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.

Disney World 3D has finally arrived in Google Earth

It’s a few weeks later than we expected, but Disney World is now 3D in Google Earth — and it’s impressive!  They’ve included the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Disney Resorts.

There are actually two parts to this:

  • The normal 3D buildings layer will add all kinds of visual goodness, such as buildings, trees, statues, etc.
  • The special Disney layer will add information about the parks and the hotels.

To activate the 3D buildings, simply check the box next to “3D Buildings” in the “Layers” tab like you normally would.

To activate the Disney layer, go to “Gallery -> Travel and Tourism -> Walt Disney World”.  Once you’ve turned that on, along with the 3D buildings, fly down there (KML) and check it out.

The 3D aspect of this is stunning, but be warned — it’s very graphically intensive.  I’ve got a pretty solid machine, and it slowed it down quite noticeably.  Still, it’s well worth checking out.  Have fun!

Update: Frank Taylor has just made a nice little video that takes you through the 3D Magic Kingdom.  Check it out:

Google News now in Google Earth

About a month ago, Google added items from the New York Times to Google Earth.  Now they’ve taken it a step further by adding Google News entries as well.  This is pretty cool.

The New York Times addition was cute, but didn’t add much.  There simply aren’t enough stories to make it especially useful.  However, Google News brings in items from 4,500 new sources, so there are literally thousands of items on the map.  This is excellent, because it allows you to zoom in tight on an area, and see the latest news items from around there.

To activate this feature in your copy of Google Earth, just click on the “Gallery” category in your “Layers” tab, and check the box next to “Google News”.

Hamburg 3D now in a layer

As reported by Ogle Earth, the amazing 3D buildings in Hamburg are now in the buildings layer of Google Earth.

Stefan says, “You will need a graphics card from the future — unless you are really close in, flying around Hamburg is done at extremely low fps… more like fpm”.  This will become more of an issue in the future as more buildings find their way into Google Earth.

A few months ago, I suggested to the Google Earth team that they handle 3D buildings in a somewhat similar manner as Virtual Earth – low quality as you’re far away, higher quality as you zoom in.  While I’m sure that’s quite a technical hurdle, they must be considering something of that nature to help combat this growing performance problem.

3D Campus buildings are now in the default 3D layer

As reported by the Google Earth Blog, the winners of the “Build Your Campus in 3D” are now available in Google Earth.  Check them out in Google Earth, or watch the video that gives a brief tour of each campus.

Update to the Google Earth 3D Buildings layer

huge_building.jpgGoogle has just pushed out their June update to the 3D buildings layer. Some cities with updates include Chicago, Christchurch (New Zealand), Karachi, Rome, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Moscow.

In addition, there is a big bug in this update. There is a building in western Turkey that looks like a normal house but is about 11 miles wide! You can view it here, but hurry — Google will likely fix it soon.

Google Earth Blog has the rest of the details about this update.