Google Maps API ads layer now active

I’ve not seen an official annoucement yet, but this Google Groups post by Pamela Fox indicates that the ads layer has been released.

This layer will allow you to put AdSense inside of your Google Maps that you generate via the API.  The ads will be for things like hotels, with your placemarks all around in their normal locations.  Here is a sample of what an ad looks like:
Google Maps API ad

It’ll be interesting to see how this works out.  I’ll have to try it out on some sites of mine and see what it does.

The official answers to Google’s puzzle

Google has released the official answers to their little quiz from a few days ago, and we only missed one: “An historic state capitaol building is now in high res”.  We went with Frankfort, KY after Virtual Globetrotting made a smart observation that talked us out of the correct answer, which was Charleston, WV.

Google also released the full list of updated areas.  A cursory glance seems to indicate that they’ve pushed the update out to Google Maps as well, but I haven’t seen an official announcement.  The updated areas are:

New high resolution:

US: State of Vermont, State of Nevada, State of Colorado, Chenango County (NY), Oswego County (NY), Lancaster (PA), Montgomery County (MD), Prince George’s County (MD), Charleston (WV), Frankfort (KY), Leon County (FL), Volusia County (FL), Orlando (FL), Melbourne (FL), Ridgeland (MS), Tucson (AZ), Phoenix (AZ), Pierce County (WA), Walworth County (WI), Waukesha County (WI), Milwaukee (WI), Washington County (WI), Ozaukee County (WI), Puerto Rico &
US virgin Islands.

South America: Maracabio, Venezuela

France: French Riviera, Arles, Biaritz, Strasbourg, Grenoble, Angers, Amiens, Bourges, Clermont Ferrand, Loire River

Italy: 2.5m imagery for the entire country.

Germany: Aachen, Bielefeld, Braunschweig, Stralsund, Duisburg, Halle, Hannover, Herten, Itzehoe, Karlsruhe, Cologne , Norderstedt, Pinneberg, Quickborn, Recklinghausen, Rellingen, Schenefeld, Tornesch, Wentorf

Updated Imagery:
Americas: Regina, Canada; Saskatoon, Canada; Winnipeg, Canada; Ottawa, Canada; Quebec, Canada; Chemung County (NY, US); Cortland County (NY, US); Broward County (FL, US); Fairbanks (AK, US); Boise (ID, US); Colorado Springs (CO, US); Aquas Calientes, Mexico; Brasilia, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; San Salvador, El Salvador;
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Europe: Lisbon, Portugal; Madrid, Spain; Naples, Italy; Rome, Italy; Athens, Greece; Moscow, Russia; St Petersburg, Russia; Kazan, Russia; Saratov, Russia; Prague, Czech Republic

Middle East/Africa: Timbuktu, Mali; Cape Town, South Africa; Tunis, Tunisia; Tbilisi, Georgia; Mecca, Saudi Arabia;
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Alger, Algeria; Lusaka, Zambia; Nouakchott, Mauritania; Sana, Yemen; Tashkent, Uzbekistan;

Asia: Beijing, China; Shanghai, China; Mumbai, India; Pyungyang, North Korea

Oceania: Melbourne, Australia;

Updated Terrain:
Eastern US 10m, West Virginia 3m, Alaska 60m, New Zealand 10m
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KML support in Virtual Earth coming soon?

According to a post on geothought, Microsoft’s Virtual Earth will be supporting KML in September or October of this year.

The implications of this are huge, but it appears there isn’t a solid source on it yet.  The author (Peter Batty) heard it in a “vendor spotlight” presentation at the GeoWeb conference in Vancouver, but no other reporting on this has emerged yet.

If you’ve seen anything else to support this claim, please leave a comment and let us know.

Image and terrain update for Google Earth

A bunch of new image and terrain data has been added to Google Earth today. Rather than tell us exactly what’s been added, Google’s decided to tease us. Here is what they’re saying has been updated:

  • Two states known for their majestic peaks have gotten an upgrade.
    • Colorado (KML) and Nevada (KML)
  • I can now see where my favorite maple syrup is made.
    • Vermont (KML)
  • Certain Florida beaches (and 1 mountain) are looking much improved.
    • Possibly Ft. Lauderdale (KML). The “mountain” refers to Space Mountain at Disney World (KML)
  • Try counting the warthogs in the Boneyard.
    • “The Boneyard” is an aircraft storage facility in Tucson, AZ, next to Davis-Monthan AFB (KML)
  • Peek inside the home of the Brew Crew.
    • Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers, is shown with its retractable roof partially open, allowing a “peek inside” (KML)
  • You can read the Skin’s logo painted on their field.
    • FedEx field (and much of Washington DC) is improved (KML)
  • An historic state capitol building is now in high res.
    • Frankfort, Kentucky (KML)
  • This city was named after the Native American name of a nearby mountain, “Tacobet.”
    • Tacoma, WA (KML), with the mountain in question being Mt. Rainier (KML)
  • A “far away” city that played a key role in trans-Saharan trade can now be seen close up.
    • Tombouctou in Mali, Africa (KML)
  • The town where Jane Austen spent her final years is much clearer.
    • Winchester, Hampshire, UK (KML)
  • The topic of Vincent van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace at Night is now bright as day.
    • It was called Café Terrace, now known as Café van Gogh (KML)
  • Take a look at “la ville noir,” where Cointreau was invented.
    • Angers, France (KML)
  • Only a third of this country’s land is arable, but you can now view the entire country in high res.
  • From 1880 to 1884 this German city was home to the world’s tallest building.
    • Answer: The Cologne Cathedral (KML)
  • Rockets may be used to disrupt rain clouds over this city next summer.
    • Beijing, China — For the 2008 Summer Olympics (KML)
  • This country received an impressive terrain update, you might call it Lord of the Terrain.
    • New Zealand (KML)

They’ll be releasing full details in a few days, but they want their users (like you) to try to figure it out first. We’re not 100% sure about all of these, so let us know if you think any are wrong.

Also, people have been reporting other areas that appear to have been updated. So far those include:

  • Moscow and the Virgin Islands (via Google Earth Blog)
  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • Maracaibo, Venezuela
  • Bardejov in Slovakia
  • Slovak-Hungarian border south of Roznava
  • a long strip in northern Poland, from Jastrzebia Góra to Laskowice
  • Various areas in France (via Virtual Globetrotting)
  • Clermont-Ferrand, France
  • Strasbourg, France
  • Pembroke Pines, Florida
  • Sousse and El Jem, Tunisia
  • Padova (Italy), Chatham Island and Auckland Island
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • North Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland and large adjacent sea area
  • Lusaka, Zambia
  • Livingstone, Zambia
  • Scarborough, UK
  • Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  • All of England except for the Isles of Scilly
  • Areas in North Korea
  • Large portions on Melbourne, Australia
  • Shanghai and some parts of Hong Kong

If you know of others, leave a comment below and we’ll add it to the list!

(Digg this article!)

New version of Google Earth Enterprise

As reported on the Google LatLong blog, a new version of Google Earth Enterprise has been released.

Some of the enhancements include:

  • Browser integration with the Google Maps API AJAX architecture, allowing 2D map views to be embedded in any web-based application, so everyone in an organization benefits from the power of Google Earth Enterprise.
  • Performance enhancements amounting to as much as a 10x speedup for vector data processing and better than 2x reduction in server computation for responding to imagery requests.
  • New search framework for integrating geocoding and other search services via Java plug-ins including a Google Search Appliance reference implementation.
  • Regionator for creating Super-Overlays with Regions based KML and publishing them for viewing in any Google Earth client version (Free, Plus or Pro).
  • Security improvements and extended Operating System support including Red Hat Enterprise Server 4 and SUSE Linux 9 and 10.

They’ve also streamlined the interface and made a handful of other improvements.  Full details on the LatLong blog.

A few new tips on using the Virtual Earth API

A couple new API tips were posted today on some Virtual Earth related blogs.

First, the Virtual Earth / Live Maps Blog explains how to display their slick new hill shaded tiles using the VE API.  I’ve already mentioned how good looking I thought these tiles are, so it’s nice to see an easy way to use them in the API.

The other is an article from Via Virtual Earth about how to customize your own mini-map inside of the VE API.  While it’s not possible to really customize the default mini-map, the article explains how to create your own mini-map and customize it any way you want.  It’s a bit cumbersome, but the article explains it in a very detailed step-by-step manner.  Well worth the read if you’re developing any applications using VE.

An odd take on what Google Earth could do “in the Wrong Hands”

Courtesy of Google Blogoscoped, here’s a short video someone made about a fictional anniversary. It comes with the warning that “some viewers may find this video disturbing”. That warning is solely based on the storyline, as there isn’t any profanity or disturbing images.

It obviously stretches the truth in a number of places, but if nothing else, it’s a unique short story. Check it out.

3D Campus buildings are now in the default 3D layer

As reported by the Google Earth Blog, the winners of the “Build Your Campus in 3D” are now available in Google Earth.  Check them out in Google Earth, or watch the video that gives a brief tour of each campus.

Google’s “Build Your Campus in 3D” winners announced

As announced on the Google Lat Long blog, today Google revealed the winners of their “Build Your Campus in 3D Competition“. They are:

  • University of Minnesota – Department of Architecture
  • Purdue University – Departments of Computer Graphics Technology and Education
  • Concordia University, Loyola Campus – Department of Civil Engineering
  • Stanford University – Department of Architectural Design
  • Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) – Departments of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering – Department of Engineering
  • Dartmouth College – Departments of Computer Science and Digital Art

The winners get to fly out to Mountain View in August for a 3-day visit and workshop.  Fun prize!

Even better, Google says that nearly 4,000 buildings were modeled and submitted for this contest.   That will certainly give their 3D content a boost when all of that is pushed into Google Earth.

Niagara Falls

The Virtual Earth / Live Maps blog just pointed out how great Niagara Falls looks in Virtual Earth. I have to admit, it’s quite stunning. I thought I’d go a step further and compare it to the same shot in Google Earth.

As you’ll see, there is no comparison. I have to imagine that Microsoft has done a bit of hand-tweaking to make the falls look so good, while Google obviously has not. If they wanted, Microsoft could tweak little areas all over the world to create fake examples of how much better their product is. That being said, this isn’t even close. Virtual Earths imagery looks better, the altitude mesh is much more precise, and they have 3D buildings all around the area.

Here are the two programs side by side (click thumbnails for full-size images):

Niagara Falls in Virtual Earth
(view in VE)
Niagara Falls in Virtual Earth
Niagara Falls in Google Earth
(view in GE)
Niagara Falls in Google Earth