People of Earth
June 28, 2005 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Google Earth is out. And it's free! It's only for Windows (at least, for now) and it allows you to traverse the Earth using satellite imagery.
posted by bbrown (86 comments total)
 
Google Blog has more information.
posted by bbrown at 9:38 AM on June 28, 2005


When will Google Angelina Jolie be out?
posted by keswick at 9:40 AM on June 28, 2005


I saw a talk by the president of Google recently... apparently the Keyhole guys who originally created this technology were in Australia (New Zealand? Memory fuzzy) solely because the girlfriend of one of them couldn't get a visa to work in the US.

That man can talk. Google does a great job of public image. And free goodies like this don't hurt either.
posted by gurple at 9:47 AM on June 28, 2005


Google sometimes seems like a company run by people who love just coming up with neat ideas, with not so much worry or care about how they'll make money off it.
posted by dial-tone at 9:53 AM on June 28, 2005


NASA's similar product might be of interest as well.
posted by YurikoKinje at 9:54 AM on June 28, 2005


Google needs to put out some more Mac-compatible, cross-platform shit. It's been Windows, Windows Windows lately, and I might be biased but that takes away from the universal charm of online Google features that anyone can use.

Google Accelerator? Not so cool.
posted by inksyndicate at 9:54 AM on June 28, 2005


I like the download button,

"I'm good. Download googlearth.exe"

I'll wait for the Linux version. Hopefully it should be

"I'm pure evil. Download googleearth_installer"
posted by nervousfritz at 9:56 AM on June 28, 2005


What is the file size of the download? I went on to 5Mb and it kept going...
posted by webmeta at 10:01 AM on June 28, 2005


10.0 MB (10,562,512 bytes)
posted by punishinglemur at 10:06 AM on June 28, 2005


Google needs to put out some more Mac-compatible, cross-platform shit.

I agree, however, it's not like they are losing a significant chunk of their visitors by not developing one. Between Apple's laptop and desktop market share, they only hold about 3-4% of the total market.
posted by shawnj at 10:07 AM on June 28, 2005


Pretty damn impressive.


webmeta: Mine shows 1KB so I suspect it runs the installer over the intarwebs. I didn't pay too much attention due to my GoogleBoner.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:07 AM on June 28, 2005


They've promised a Mac version. Chill.
posted by mcwetboy at 10:09 AM on June 28, 2005


webmeta writes "What is the file size of the download?"

10.0 MB
posted by Bugbread at 10:11 AM on June 28, 2005


Oops.
posted by Bugbread at 10:11 AM on June 28, 2005


bbrown posted "it allows you to traverse the Earth using satellite imagery."

Only very technically true. It allows you to traverse the world using satellite imagery, but when you zoom in it's almost all, if not entirely, aerial photography. Still nice, of course, but it was hell trying to find my last apartment in this image. (I'm pretty sure it's in there somewhere, but the crazy Lovecraftian angles started to make me slightly nauseus after trying to figure out the bizarre topography after a few minutes, and I gave up on it)
posted by Bugbread at 10:20 AM on June 28, 2005


Cool. It's like your very own Powers of 10.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:28 AM on June 28, 2005


This is incredible, and much better than the original Keyhole. Try turning on 3-D buildings for a really impressive experience if you have a fast video card.
posted by blahblahblah at 10:42 AM on June 28, 2005


why is it that the US Capitol seems to be a terrorist target, and not say, the Eiffel Tower or Jefferson Memorial (second link in the story)
posted by MrLint at 10:47 AM on June 28, 2005


shawnj, that's market share of annual sales not share of installed base.
posted by effwerd at 10:47 AM on June 28, 2005


Yeah, Google needs to do more support OS X. For a company with so much geek cred, their OS X support is pathetic. Basically, they're contributing to (and supporting) the Microsoft status quo.

Oh well. iPhoto eats Picasa for lunch. And Spotlight owns GDS.
posted by keswick at 10:49 AM on June 28, 2005


This is just fucking amazing. I can't think of a single use I'd have for it, but it looks incredible.
posted by ColdChef at 11:00 AM on June 28, 2005


That's very cool. I've been thinking that WorldWind mixed with Google's mapping data would be a good idea. Good to see that they're thinking that too.

I'm almost ready to drop $20 on the version that lets me overlay my GPS tracks. But I won't do it until there's a Linux version. When there is, i'd pay $100. Are you listening, Google?
posted by Snowflake at 11:01 AM on June 28, 2005


it's almost all, if not entirely, aerial photography

I believe the high-resolution imagery is from DigitalGlobe, captured by their Quickbird satellite (with 0.6-0.7m ground resolution).
posted by Elpoca at 11:08 AM on June 28, 2005


shawnj, that's market share of annual sales not share of installed base.

That's correct. However, Google's own numbers reflect that only 3-6% of their visitors use a Mac OS. Granted, those numbers are about 9 months old, but it's hard to imagine a drastic increase over that time.
posted by shawnj at 11:17 AM on June 28, 2005


Reminds me so much of the earth application from Snow Crash.
posted by Plinko at 11:25 AM on June 28, 2005


Elpoca writes "I believe the high-resolution imagery is from DigitalGlobe, captured by their Quickbird satellite"

You're apparently mostly right. Some of the high-res stuff is helicopter photography (easily identified by the strong perspective), but it looks like they've moved mostly to DigitalGlobe, which is good (Keyhole had a lot more aerial stuff, and the places I checked first in EarthGoogle were also aerial, so I incorrectly assumed that they hadn't changed much)
posted by Bugbread at 11:29 AM on June 28, 2005


Really crappy software with win2003 server. Died every couple of minutes and would refuse to restart most of the time. Uninstaller is non functional.
posted by arse_hat at 11:39 AM on June 28, 2005


I already paid for Keyhole, can I transfer that account to Google Earth Plus? I would really like to have the ability to use GPS information. Does anyone know if this question is already answered? I mean, a lot of people (like me) plopped down the money to get Keyhole when it was bought by google, and now I'm a little miffed that my one year subscription has been made obsolete by google's offering of a free version.
posted by Sir Mildred Pierce at 12:03 PM on June 28, 2005


In some of New York, at least, New York GIS is credited as the source. The Google Earth interface is much more efficient for browsing those data than the State of New York website, from which I was laboriously grabbing images just two days ago.
posted by Zurishaddai at 12:04 PM on June 28, 2005


The important thing to consider from Google's (and any software vendor's) perspective is how willing are Mac users to pay for the app compared to Windows users. I've always found Mac users much more willing to cough up dough for shareware and under-$100 software. Unless work was paying for it, no Windows-only user I know has ever paid for shareware. I know they're out there, but I just haven't encountered them.
posted by bbrown at 12:09 PM on June 28, 2005


Zurishaddai

everything about any NYS website is tedious, having dealt the the morons in management at the DOH, this is of no surprise. Everything is jammed into lotus notes and the web front end sucks. You cant even easily find the damned laws of NYS.
posted by MrLint at 12:10 PM on June 28, 2005


What suprised me most about Google Earth was how different it isn't from maps.google.com.
posted by b1tr0t at 12:15 PM on June 28, 2005


ColdChef sez: I can't think of a single use I'd have for it, but it looks incredible.

I'll tell you what I am going to do. My daughter and I are going to sit down tonight and browse the earth. We'll take a look at the recommended sites, see if we can find Grandma and Grandpa's houses, look up Disneyland, and in general do exactly what I used to do when I was a kid and I had a globe and an atlas, only more gooder^100!!!
posted by hurkle at 12:23 PM on June 28, 2005


With Google Earth, one primary thing you get over maps.google.com is its global coverage (compared to just the North American continent and the UK in maps.google.com), as well as the zoominess you get in Google Earth zooming from one location to another. There is no zooming about with maps.google.com.

Other cool features you may not have noticed in Google Earth:
- Angle views and 3D maps data
- Saving you own bookmarks
- Did I mention the zoominess?
posted by kalessin at 12:24 PM on June 28, 2005


I was a productive employee until I downloaded Google Earth.
posted by palinode at 12:45 PM on June 28, 2005


Damn you, Google! This is costing me my entire day.
posted by muckster at 12:45 PM on June 28, 2005


This is the coolest thing since...well, since Google Maps. Please, please get the Mac port out soon.
posted by fungible at 1:02 PM on June 28, 2005


kalessin, they added a lot of the rest of the world to maps.google.com the other day. Only in satellite view, so you can only navigate by towns and sight, but still there. Try searching for Paris, France.
posted by smackfu at 1:07 PM on June 28, 2005


What I want to know is how to make my own .kmz files so that I can point people to a specific location in Google Earth from, say, my blog.

It's amazingly nifty.
posted by paperpete at 1:08 PM on June 28, 2005


I can see my house from here!
posted by sharpener at 1:12 PM on June 28, 2005


My house, in the midst of Newark, NJ, is in there. IN 3D. THEY EVEN GOT THE STAIRWELL!

*CRAPS SELF*
posted by Mach5 at 1:14 PM on June 28, 2005


ooooh, thanks YurikoKinje - I didn't know about Worldwind....

ooooh, and it's in .NET, aaaahhhh - firing up Loetz Roeders' Reflector in 5-4-3-2-1...
posted by jkaczor at 1:19 PM on June 28, 2005


Awe shucks - who needs Reflector when Worldwind is open source anyways. Nice, I've been looking for some nifty GIS samples - now I hope my graphics card will keep up.
posted by jkaczor at 1:25 PM on June 28, 2005


wow. I've already spent a few hours playing with keyhole at work. now I get to spend some more at home. thanks.
posted by Busithoth at 1:51 PM on June 28, 2005


I don't appear to have a supported computer. Anyone else have this problem?
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 2:12 PM on June 28, 2005


Massachusetts is at quite high resolution. The cars in the parking lots are huge, and look like cars.
posted by smackfu at 2:32 PM on June 28, 2005


(nice call on the international maps.google.com bit, smackfu; thanks!)
posted by hackly_fracture at 2:41 PM on June 28, 2005


What I want to know is how to make my own .kmz files so that I can point people to a specific location in Google Earth from, say, my blog.

Go to the location, klick the envelope icon and email a kmz to yourself.
posted by mr.marx at 2:51 PM on June 28, 2005


Okay, the international satellite photos on maps.google.com are pretty damned skippy, but did I mention the zoominess in Google Earth/Keyhole? :>
posted by kalessin at 2:54 PM on June 28, 2005


Where is the data stored on your computer? Or am I missing something? I don't see my Google Earth Plus directory growing...
posted by loquax at 3:50 PM on June 28, 2005


What's this in the release notes about "draw polygons?" Or "save movie as sequence of images?"

MOVIES?!!!!
posted by billb at 4:05 PM on June 28, 2005


Never mind me, Application Data/Google/cache.dat. I'm only at 22mb of a max of 512mb and I've been playing quite a while.
posted by loquax at 4:10 PM on June 28, 2005


kalessin - With Google Earth, one primary thing you get over maps.google.com is its global coverage (compared to just the North American continent and the UK in maps.google.com)

This is not correct. Google Maps now has many other cities around the world. I could zoom into all the capitals of Australia (except Darwin, and strangely enough, the Sydney CBD), also Tokyo, Yokohama, Paris, parts of Auckland and heaps of others.
posted by Jase_B at 5:08 PM on June 28, 2005


With Google Earth, one primary thing you get over maps.google.com is its global coverage (compared to just the North American continent and the UK in maps.google.com),

As Jase_B said, false.

The Acropolis
The Duomo
Mt. Everest
Eiffel Tower
New Delhi
Fallujah
Lhasa, Tibet
Kathmandu
Great Pyramids
etc., etc.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:19 PM on June 28, 2005


Wow, this is a marvel. I don't think the Internets will ever replace books but I could definitely see future generations of this application displacing atlases. I love the way I can spin it every direction (thus avoiding the fallacy that north equals up) and also how I can see the wonderful connectedness of places on this planet of ours.
posted by Staggering Jack at 6:22 PM on June 28, 2005


This is kinda fun...
Machu Picchu
The Forbidden City
Versailles
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:39 PM on June 28, 2005


Yep, there's my house. Heaps better than WorldWind.
posted by spazzm at 6:40 PM on June 28, 2005


And you get the longitude and latitude at the cursor position as well - finally a convenient way of targeting my cruise missiles.
posted by spazzm at 6:47 PM on June 28, 2005


Massachusetts is at quite high resolution.

Damn right — you can count the people in the tour group in front of Widener Library (and tell which two are wearing red). I found it browsing and then saw there's a BBS tag on it: http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Board=EarthTourism&Number=10290.
posted by Zurishaddai at 6:52 PM on June 28, 2005


This is the coolest thing ever. Thanks for this post.

You can get better resolution on views of North Korea than Saudi Arabia. For what it's worth.

and why would they call it 'Makkah' instead of Mecca? I mean, come on, who's gonna know to type that in?
posted by ibmcginty at 6:56 PM on June 28, 2005


I haven't downloaded it yet - could someone please tell me if this is any different from keyhole or am I just wasting my time?

And why the hell don't you people know about keyhole?
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:01 PM on June 28, 2005


Just decided to check out San Fran, and the Golden Gate Bridge... it's not so cool, from directly above, it turns out.
posted by ibmcginty at 7:19 PM on June 28, 2005


Massachusetts update: The resolution is (comparatively) crap at most other locations, including the very heart of Boston (the Ritz Carlton across from the Public Garden, not to mention Shawmut south of Herald). Somehow the data for at/near the Harvard campus must have been submitted in extra-super detail (with 3D information of some kind, it seems).

Likewise, say, Mt. Greylock has better imagery than the generic "garish green glow" across the border into N.Y. or Vt., but nothing like the eye-popping Harvard shot (which doesn't credit any source beyond the EOEA).
posted by Zurishaddai at 7:26 PM on June 28, 2005


and why would they call it 'Makkah' instead of Mecca?

I just looked up Norway, and they've merged two cities into one, concatenating the names and placing the location marker between the two cities. Non-USA railroads aren't very accurately drawn. Lots of names are misspelled.

Nobody's perfect.
posted by spazzm at 7:28 PM on June 28, 2005


My old apartment in Cambridge, MA is at similarly high resolution. I can actually see the garden rake on the front porch. It is actually kind of freaky.

As for Makkah, the names of the places are the local spelling - Jerusalem is Yerushalayim, and Alexandria is something like Al-iskandriyah.
posted by blahblahblah at 7:35 PM on June 28, 2005


Some clarification from this cached keyhole thread: "As far as I know, [Cambridge]'s the only place in 3-inch on the Primary database."

I noticed pretty nice resolution (count the stripes in the crosswalk) at Saratoga Springs & am very curious to discover any list of the highest-resolution images in Google Earth. Any clues, anyone?
posted by Zurishaddai at 7:37 PM on June 28, 2005


The Cambridge stuff is a year or two old - take a look at the Stata Center, a Frank Gehry building, when it was still under construction at MIT - 42.21.40 N, 71.05.21 W, or just look at 32 Vassar Street in Cambridge, MA,
posted by blahblahblah at 7:51 PM on June 28, 2005


Holy mother of god...
my neighbor's car is in the driveway!

This is just too neat!
posted by Kellydamnit at 8:10 PM on June 28, 2005


Well, shit; I guess I better clean out the gutters.

On a slightly-less facetious level: somewhere, there has to be someone who saw this coming and spelled out "Fuck You, Google!" in paint or dark stones on their roof. If not, there should be.
posted by yhbc at 8:32 PM on June 28, 2005


Baby_Balrog : "I haven't downloaded it yet - could someone please tell me if this is any different from keyhole or am I just wasting my time?

And why the hell don't you people know about keyhole?"


It's very very very similar, but a little better. Images seem roughly the same, but:
1) The interface has been cleaned up quite a bit, and
2) Some cities have their primary buildings mapped out as three dimensional polygonal shapes (if you turn on that option), so you can tilt the camera angle down and see down town as it really looks.

yhbc : "somewhere, there has to be someone who saw this coming and spelled out 'Fuck You, Google!' in paint or dark stones on their roof. If not, there should be."

The images are all a bit too old for that: they're using the same images as Keyhole (for the most part if not entirely), and of course when Keyhole came out it was both unknown and not related to Google yet.
posted by Bugbread at 8:44 PM on June 28, 2005


KevinSkomsvold: "GoogleBoner." Gold.
posted by shoepal at 9:23 PM on June 28, 2005


Flying around NYC in 3D building mode is frigintastic and highly suggested. Let it cache the buildings a bit, and then give the mouse a tug and cruise across.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 9:48 PM on June 28, 2005


Hey, there's a big white van in my driveway. No, really.
posted by obvious at 9:52 PM on June 28, 2005


That's it, I'm buyin' a freakin' PC.
posted by CrunchyGods at 11:10 PM on June 28, 2005


wow, google has a lot of bandwidth, 1mb/sec download!
posted by Grod at 11:30 PM on June 28, 2005


I like it!
posted by ArunK at 12:07 AM on June 29, 2005


:: pokes at WINE ::
I will not go back to windows, I will not go back to windows....

If any linux users get this thing working under WINE I'd be curious to know.
Satyagraha
posted by thebestsophist at 1:32 AM on June 29, 2005


bugbread: Heh. Tokyo pretty much made me feel like that picture the whole time I was there.
posted by deafmute at 1:40 AM on June 29, 2005


Nobody is doing any work anywhere in the world today!
Nobody that counts ; )
posted by asok at 4:01 AM on June 29, 2005


Ok, so where can I import an Excel spreadsheet, geocode my data, and set up individual point markers for analytical purposes. When that happens, I'm all over this.

One of the big problems with Google's Maps and Earth softwares is that their geocoding of street addresses isn't very good. When you deal with data from companies such as ESRI, you get pinpoint data, albeit at a huge chunk of cash.

Google uses a combination of data from TeleAtlas and NAVTEQ, it looks like. And I'm not sure which is misleading addresses, but when I turn on feature points such as restaurants, etc., it places them in all the wrong places. Never mind the problems I have had getting incorrect directions from Google Maps in the past.
posted by benjh at 4:46 AM on June 29, 2005


I'm currently excited-by-proxy in the way that only 3-6% of google's visitors can understand. The pathetic thing is that, really, I am excited.
posted by blindsam at 5:57 AM on June 29, 2005


oh and Civil_Disobedient: you're great.
posted by blindsam at 5:58 AM on June 29, 2005


I actually have a use for this, as I'm working on a masterplan for a ski resort here in Chile and the 3d views are more than amazing.
Keyhole was good, but this is just awesome.
posted by signal at 6:19 AM on June 29, 2005


I was cruising around Saudi Arabia at 40000 ft last night, very very cool. Even the middle of the Rub al Khali is in decent resolution at that altitude.

If there is a way to switch to meters instead of feet, or to make the long/lat decimal (24.5 instead of 24°30'), I couldn't find it. Anyone have better luck?
posted by gubo at 7:43 AM on June 29, 2005


Based on the "layers" option, which already includes some interesting data (crime stats, school districts, etc) it seems that there are a lot of very cool ways to extend this product by overlaying user-created datasets. Imagine going shopping for a home with the zoomy feature and peeling off overlays about air quality, sunny days (it matters in San Francisco), etc etc etc. The real value isn't the zoom, it's the reasonably open architecture.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 8:00 AM on June 29, 2005


gubo:
Tools/Options/View tab.
Uncheck "Show elevation in feet/miles
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:16 AM on June 29, 2005


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