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.

Many layers updated in Google Earth

It’s not a much-loved imagery update, but this one is still pretty useful. This update for Google Earth/Maps includes:

  • New road data in 94 countries
  • New business listings in Russia and Brazil
  • Support for Russian Cryllic or latin translated addresses
  • New Zealand tourism layer
  • Updates to the geographic web layer, such as wikipedia and Panoramio. In addition, it appears that the Panoramio pictures will be updated daily, rather than every month or two.

More information can be found at the Google Earth Blog or the Google LatLong Blog. Here are a few photos from the LatLong Blog entry:

Google Earth New Zealand UpdateGoogle Earth Updated Roads and Panoramio

Big layer update for Google Earth

As reported in the Google LatLong blog, the first big layer update for 2008 is out.  Included in it:

  • Improved Earthquake layer, with a fresh look and more information.
  • Expanded National Geographic layer, now covering Europe, Asia and South America.
  • Updated roads in 26 countries:
    • Russia, Malaysia, Thailand, Aruba, Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
  • Two million more more photos in the Panoramio layer

More info about these updates can be found at the Google LatLong Blog, the Google Earth Blog and the Panoramio Blog.

New layers in Google Sky

As reported by Ogle Earth, Google Sky now has a handful of new layers. They include:

  • Featured Observatories
  • Current Sky Events
  • Education Center
  • Historical Sky Maps

Good stuff. Go check em out.

Update: Some commentary from Google Earth Blog and the official announcement from Google.

10 best new features in Google Earth since its release

When Google Earth was first released, there was talk about it everywhere and they were overwhelmed with downloads. Since then, it’s become more and more popular. However, I’m sure there are a lot of folks that downloaded it two years ago, checked it out a little bit, and then haven’t gone back in. Here’s what you’re missing now:

10. PhotoOverlays: In the latest release of Google Earth they now have PhotoOverlays – photos that seem to be hung in mid-air or wrapped around a sphere.

Google Earth terrain9. Improved terrain: The 3D terrain in Google Earth is the main thing that separates it from Google Maps. You can tilt down and see the mountains and valleys in beautiful 3D. There is now an option to allow you to choose the terrain quality (lower=better performance, high=more eye candy).

8. Time animations: Starting with the beta version of GE4 you could have time animations — items that update as time rolls by. This can be for long periods (spread of Avian flu) or for short periods (“Blues Brother” car jumping a drawbridge).

7. New layers: Google Earth launched with an impressive collection of build-in layers. They’ve added tons more since then. My personal favorite is the “traffic” layer, which shows current traffic speeds in metro areas (Atlanta here). Dig into the layers and see all of the great new items in there.

SpaceNavigator6. SpaceNavigator support: If you’ve not used this 3D mouse-ish tool, you have to try it. It makes Google Earth a whole new toy. Read more about this at the Google Earth Blog, or try to win one by using GEboards.

5. Flight simulator: For a while, it was fun to try to fake being a flight simulator in Google Earth by simply plugging in joystick. With the release of version 4.2, they included a hidden flight sim. Simply press [CTRL]-[ALT]-[A] (Command-Option-A on Mac) and you can choose to fly either an F16 or an SR22!

Google Earth Sky Mode4. Sky mode: Another great addition in version 4.2. By clicking the small “sky mode” button in Google Earth, you’ll be taken up to space and be shown the area exactly above where you were on the earth. You can browse, pan and zoom just as you would in earth mode, including support for the SpaceNavigator.

3. Flash support: Google Earth now supports Flash animations inside of the description bubbles (Windows only, though). This has allowed for obvious things such as embedding YouTube videos, but also for less-obvious things such as creating Flash-based forms to allow for an in-Earth message board.

Google Earth - 3D Buildings - Denver, Colorado2. 3D textures: When Google Earth first came out, people were amazed by the 3D buildings you could fly around. Problem was, they were all gray – solid, boring, gray. Since they, Google has built support for textures on the outside of buildings and the result is some cool looking cities. Denver, Colorado is probably the best example (it’s the home of SketchUp, the authoring tool for 3D models in Google Earth), so check it out.

1. Tons more imagery: Tons. Terabytes worth. Google has put out about eight huge imagery updates since they first released Google Earth, and each one has added thousands of square miles of fresh, higher quality images. Go check out your house again and you’ll probably find that it looks much better now than it did a few years ago.

There you go. 10 good reasons to go get the latest version of Google Earth and waste some time. If you’re looking for more fun stuff in Google Earth, go check out the huge KML file collection at Google Earth Hacks.

[ digg this article ]

Some new layers in Google Earth

A few new layers have been added to Google Earth today:

  • Preview — A quick look at some of the other layers available
  • Gigapan Photos — High res panoramic photos

The update layers include:

  • UNEP
  • AIA Blueprint for America
  • North American Ferry Lines
  • Google Earth Comunity

Google Earth Blog has more information about these changes.

Update: The Google LatLong Blog has a nice write-up about the “preview” layer as well.