The week in Google Earth news

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Google creates a more generic “Hurricane Season 2008″ layer

Either Google was listening to our suggestion, or it was just pretty obvious — they’ve replaced the “Gustav” layer with a more genric “Hurricane Season 2008″ layer, under which they list individual layers.

The data isn’t overly comprehensive.  It’s essentially just a forecast track for each storm and any advisories that have been put out for it.  As Google points out (as we did, as well as Google Earth Blog), these tools work very well in conjunction with the “Clouds” and “Radar” layers.

I’m hoping they’ll continue to add more information to this layer.  Some other ideas include:

  • Alternate projected paths
  • Historical track for the storm
  • Radar data in the oceans (not just in the US)
  • Related webcams, as they did with Gustav
There’s a lot more that could be done, but in any case this layer is a great new addition.

New Gustav layer in Google Earth

Google has just added a new sub-layer to the “weather” layer titled “Gustav Data”.  This layer includes a variety of information about the storm, such as the latest advisories, webcams from around Louisiana and a forecast track.  Coupled with the existing weather layers (clouds, radar, etc), it makes for some useful information.

As Google points out, the “clouds” layer is about 1-3 hours behind, but the “radar” layer is only about 15-30 minutes behind.

In the screenshot above, I’ve turned on the impressive-looking radar layer and pulled up a traffic camera (those are some empty roads…).  In addition, you can see the forecast track of the storm with the red line heading off to the northwest.

It seems to me that a general “hurricanes” layer might have been better (will we get one for “Hanna”, then one for “Ike”, etc?), but they can always just add/remove them as necessary, I suppose.

Track Fay using Google Maps

Tropical Storm Fay is going to make landfall in Florida shortly, and there are a few sites that have excellent Google Maps tracking tools.

  • IBISEYE – The best looking one I’ve seen, with some cool semi-transparent overlays
  • StormAdvisory – A fairly vanilla map, but with some solid data behind it.
  • Weather Underground – A similar look to IBISEYE.

If you know of other good sites for tracking these storms, please let us know in the comments.

(via GoogleMapsMania)