The week in Google Earth news

Last week on Google Earth Blog we…

You can read more over at

The week in Google Earth news

Last week on Google Earth Blog we…

You can read more over at

Recent posts from Google Earth Blog

Here are some of things I’ve recently written over on Google Earth Blog:


New Google Earth imagery/3D, Bing StreetView coming soon

A couple of quick links today:

Imagery update in Google Earth: Just two weeks since their last one, Google has pushed out another imagery update.  It’s not a huge one, but it covers small parts of many countries.

New 3D imagery in Google Earth: Google has started using StreetView imagery in some cities to create lifelike facades in the downtown areas.  The result is stunning.  Check out the video below to see how it looks:

bingvan-223x300Bing “StreetView” coming soon? It looks like Microsoft may be planning to bring a StreetView-like competitor to Bing Maps.  The image on the right (via StreetViewFun) shows a Bing-labeled van driving around Vancouver gathering street-level imagery.

Considering the Winter Olympics start in Vancouver in a few months, I’d expect we’ll see the results of the imagery before then.

Big imagery releases for Google Earth and Bing Maps

We’ve seen a couple of big imagery releases in the past few days:

Google Earth has updated various imagery all over the world.  You can read details on the Google Earth Blog, or view this page to see the updated areas via the Google Earth Plug-in.  Here are some neat things that users have already found in the fresh imagery.

Bing Maps has updated imagery in the US, UK and Canada.  In particular, they’ve added a ton of fresh imagery in Vancouver in anticipation of the 2010 Olympics, which begin in February.  You can use the Bing Maps World Tour application to see all of the updated areas.

A ton more 3D buildings in Google Earth

As reported by the Google Earth Blog, a ton of new 3D buildings have been released into Google Earth.  They include, among other things, thousands of building generated by people using their new “Building Maker” tool.

If you find any other major cities that have been updated as well, please let us know.

Major imagery update for Google Earth

Details are still coming in, but there’s been a significant imagery update for Google Earth.  The Google LatLong Blog has their usual quiz, and the Google Earth Blog is filling in the details.

So far, updated areas include Argentina, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, Ukraine and various parts of the United States.  Stay updated to the GEB post for the latest.

Google Earth just got faster: Version 5.1 released

Google has just released Google Earth version 5.1.  According to the LatLong blog, the focus of this update was speed.

According to Google:

We’ve made a lot of adjustments under the hood, like improving memory utilization so we can show more buildings, layers, and user content. We improved our shaders (that’s graphics-speak for small programs that run inside your graphics processor) to make the atmosphere draw faster. We also worked to reduce stuttering (known as frame drops) to provide an even smoother experience as you fly around the globe. When we draw imagery, we now use compression technology to use less memory and graphics resources. We know that waiting for a program to start-up can be really frustrating, so we improved our start-up time by 25%. In our Google Earth API (which allows developers to include Google Earth right in their websites), we have made API calls significantly faster, which means that our developers can now do even more.

You can download version 5.1 here.  In addition, the Windows version of 5.1 automatically loads the browser plug-in for those users, which should signifianctly increase the number of users that have the plug-in installed.

College Football, Monopoly and Towson University

A handful of cool things today:


College Football Stadiums: The Google LatLong blog has posted a KML that flies you to all of the NCAA football stadiums — 246 in all!  You can read about the file on their site, or download the KML here.  I did something similar on EarthSwoop last year and built a “swo0p” for all of the stadiums in each major conference:  ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC 10 and SEC.  The majority of them are rendered in 3D and look pretty sweet.


Google Maps Monopoly: Starting on September 9, Hasbro is launching a giant Google Maps-based game of Monopoly.  The folks at Wired got a sneak peek of the game, and they’re cautiously optimistic.  The rules don’t seem to explain what the goal is (buy stuff near you, and maybe sell it later?), but the concept has potential.


Map of Towson University: Towson University has built a slick custom Google Map of their campus, thanks to their Geospatial Research and Education Lab.  There are shaded polygons of each building, which click to reveal more information/links about that building.  You can select building types (Academic, Dining, etc), parking areas, and other transportation information.  It’s very well done.  (via Google Maps Mania)

Two new 3D cities added to Google Earth

Google has just released two new 3D cities into Google Earth — Dublin, Ireland and Cardiff, Wales.

Make sure your “3D Buildings” layer is turned on inside of Google Earth, then fly over and check them out.  Below is a short video showing them off.  They look great!