction of the World's Highest Bridge, Millau Viaduct in France, which is slightly higher than the Eiffel Tower. It is now included in a list of Google Earth extremes. World's most interesting bridges. Gallery of beautiful world bridges. [more inside]
An Unfortunate View From the Sky. The U.S. Navy has decided to spend as much as $600,000 for landscaping and architectural modifications to obscure the fact that one its building complexes looks like a swastika from the air.
We've seen that one picture of earth at night. And we all know what Google Earth is. But someone has put the two together. Be sure to check out the map overlays, including the dusk map.
Because everyone loves a good superlative, the Google Earth Community's "Huge and Unique" page lists the world's tallest, deepest, longest, widest & general all-around most of everything there is. With pictures! Found via.
Fighter jets, overturned tractor trailers, WW II bombers, cars parked on walls, and more of The Strangest Sights in Google Earth
Have you played with Google Earth recently? You can track flights live and in 3-D, or watch an animation of global cloud cover over the last 10 days, or simply make Google Earth prettier using NASA images. Google Earth isn't limited to the current, you can also enable historical maps from the 1700s, and view an animation that will show you what will happen in the future to New York and San Francisco if the sea levels rise. Google Earth can also shed light on previous MeFi discussions, from the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (and, indeed many other ship wrecks) to the discussion over America's top 150 buildings, now in all of their 3-D glory.
Atlas Gloves: A DIY hand gesture interface for Google Earth.
How to Create an Aerial Panorama from Google Earth. The Digitally Distributed Environments blog, and others following their tutorial, have created Google Earth panoramas of Belgium, Moscow, Paris, New York, London and the Sydney Olympic Site. They also note Panogames, who use a similar process to create panoramas from videogame worlds. This follows their Frank Lloyd Wright architectural/videogame walkthrough demo using the Half Life 2 engine [mefi thread] following which they appear hard at work formalising a clear method for importing CAD models into Half Life 2 for architectural visualisations.
Google mislays Tibet. Tech news site The Register uses Google Earth to do a virtual flyover of
Tibet Tibet Autonomous Region. They see lots of neat stuff, including railways, bridges, and the (former) Northwest Nuclear Weapons Research & Design Academy. Among other things.
Samarra is in the news. The modern city is small, but built on the colossal ruins of the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. Google Earth reveals amazing details of the ancient city, one of the largest archaeological sites in the world.
The Mirror World...a virtual tour through Seattle, WA, augmented with clips from Google Earth/Maps. [note: Quicktime]
Use the free 7 day trial while it's available! This lil program lets you zoom in pretty darn close on just about any spot in the world. And it is FREAKING COOL. I don't have much better commentary than that, sorry. You can zoom around to your favorite locations, tilt the camera, show all road names, rotate views - and once you've got a bunch of stuff plugged in its really neat to just click between them and watch the flyby. I can't believe this isn't a double post, but couldn't find it on search. Have fun!
Earth Viewer compiles satellite imagery on the fly to produce a photo-realistic, spinnable, zoomable model of the entire Earth, right on your computer. And I mean zoomable -- one slider takes you smoothly from seeing the entire globe down to seeing individual people queuing to get into the Louvre...