Some new 3D goodness in Google Earth

A couple of interesting 3D updates in the past few days.

First we have the Vancouver update. They added 1400 textured 3D buildings to the city and it looks great.  According to the Google Earth Blog, they also expanded 3D coverage in New York City, Portland and Seattle.

Another post from the Google Earth Blog involves the first 3D cruise shipCarnival’s “Fascination”.

Carnival Fascination in 3D

I wouldn’t think this was especially noteworthy, but it’s the ship I was on for my honeymoon (and the only cruise I’ve taken), so I find it pretty cool that they chose that ship.

Big update to Google Earth coming in 8 days?

According to a few sources, Google is releasing a new version of Google Earth at the California Academy of Sciences on February 2nd.  Because the location of the event happens to be an aquarium, planetarium and natural history museum, that’s leading many to think that we may finally see the long-rumored “Google Ocean”.

It would be somewhat odd timing for that, since they just released the new ocean imagery a week ago, but it sure makes sense.  However, it also leads to another question — what other new features might we see?  New imagery?  More 3D buildings?  Other features?

We’ll find out soon!

A new StreetView-like service for Central Europe

NorcAs reported by Google Maps Mania, Norc has just launched a StreetView-like service for a handful of countries in Europe.  They use the Google Maps API to power their product, then drop in a bunch of interactive panoramic images.  You can’t move up up down streets quite as easily, but they provide small arrows in the corner to direct you to nearby paroramas, which are often just a few feet away (like StreetView).

Their current coverage includes Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Romania.

Satellite image of the inauguration crowds today

inauguration_overlayGeoEye made quick work of posting an image from Barack Obama’s Inauguration today.  As promised, they snapped a photo at 11:19am and had it posted by this afternoon.  The photo does a great job of capturing the mass of people that were in Washington.  It was very interesting to see the the crowds formed — presumably to get in front of the billboard-sized screens that were set-up along the mall.

If you’d like to see it for yourself, Google has created a special overlay that includes the file.

I’m a bit disappointed there weren’t any easter eggs in there — it was well known that the photo would be taken at 11:19, and the festivities hadn’t really begun at that point.  Still, given the relatively low quality of the photo it would have taken some serious work to make something that would have been visible.  Plus, you never know when a plan like that can go bad.

New imagery in Washington, DC – Just in time for the Inauguration

Washington, DC in Google EarthTwo days before Tuesday’s Inauguration of Barack Obama, Google has updated the imagery in the Washington, DC area.  According to the Google Earth Blog, the imagery for the White House and Capitol building are still from 2002, but much of the imagery in the area is dated 2008.

In addition, some of the censorship has been eased.  For example, the US Naval Observatory is no longer pixelated, though it’s still somewhat blurry.  That simple change helps it flow much better with the surrounding imagery without giving away too much detail.  It seems like a smart way to do it.

Also, be sure to visit Google Map Mania’s list of other useful Inauguration-related Maps.

New Ocean Imagery in Google Earth

Google Earth - New Ocean FloorGoogle has just pushed some new imagery to Google Earth that shows much higher quality data for all of the oceans of the world.  The data sadly isn’t 3D yet, but it’s certainly much better.  It makes viewing the globe from high altitudes look much better.  It’s not as in-depth as the rumored “Google Ocean” product, but it’s a step in that direction.

They’ve also done a bit of work on some inland bodies of water.  For example, the Great Lakes are now a very interesting shade of pale blue.  I assume that’s to help show their relative depth.

To see the new ocean imagery, just fire up Google Earth and there it is!  Nothing new to load.

Google Earth Blog has more info and a nice before/after photo.

Google Transit Layer launched for 50 cities worldwide

Google Transit LayerGoogle has just announced the release fo the transit layer for 50 cities worldwide.  Google Transit has been around for a while, but this actually overlays the transit lines on the map.

As the Google LatLong blog says, using this in combination with hotels and/or restaurants can make life much easier when you’re visiting a city.

For more information, you can also visit Google Maps Mania.  The complete list of cities includes Belo Horizonte, Berlin, Bordeaux, Brasilia, Cairo, Capetown, Caracas, Chicago, Copenhagen, Dallas, Dortmund, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Ekaterinburg, Essen, Frankfurt, Genoa, Guadalajara, Hamburg, Helsinki, Johannesburg, Kazan, Köln, Lille, Lisbon, London, Lyon, Madrid, Marseille, Medellin, Mexico City, Melbourne, Monterrey, Montreal, Munich, Naples, Nizhniy Novgorod, Oslo, Paris, Perth, Portland, Porto, Porto Alegre, Prague, Pretoria, Recife, Rennes, Rio de Janeiro, Samara, San Francisco, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Seattle, Strasbourg, Toulouse, Tunis, Vienna, Warsaw.

Digital Earth products with Windows 7

I downloaded Windows 7 on my laptop tonight (dual boot with XP) and started testing the various digital earth products.  So far, so good!

Google Earth went without a hitch.  It runs very well, too!

The Google Earth plug-in worked perfectly as well.

Google Maps worked, as did StreetView.

Virtual Earth installed flawlessly and worked briefly, then locked up the PC hard.

All in all, I’m quite pleased with how these programs are working with Windows 7.  I had intended to say “this works, that doesn’t, etc”, but everything works (for the most part).  I am very impressed with Windows 7 speed-wise, too.  It’s had a few hiccups (video card didn’t want to play nice), but these apps are FLYING on this old machine.

By the time it goes gold, I expect big things out of it.