Google Maps – Click and Drag Directions

This is really cool. Once you’ve created directions in Google Maps (via a new click interface), you can drag various parts of your route. Check out the video below for a brief demonstration:

More details can be found at the Google LatLong blog.

Google Earth Sky

James Stafford (aka “Barnabu” at the Google Earth Community) has created a cool way to show a realistic sky in Google Earth.  He’s written about it in his blog, and Frank Taylor at the Google Earth Blog has two posts about it as well.

Update to the Google Earth 3D Buildings layer

huge_building.jpgGoogle has just pushed out their June update to the 3D buildings layer. Some cities with updates include Chicago, Christchurch (New Zealand), Karachi, Rome, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Moscow.

In addition, there is a big bug in this update. There is a building in western Turkey that looks like a normal house but is about 11 miles wide! You can view it here, but hurry — Google will likely fix it soon.

Google Earth Blog has the rest of the details about this update.

Cool new real-time lightning animation for GE

GuiWeather has just released a network link that shows current lightning strikes (well, within a few minutes old) around the world, in the form a slick 30 minute time-animated network link.

Google Earth Blog has the details.

Complete 3D model of Rome, circa 320 A.D.

This is both amazingly cool and horribly frustrating.  The Institute for the Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia has built a complete 3D model of the city of Rome as it was in 320 A.D.  “Rome Reborn”, as it’s called, is astoundingly sharp and consists of billions of data points.  FTA:

“To create the digital model, researchers scanned a 3,000 square foot, 1/250 plaster model of the city – the “Plastico di Roma Antica” – which was completed in the 1970s. Because of the model’s intricacy – the Plastico’s Coliseum is only 8 inches tall — Italian engineers used laser radar originally designed to measure precise tolerances on jet parts to scan within a tenth of a millimeter. Each 6-by-6 section contained 60 million data points.”

As of now it has only been licensed to a tour company in Rome, but they’re in talks with Second Life to bring it there.  We can only hope that it might find its way into Google Earth or one of the other digital globes one day as well.

Turning books into maps

Google Earth Blog has a write-up describing a technology that Google is working on to scan books, dig out the location information, then plot it in Google Earth. From there, you’ll be able to browse the locations from a book, or click a location and view the page where it was mentioned. Very cool!

Problems with World Wind servers

Daniel Baker of Bull’s Rambles reports a growing problem with NASA’s World Wind servers.

As he says, the problem “seems to be getting worse”, but NASA is aware of the issue and they’re working hard to resolve it. In the meantime, you’re advised to set up a large cache and simply be patient.

Some Virtual Earth drawing tools

Johannes Kebeck, Technology Specialist for Virtual Earth, has just released some drawing tools to make it easier to add lines and shapes inside of VE. You can find them here.

It’s shame that something as simple as drawing basic shapes in still such a chore in VE — even this solution requires a bunch of code. Google Earth has them beat badly on this front, but they continue to make progress.

Update 6/14/07: These drawing tools were already in VE – they were just hard to find.  You have to “add pushpin”, and then change it to a poly.   This is simply UI tools for drawing for the dev community.

Google Earth Hacks launches GEfootball

Google Earth Hacks has just posted Google Earth Football, a simple football game played inside of Google Earth.

Google Maps now has all of the new imagery from Google Earth

The June 2nd imagery update for Google Earth is now available in Google Maps, including most of England as well as various other places around the world.

Google Earth blog has the details.