Imagery update for Virtual Earth

While not nearly as big as their last update, Virtual Earth has about 20TB of new imagery now in place.  It includes quite a bit of new imagery in France, as well as various places around the world.  Sadly, it doesn’t appear that they’d added any more “version 2″ cities this month.  I’m dying to see Atlanta in v2, so hopefully they release more soon.

Full details about this update can be found here.

Build and share collections with EarthSwoop

It’s time to roll out a site that a couple of us have been working on for the last few weeks — EarthSwoop!

Bits and pieces of the code have been used in some of my other plug-in tools, but this takes it a step further. Using the Google Earth plug-in and a simple interface, you can build collections of common locations, all viewed using an icon-based system. For some examples, go check out the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the 30 Stadiums in Major League Baseball, or some of the venues in the upcoming Beijing Olympics. We’ve built 15 collections to get you started.

You can create a collection about any subject that you want. Once your collection has been created, the system will generate KML files for each location inside of it and give you embed code to put it on your own site. When viewing it, you can add other content such as WikiMapia and Panoramio to help provide more context.

Here is a brief video that shows how easy it is to start creating collections, and below is an embedded version of our NFL Stadiums collection. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Powered by EarthSwoop | More info about this collection

The top 5 ways to embed Google Earth content on your site

Now that the Google Earth plugin works in Firefox 3 (Windows-only still…), we thought we’d run through some of the best ways to embed Google Earth content on your site.

5. Embed existing files and collections from Google Earth Hacks

Google Earth Hacks has over 20,000 files on their site, all of which can be embedded into your own.  In addition, their collections can be embedded.  Both implementations are very straightforward, but require that a file is already on their site.  Here is what an embedded collection looks like:

Powered by Google Earth Hacks | More info about this collection

4. Embed golf courses from Golf Nation

Similar to Google Earth Hacks, Golf Nation allows you to embed any of their existing courses onto your own site.  This could be pretty useful if you just played a round and want to embed that course into your blog post about your great score.  The quality of the files can vary quite a bit, so here is one of the better ones:

Powered by Golf Nation | More golf courses in Atlanta

3. Build your own map with StreetCities

StreetCities is by far the most complex integration we’ve seen, for better and for worse.  You have a ton of options on how you want your map to look, and it’s very well done.  It’s not a great place to go for a quick map, but it’s worth playing with when you have a chance.

2. Easily embed a KML with TakItWithMe

TakItWithMe was the first site to offer the plugin in an embeddable manner.  Their script is quite simple, and allows you pull a KML into the map.  However, the KML needs to be hosted online somewhere (no upload feature), which is kind of a bummer.  Still, it’s nice way to build a quick embed from any KML that you know of.

1. Embed a map in a few seconds with ShareIt

ShareIt is another entry from Google Earth Hacks, but this one takes the cake.  There are no frills with this one — just a very simple way to embed the map on your site.  Title it, find your location on the globe (either by zooming or by searching with the box below it), and that’s it.  If you want a simple way to show your house, your church, your favorite stadium, etc, this is the way to do it.

Powered by Google Earth Hacks | Map Details | Create your own!

There you have it!  Honorable mentions go to Tagzania and GMap-Track, both of whom offer embeddable plugin code as well.

If you know of any others, please let us know in the comments below.

Google Earth plug-in now works in Firefox 3!

I didn’t expect to see it on a Sunday, but Google has updated the Google Earth plug-in to work with Firefox 3.  The cool thing is that you don’t even need to update the plug-in — some server-side tricks are what make it work.

I haven’t seen an official announcement yet, but it was revealed in this Google Group thread.  My previously non-working version is now fully functional, so apparently it’s live.

Now you can go play with ShareIt, or Monster Milktruck or anything else that you want using Firefox 3.

Popular Science has a series of articles about Google Earth

Popular Science is running a series of articles highlight various scientific visualizations using Google Earth.  Google Earth Blog has a great review of the series, along with KML files and links to other related stories.

The five areas they cover are:

Again, you should probably read the Google Earth Blog post while you’re reading the articles, as Frank did a great job of adding extra KML data and links to supplement each article.

Very cool augmented reality program for Android

Google Maps Mania has just highlighted Enkin, a slick new augmented reality program that is being built for the Android platform.

You’ve probably seen demos like this before, but this one sounds like it’s pretty much ready to launch.  The developers say that some Android hardware will have the necessary components built in (compass, GPS and camera), so would expect that we’ll be able to use this software later in the year!

Check out the video below for more:

Enkin from Enkin on Vimeo.

Update to the Google Earth plug-in coming this week?

Firefox 3 is set to be released tomorrow, and Mozilla is hoping for five million downloads.  My concerns had been two-fold:  Firefox 3 breaks the Google Toolbar and the Google Earth Plug-in.  However, the toolbar has been updated today to work with FF3, but what about the plug-in?

There has been no word from Google about a possible update, so maybe it’s not coming.  However, with Firefox 3 getting rave reviews, I would expect that the adoption rate will be quite high.  I would hate to see the plug-in take a bit step back by suddenly not working on millions of computers…

More new 3D buildings in Google Earth

Google Earth Blog has revealed some extra 3D buildings that were recently added to Google Earth.  Some of the cities with new models are:

  • San Diego, CA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Dallas, TX
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • ????????

  • Christchurch, New Zealand

Since there wasn’t an official list provided, there may be more out there.  If you notice any other areas with new buildings, please let us know in the comments.

Huge update to Google Maps StreetView

This is the update you’ve been waiting for!  Google Maps StreetView has been updated with a TON of new stuff.

37 new areas:

  • MA: Springfield
  • NY: Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse
  • NJ: Newark
  • VA: Virginia Beach
  • NC: Charlotte, Winston-Salem
  • SC: Columbia, Greenville
  • GA: Atlanta
  • FL: Boca Raton, Cape Coral, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Sarasota, West Palm Beach
  • AL: Huntsville
  • MS: Jackson
  • TN: Knoxville
  • KY: Lexington, Louisville
  • OH: Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo
  • MI: Ann Arbor
  • MO: St. Louis
  • KS: Topeka
  • NE: Lincoln
  • OK: Oklahoma City, Tulsa
  • NV: Reno
  • CA: Bakersfield, Fresno, Sacramento, Stockton

10 new parks and recreational areas:

  • Everglades National Park (Florida)
  • Florida Keys
  • Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)
  • Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming/Montana)
  • Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)
  • Joshua Tree National Park (California)
  • Death Valley National Park (California)
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)
  • Sequoia National Park (California)
  • Lake Tahoe (California/Nevada)

Expanded coverage in 15 existing areas:

  • Boise
  • Boston
  • Kansas City
  • Miami
  • Nashville
  • New York City
  • Orlando
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • Portland
  • Richmond
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Tampa
  • Tucson

There is all kinds of fun stuff to go find!  Share your best ones in the Google Earth Hacks Streetview section.

Public transportation now available on Google Maps Mobile

Google has just updated Google Maps Mobile to version 2.2.  The primary enhancement in this version is public transit — now you can get information on bus, train and ferry routes right from your mobile.

You can download the application by visiting this link with your phone, or you can read more on the Google LatLong Blog or on Google Maps Mania.  In addition, they’ve produced a short video to show off the new features: