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]
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)
"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]
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).
Googlelittrips is a website that utilizes Google Earth to show readers the important locations in books they are reading. [more inside]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!