54 new countries added to Google Maps

As posted on the Google LatLong blog, 54 new countries have been added to Google Maps.  They vary in their level of detail, but they’ve got much more coming.  In the coming months, they’ll be “working tirelessly to add more detail to the existing countries in Google Maps” and “adding new countries to the list“.

This update includes:

Afghanistan, Aruba, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Bermuda, Brunei Darussalam, Bhutan, Bolivia, Cambodia, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Mongolia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Timor-Leste, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen

Neat way to waste some time with Google Maps

Here is an interesting take on the idea behind sites like Google Earthing.  This one is called PlaceSpotting.  It shows you a zoomed in map via Google Maps and you have to figure out where it is.  A few cool things they’ve done, though:

  • You solve it by adjusting a world map (zooming, panning, etc) until it matches the clue, not just leaving a comment with your answer
  • You’re given up to four clues for each one.
  • You’re told the zoom level you need to be at.  To solve it, you only need to get the lat/lon “close”.
  • Best of all, you can create your own!

I know there are a lot of different games out there for the various digital earth products, but I couldn’t begin to summarize them all.  Instead, leave us a comment to show off some your favorites!

EPA chooses Virtual Earth

The Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S.  has a large number of geospacial apps for things such as oil spills, beach water quality, etc.

Today they announced that they’ll be using Virtual Earth as the platform for these applications.  The reasons for choosing Virtual Earth over Google Earth weren’t clear, but two things stuck out:

  1. “Virtual Earth is the only existing platform that offers developers and end users the ability to work with and view satellite, aerial, oblique and 3-D imagery of the Earth.” – Is the Bird’s Eye view that important for something like this?
  2. “Before we selected Microsoft’s Web-based Virtual Earth, the EPA relied on more expensive and cumbersome desktop applications” — That almost sounds like a shot at Google Earth, but I don’t think it is.

I’m still not sure why they chose VE over GE, but it seems that for this type of application either platform would do the job.  It might just be a matter of preference, rather than a specific need that was filled, but I’d be curious to know for sure.

Updates to Google Moon

Google MoonAs reported in the Google Lat-Long blog, a new version of Google Moon has been released.  Included is text search, higher-res imagery, and stories and photos from every Apollo landing.

They even included a few Street Viewish images of the moon’s surface (taken by the Apollo astronauts) and some scientific charts.

It’s a nice update.  Check it out!