Google Earth Hacks mobile and The Amazing Race 13

A couple of fun toys for today.  I’ve created a mobile version of Google Earth Hacks, allowing you to view about 80% of the files (18,000 or so) on the go.  It works best on the iPhone, taking advantage of the built-in Google Maps, but should work on any recent phone.  Get details here, or simply visit on your phone.

Also, my wife and I are pretty big fans of The Amazing Race, so I’ve been working on a rather comprehensive mash-up for the show.  You can read about it here, view the full map here, or just play with the embedded version below.

If you’re a fan of the show, it’s a neat way to see all of the amazing places that the contestants get to travel to.

View Larger Map

Virtual Earth 6.2 released, with stunning clouds

Virtual Earth 6.2 has been released, with a whole host of new features.  Among them:

  • New imagery —  “Richer bird’s eye” and new 3D imagery, but I can’t find a list of what’s been updated.
  • Weather integration — Real-time clouds (see more below)
  • Localized maps — English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.
  • Near-matching — Helps find locations with alternate and similar spellings.
  • Landmark-based routing
  • Rich imagery for mobile users — Their screenshot shows an iPhone, but I can’t make it work on mine.  Maybe I need a specific URL?
  • One-click directions

The new imagery might be worth writing about, but I can’t find what’s new.  However, the clouds are very cool.  Fly down low in a city, look up, then wait a few seconds.  Pop!  There they are.

Unlike the clouds in Google Earth, these are fully 3D semi-transparent clouds.  Flying through them, they look almost real — it’s very impressive.There are a few downsides, though.  For one, they load in square tile areas.  If you fly too quickly, they’ll disappear until the next set loads.  Also, there is no way to leave them on and get a satellite view of an area from up high; if you fly very high above them, they simply go away to leave you with a clear view of the ground.

I’ll leave you with a short video demo of the clouds, shot by Frank Taylor at Google Earth Blog.  With it, you can really see just how cool this feature is.  He’s using a SpaceNavigator to fly through them, a tool which I strongly recommend for any avid Virtual Earth (or Google Earth) user.

MapQuest 4 Mobile now available for Blackberry

MapQuest has just launched the beta of MapQuest 4 Mobile for a few Blackberry handsets.  It looks very much like all of MapQuest’s other recent launches — very nice, but nothing new.

Some of the features include things like “maps” (including aerial imagery), “directions”, “search”, “traffic” and “find me” (to track you along a route.  Certainly nice features for a handset, but nothing new.

Still, if you have a Blackberry it’s probably worth giving it a shot.  It’s currently compatible with the BlackBerry 8830 on Sprint and the Blackberry 8800, 8820 and 8310 on AT&T.  Of course, “support for additional handsets is coming soon.”  To get it, simply point your phone to to get started.

Virtual Earth update time

Just a few days ago I mentioned that I hadn’t seen an imagery update for Virtual Earth in a while, and now we have one.

This one reportedly has a staggering 48TB worth of imagery, but doesn’t cover that many places.  The list:


  • Yakima, WA
  • Springfield, MO
  • Spokane, WA
  • Portland, ME
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Billings, MT
  • Minneapolis, MN (UltraCam Refresh)
  • Seattle, WA (UltraCam Refresh)
  • Las Vegas, NV (UltraCam Refresh)
  • Phoenix, AZ (UltraCam Refresh)
  • Tampa, Fl (UltraCam Refresh)


  • Vector overlays for Navteq and MDS data sources for orthos and Bird’s Eye
  • All mobile tiles
  • New British Isles Map style


  • Tampa, FL
Only one new 3D city?  Bummer.  I’m dying to see the country (and world) get populated with those awesome “version 2″ cities, but they really seem to be slowing down.  Hopefully they can pick up the pace and get more areas fleshed out in the near future.

Google Maps Mobile gets StreetView

StreetView has come to Google Maps Mobile! This should prove to be a very useful addition, since many people use GMM when trying to find a location.  Having a street-level view of their destination will be great!

In addition to StreetView, the mobile versions now have walking directions and business reviews as well.

The software is available for: Blackberry and “many Java-enabled phones”.  The software has not yet been updated for Symbian devices (like the Nokia N95), Windows Mobile devices or the Apple iPhone.

To download it for your phone, simply visit

Here is a short video showing off the new features:

(via LatLong blog)

The energy costs of Hurricane Ike

Brian Timoney has made some nice updates to ahead of Hurricane Ike.  Not only does it give you the location and path of the storm, but it shows all of the affected oil wells in the Gulf, broken down by company.  He uses Virtual Earth to power it.

I’ve heard a lot of news stories about how gas prices are likely to shoot up due to this, and this site shows why.  Great site!

(via Spatially Adjusted)

Virtual Earth map control 6.2 coming in a few weeks

According to Nate Irwin, version 6.2 of the Virtual Earth map control is coming on September 22nd.  This new map control brings a lot of great features to the table, including landmark-based directions and real-time weather in 3D.

Here’s my big question, though — where’s the new imagery?  Unless I’ve missed something, they haven’t added any new imagery since July, and they haven’t updated any 3D cities since June.  I absolutely love their “version 2″ cities in 3D, and was hoping we’d see a steady stream of them.

Any idea when more might be coming our way?

Details on the Google Earth imagery update

We reported a few days ago about the imagery update for Google Earth, and now they’ve released details about exactly what has been updated:


  • USA: Chicago, Houston, Tampa, Nassau County (NY), Westchester County (NY), Rockland County (NY), Putnam County (NY), Rensselaer County, Albany County (NY), Schenectady County (NY), SaratogaCounty (NY), Tompkins County (NY), Schuyler County (NY), Seneca County (NY), Yates County (NY), Steuben County (NY), Allegany County (NY), Cattaraugus County (NY), West Virginia, part of Rhode Island, part of Massachusetts, and part of New Hampshire.
  • Canada: Middlesex County (ON)

Europe, Middle East, & Africa:

  • Spain: Cartagena, Costa Blanca
  • France: Paris, Orleans, Cannes, Nice, Saint-Tropaz
  • Italy: Torino, Bologna, Ancona, Lucca, Latina, Capraia Island, Stintino, Villasimius, Palermo, Agrigento
  • Switzerland: Zurich, Oberhasli, Thun, Emmental-Oberaargau, Basel, St. Gallen
  • Monaco: entire country
  • Czech Republic: Prague, Ostrava
  • Slovakia: entire country

Asia & Oceania:

  • Japan: Kobe, Kyoto, Kawasaki, Saitama, Chiba
  • Australia: Canberra, Wollongong, The Great Ocean Road

New high resolution satellite imagery: sprinkled around the globe, with heavier concentrations in Canada, Mexico, and China.

New 2.5m base imagery for: Greece, Turkey, and Australia.

Very cool 3D navigation product released

A cool looking 3D navigation program called Navi2Go from 3DVU has just been released.  It uses real world imagery and terrain and puts it in the palm of your hand as a GPS navigation device.  It’s got the look and feel of Google Earth, with the usefulness of a TomTom.

Of course, the usefulness of a device like this is how well it routes, re-routes, and simply gets you from point A to point B.  I haven’t seen a real review of the device yet, so that remains to be seen.

As of now, it’s available on a wide variety of Windows Mobile, Symbian and BlackBerry devices, with iPhone support “coming soon”.

More information can be found at GISuser or on

Major imagery update for Google Earth

It appears that Google Earth has just received a major imagery update.  There is no official word from Google yet, but Google Earth Blog is reporting a wide variety of updates.  They include:


  • US: Houston, TX — West Virginia — East Massachusetts — Albany, NY
  • Areas of Australia
  • Turkey
  • Paris, France
  • Near Toronto, Canada
  • Parts of Italy
  • Parts of Switzerland
Frank is keeping the GEB list updated, so check back there often.  If you notice anything else new, please post it in their comments.