StreetView coming to Google Earth within a few weeks

According to Rafe Needleman of Webware, StreetView will be available inside of Google Earth “within a few weeks”. Rafe quotes an unnamed source with that info. He states that it’s not clear if this will be a public release or an internal testing release.

If done smoothly, this could be very slick. It’ll be interesting to see how Google implements it. I found one odd statement in his post, though. He states:

Google’s aerial images are seamlessly integrated into Google Earth already, in contrast to Microsoft’s Live Search Maps, which forces the user to turn on the “Bird’s-Eye” mode to see aircraft imagery.

What? Either he’s never used Virtual Earth (Live Maps, etc), he’s confused, or I’m mis-reading his statement. Still, it sounds way off-base. Bird’s Eye imagery is in addition to the “aircraft imagery” (which I assume means “satellite imagery”), and it’s a neat option to have. For just viewing normal, flat imagery, Google Earth works essentially the same as Virtual Earth.

Anyhow, this StreetView news is pretty cool. It’s been a long time coming, so I’m hoping it’s integrated in a creative and useful manner.

Some background on how Virtual Earth creates 3D buildings

The Virtual Earth 3D blog has a post today that explains in detail how they create each 3D city.  From the article:

Microsoft’s acquisition of Vexcel Corporation, a 20-year old provider of remote sensing solutions, provided the Virtual Earth team with a broad background in photogrammetry, geospatial data production, and digital elevation model (DEM) generation and refinement.  The models and their texturing are generated from aerial imagery generally captured at a 15 cm ground sample distance (GSD) by planes flying at roughly 5,500 feet over the target city and capturing a minimum of 5 views for each building (top and 4 sides). Since the Vexcel acquisition, this aerial imagery is increasingly being captured using the Vexcel UltraCAM series of high-resolution digital cameras, providing Virtual Earth’s 3D display with sub-meter accuracy.

Along with being able to generate massive numbers of models per city, they’re also able to load quickly for each user.  In fact, this is one of my favorite things about Virtual Earth.  They’ll load 3D models very quickly and very low-res, then slowly sharpen them up as you zoom in on them.

Google Earth, on the other hand, can only load full-res models.  Google’s models tend to look a little better than the ones in Virtual Earth, but the quantity and load time make VE’s cities look much better.

The full article goes into much more detail, and it’s well worth reading.

StreetView adds 13 new cities and a national park

Yosemite National Park in StreetViewTo go along with adding StreetView to the Google Maps API today, Google has just added data for 13 new cities and Yosemite National Park.

The 13 new cities are:

  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Anchorage, AK
  • Austin, TX
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Fairbanks, AK
  • Little Rock, AR
  • Madison, WI
  • Nashville, TN
  • Rockford, IL
  • Richmond, VA
  • Spokane, WA
  • St. Petersburg, FL
  • Tampa, FL

I wonder why they still don’t have Atlanta in there?  It’s the one city I really want to see, and it’s probably the largest city still not covered.

(via gearthblog)

StreetView now included in the Google Maps API

Google has just announced that they have added StreetView to the Google Maps API!  It sounds like there are some neat things that can be done with it, and I’m anxious to give it a try.

The post at the Google Maps API Blog has much more information — go check it out.  If you make a cool mash-up using the new tools, feel free to share it in the comments section of this post.

Hybrid view coming to Virtual Earth’s Bird’s Eye imagery

Turner Field in Bird’s Eye viewOn April 10, Microsoft plans to release Virtual Earth version 6.1.  Among the enhancements:

  • Enhanced experiences with bird’s eye view in 3D, and new bird’s eye hybrid view.
  • Reverse geocoding for U.S. users.
  • Walking directions for North America and European Union users.
  • Traffic-based driving directions.
  • New cross-browser support.
  • Improved printing support for maps.

That’s quite a bit of good stuff.  While I’ve always been impressed with the rate of imagery added to Virtual Earth, I’ve felt that they’ve been behind Google Earth/Maps in terms of features.  Improvements like this are helping them to narrow that gap.  Many of these are things that Google Maps can already do (cross-browser support, traffic-based directions, etc), but it’s nice to see them continue to catch up.

Bird’s Eye imagery has always been a unique feature that they have, so adding hybrid support to that will be neat to see.

WorldWind finally gets road data… sort of

Philadelphia in WorldWind using OpenStreetMapOne of the problems with NASA WorldWind is that it uses public domain data, and most road data isn’t public domain.  Therefore, there really isn’t any road data in the application, which makes it far less usable.

However, OpenStreetMap data is public domain, and now you get get that data into WorldWind.   It takes a few steps to get it loaded, but Earth Is Square has the details.  Hopefully they can incorporate this data into a future release of the product so that more people can take advantage of it.

March Imagery update for Virtual Earth

As always, it’s a huge update.  This one totals over 42 TB!

There was no new 3D data added, but a lot of ortho and a TON of new Bird’s Eye imagery.  Here is the full list, or you can just go view it right now.

Orthos

USA

  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Denver, CO
  • Phoenix DT, AZ
  • San Luis Obispo, CA

Austria/Switzerland Orthos:

  • Vienna, Austria
  • Bern, Switzerland
  • Basel, Switzerland
  • Innsbruck, Austria
  • Salzburg, Austria
  • Klagenfurt, Austria
  • Zurich, Switzerland
  • Geneva, Switzerland

United Kingdom

  • Norwich
  • Ipswich
  • Cambridge
  • Hereford
  • Ludlow/Diddlebury Region
  • South Coventry
  • Bury St. Edmonds

India

  • Mysore, India
  • Ranchi, India
  • Mangalore, India
  • Lucknow, India
  • Guwahati, India
  • Amritsar, India
  • Surat, India
  • Taj Mahal, India
  • Jamshedpur, India
  • Koshikode, India

China

  • Fuzhou, China
  • Baotou, China
  • Macao, China
  • Wuhu, China
  • Xuxhou, China
  • Taipei, China

Obliques (Bird’s Eye)

North America

  • Pickens Co, AL
  • Cullman Co, AL
  • Blount Co, AL
  • Sebastian Co, AR
  • Jefferson Co, CO
  • Hendry Co, FL
  • Milton Metro, FL
  • Orange Co, FL
  • Atlanta Metro, GA
  • McHenry Co, IL
  • Peoria Co, IL
  • McLean Co, IL
  • Du Page Co, IL
  • Belleville Metro, IL
  • Monroe Co, IN
  • Scott Co, IA
  • Polk Co, IA
  • Linn Co, IA
  • Saginaw Co, MI
  • Washington Co, MN
  • Dodge Co, MN
  • Clarke Co, MS
  • Holmes Co, MS
  • Issequena Co, MS
  • Montgommery Co, MS
  • Yazoo Co, MS
  • Washington Co, MS
  • Humphrey’s Co, MS
  • Leflore Co, MS
  • Sharkey Co, MS
  • Sunflower Co, MS
  • Tippah Co, MS
  • Union Co, MS
  • Madison Co, MS
  • Pontotoc Co, MS
  • Perry Co, MS
  • Calhoun Co, MS
  • Desoto Co, MS
  • Chickasaw Co, MS
  • Lafayette Co, MS
  • Copiah Co, MS
  • Franklin Co, MS
  • Warren Co, MS
  • Simpson Co, MS
  • Pike Co, MS
  • Marion Co, MS
  • Lincoln Co, MS
  • Smith Co, MS
  • Lawrence Co, MS
  • Jefferson Co, MS
  • Jefferson Davis Co, MS
  • Wilkinson Co, MS
  • Grenada Co, MS
  • Jasper Co, MS
  • Carroll Co, MS
  • Lauderdale Co, MS
  • Walthall Co, MS
  • Tishomingo Co, MS
  • Claiborne Co, MS
  • Quitman Co, MS
  • Panola Co, MS
  • Scott Co, MS
  • Adams Co, MS
  • McKinley Co, NM
  • Sullivan Co, NY
  • Steuben Co, NY (FILL)
  • Binghamton Metro, NY
  • Mahoning Co, OH
  • Madison Co, OH
  • Pickaway Co, OH
  • Delaware Co, OH
  • Lane Co, OR
  • Lehigh Co, PA
  • York Co, SC
  • Beaufort Co, SC
  • Knoxville Metro, TN
  • Gibson Metro, TN
  • Stephenville Metro, TX
  • Taylor Co, TX
  • Orange Co, TX
  • Erath Co, TX
  • Fort Bend, TX
  • Coryell Co, TX
  • Hidalgo Co, TX
  • Manassas Co, VA
  • Chesterfield Co, VA
  • LaCrosse Co, WI

Europe

  • Graz, Austria
  • London, UK
  • Wigan, UK
  • Cheddar, UK
  • Harlow/Sawbridgeworth, UK
  • Lille Tourcoing Roubaix Villeneuve d’Ascq, France
  • Charleville, France
  • Amiens, France
  • Civitavecchia, Italy
  • Agrigento, Italy
  • Novara, Italy (update)
  • Verona, Italy (update)
  • Almada, Portugal
  • Kristiansand, Norway
  • Vaasa, Finland
  • Arona, Spain
  • Detmold, Germany
  • Gütersloch, Germany
  • Nordhorn, Germany
  • Ruhrgebiet Region, Germany (partial)
  • Koblenz & Neuwied, Germany
  • Gummersbach, Germany
  • Paderborn, Germany
  • Limerick, Ireland
  • Carlow, Ireland
  • Wexford, Ireland
  • Navan, Ireland
  • Cork, Ireland
  • Tilburg, Netherlands
  • Helmond, Netherlands

Was your area updated?  Go check it out!

Techdirt suggests Google Maps should become even more wiki-like

About a week ago, Google started allowing users to add/edit/delete items from the map.  It’s a neat idea with a lot of great potential, but opens up the possibility of vandalism.  Timothy Lee of Techdirt has a great suggestion on how to help address the problem:

…as far as I can tell, there’s no way to see all of the markers in a particular small section of the map (say the block where I live). There also doesn’t appear to be any easy way to automatically monitor changes within a certain radius of a particular location. These features (analogous to Wikipedia’s watchlist feature) would make it a lot easier for public-spirited Google Maps users to keep tabs on map changes and quickly revert vandalism. I’d personally be happy to help police edits in the area around my apartment, but there’s currently no easy way for me to do that.

I think it’s a superb idea.  Like him, I’d be happy to watch my local area and check for bad edits, as I’m sure many other people would be happy to do.

See user-created contentThey’re quite close to having this feature already, but it’s not quite there yet.  If you click on the “See user-created content” link after performing a search, you can see all user-created items for that search phrase in your area.  However, there is no way to search for ALL user-created items in an area, or way to narrow those items down by date.  I think a simple process would work:

  • Let me define an area — a simple bounding box would work.
  • Give me an RSS feed for changes/additions/deletions in that area.
  • I’d drop that RSS feed into Google Reader and always know about changes to locations near me.

It seems pretty simple.  Google, are you listening?

Google Earth updates radar data

A few months back, Google added near-real time weather data, which included radars.  Today, they’ve added coverage for a few more areas:

  • Europe
  • Canada
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Puerto Rico

I really like the radars in Google Earth.  Not only are they useful, but they’re pretty cool.  They float a few miles above the  surface of the earth, just the way actual clouds do.

Here are some pictures of the current radar in Alaska to show you what I mean:

Alaska Radar: Top ViewAlaska Radar: Side ViewAlaska Radar: Bottom View

To use the radars, simple enable the “Radar” option in the “Weather” layer, as shown below:

Google Earth Radar Layer

March Madness in Google Earth

NCAA Team Locations in Google EarthThe Google LatLong blog has just released a KML that maps the location of all 65 teams in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

It’s a pretty simple file, but it’s interesting to see them all placed on the map.

You can download the file here.