Posts Tagged ‘Google Earth’

You’ve seen one block, you’ve seen them all

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

beach

Ever look close, I mean real close at the imagery you seen in Google Earth and other online map providers? You’ll notice most of it, in the United States at least, comes from the USGS or USDA Farm Service Agency. But have you noticed they sometimes doctor the imagery to remove clouds or other collection artifacts? Well, look at the above image again ;) Here’s the Gmaps view in Tybee Island, GA. Thanks Andrew and Geoff!

My street has been plowed! (MyMaps and Wash Post)

Monday, February 8th, 2010

My colleage Wilson setup a open-to-everyone Google MyMaps project for folks to note which streets in DC have been plowed. Had to hack the embed with a network link via Google Maps to get all the locations to plot on one map (MyMap usually wants to separate blocks of markers into separate pages and maps).

Check it out at The Washington Post . . .

On the Map: Five Major North Korean Prison Camps (Wash Post)

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

[Editor's note: This interactive map from The Washington Post examines political prison camps were opponents or fallen favorites of the regime in Pyongyang are forced to do slave labour. Great use of Google Earth to generate the 3d scene, combined with Natural Scene Designer. Kudos to Kat and Laris for a great presentation.]

Republished from The Washington Post.

North Korea has operated political prison camps for more than 50 years, twice as long as the Gulag in the former Soviet Union. People suspected of opposing the government are forced to do slave labor in the camps, which hold an estimated 200,000 prisoners. Great use of Google Earth to generate the 3d scene, combined with Natural Scene Designer. North Korea’s government says the camps don’t exist, but high-resolution satellite images show otherwise.

Interact with the original at Washington Post . . .

koreanortha

koreanorthb

How Google Earth Explains the Financial Crisis (Foreign Policy)

Monday, May 18th, 2009

090507_singapore

[Editor's note: Fascinating image / KML visually demonstrating how global shipping has dropped off, matching the economic doldrums.]

Republished from Foreign Policy.

Want to get a sense of just how bad things are? Take a spin on Google Earth.

The latest issue of International Economy, edited by FP contributor David Smick, has a clever graphic showing the depth of the economic crisis, so I thought I’d share.

The above image, pulled today from Vesseltracker.com’s Google Earth file, shows container ships languishing off the Singapore coast. Welcome to the  largest parking lot on Earth. International Economy explains:

The world’s busiest port for container traffic, Singapore saw its year-over-year volume drop by 19.6 percent in January 2009, followed by a 19.8 percent drop in February. As of mid-March 2009, 11.3 percent of the world’s shipping capacity, sat idle, a record.

It’s a rough time to be an Asian tiger, or to be in the shipping business. The IMF projects that Singapore’s economy will shrink significantly in 2009. Globally, bulk shipping rates have dropped more than 80 percent in the past year on weak demand, and orders for new shipping vessels are cratering. In Busan, South Korea, the fifth-largest port in the world, empty shipping containers are piling up faster than officials can manage.

“Things have really started to get bad — laborers spend their entire day waiting for a call from the docks that they have a job,” Kim Sang Cheul, a dockworker at Busan, told Bloomberg. “People spend all day staring at their phone as if staring at it can make it ring. You’re lucky if you get a call.”

Green shoots? Not so much.

(For another view of Singapore’s port, you can check out Vesseltracker’s Microsoft Virtual Earth mashup map.)

Ed Prado Museum Tour … Now on Google Earth (Duke CIT)

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

[Editor’s note: Google has started to add museum collections to Google Earth. The Prada in Madrid includes a self portrait by Albrecht Dürer, Las Meninas, the dark Goyas, and the Fusilamientos del Tres de Mayo. Video includes section on how Google took the photos. Thanks KL!]

Republished from the Duke
Original January 14th, 2009 by Randy Riddle.

Google has added the El Prado museum to Google Earth, allowing you to not only see the buildings, but to do a “virtual tour” of 14 paintings in the collections, viewing them in incredible detail – each painting is captured and presented in 14 billion pixels.

Below is a short video and you can also read a blog post at Gizmodo about the project.

Google Outs Earth 5 with Ocean Floor, More (Electronista)

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

UPDATE: Be cautious about installing GE 5 on your Mac. Wired has the details . . .

[Editor's note: New 3d ocean floor elevation data, historical land imagery, ability to record virtual tours, and 3d planet Mars mode come to Google Earth in version 5 released Monday, Feb. 2, 2009.]

Republished from Electronista / MacNN.
Google’s LatLong blog has official coverage: Historical Imagery and Ocean elevation data.

Download version 5 from Google for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Google on Monday announced the immediate release of Google Earth 5.0, bumping it up from the previous 4.3 build. Among the biggest changes are the inclusion of a detailed 3D ocean floor, the ability to go up to 50 years back in time when looking at a particular location, record a virtual tour of locations, and a 3D rendition of Mars. The ocean feature was developed together with many partners, including National Geographic, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the US Navy, among others. The approximate two-thirds of the planet can now be viewed under water and includes videos and images of ocean life, along with details on surf spots, expedition logs and more. The historical images are accessed via a clock icon on the toolbar when viewing a location on the planet. The Touring feature lets travelers show off their journeys by recording navigating through their destinations and easily sharing them with peers. The fly-throughs can be narrated for an organized flow of a multi-stop journey.

Thanks to a joint project with NASA, Google Earth now also extends beyond to include a 3D map of Mars. Apart from 3D terrain, there are annotations describing the location and circumstanced associated with landing sites and the red planet’s other curiosities.

The download is free for both Mac and Windows PCs. Comprehensive information on the new features of Google Earth will be published throughout the week on Google’s Lat Long blog.

RUMOR: Google Earth 5 on Monday (Google Earth Blog)

Friday, January 30th, 2009

[Editor’s note: New features are coming to an application near you. Thanks Laris!]

Republished from Google Earth Blog.
Original publish date: January 26, 2009.

Big Google Earth Announcement with Al Gore and More

The tech world was abuzz this weekend with rumors about a big upcoming event concerning Google Earth. WebProNews and AppScout were the first to report on Friday. Google has sent out an invitation to the press, including Google Earth Blog, for a “Special announcement about Google Earth” on February 2nd in San Francisco. And this event looks like it could be the biggest announcement since Google Earth was released! Speakers include: former Vice President Al Gore, CEO of Google Eric Schmidt, VP of Google Marissa Mayer, and Director of Google Geo John Hanke. Wow!

There are no specifics on the announcement mentioned in the invitation. Just some comments about how Google Earth has reached hundreds of millions of people around the world. The last time Google had this many dignitaries to make an announcement for Google Earth was in June of 2006 when they announced the upcoming release of Google Earth 4. Eric Schmidt and the two co-founders of Google (Larry Page and Sergey Brin) were there for the announcement made by John Hanke at that event. Google Earth 4 introduced photorealistic textures to 3D models, GE for the Mac and Linux, multi-lingual support, and a huge global imagery update covering many countries for the first time.

Another clue for this announcement was some other speakers for the announcement: Sylvia Earle – Explorer-in-Residence for National Geographic Society; Terry Garcia – EVP for National Geographic Society, and Greg Farrington, Executive Director for California Academy of Sciences. The last one isn’t surprising because the invitation says the announcement will be held at the California Academy of Sciences.

The big clue is Sylvia Earle. As pointed out by everyone, Sylvia Earle is a world renowned oceanographer. So, of course, the immediate conclusion is that Google Ocean is finally about to be introduced. Rumors have been flying about Google Ocean for quite a while.

So, clearly Google Earth is going to get some new Ocean-related data. Google just added new detailed ocean floor imagery last week. And, it’s a known fact that several of the parties involved with that also have worked on 3D bathymetry. Google Earth to date has not had many layers which provide data about the ocean. And the ocean terrain has always been flat (2D) in Google Earth. More ocean data is an area I’ve been looking forward to with great anticipation. Especially since this year my wife and I are departing to spend the next five years circumnavigating the oceans by sailboat. Having Google Earth help us explore the oceans will be handy! Google Earth has needed more information about the 75% of the Earth most of us ignore.

I don’t think this announcement will be confined to just Google Ocean though. When Google makes an announcement like this, they always try to push the envelope on multiple fronts. And, with Al Gore headlining the event, I’m sure we’re going to get some data about the environment. I’m expecting lots of new features and data to write about in February. It’s going to be exciting! I just wish I could attend the event myself – but, unfortunately we’ve got plans for next week which keep me from going. But, have no fear, I’ll still be reporting on this major event!

Google Earth helps yet worries government (USA Today)

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

[Editor’s note: I was able to attend the reception for GeoEye-1 at the fabulous Newseum last week in Washington, DC. The imagery from this new satellite is truly awesome. Look for it soon in The Washington Post, and in Google Earth.]

Republished from USA Today, Nov. 6, 2008. By Peter Eisler.

WASHINGTON — The secretive National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is rushing to get the latest, high-definition satellite photos of Afghanistan into the hands of U.S. ground troops as they ramp up operations in the country’s tangled terrain.

The NGA analysts aren’t tapping the government’s huge network of highly classified spy satellites; they’re getting the pictures from commercial vendors. That’s the same stuff pretty much anyone can get, either through free, online programs, such as Google Earth, or by buying it from the same companies supplying Uncle Sam.

It’s a remarkable turn, given the warnings that security experts in the USA and worldwide raised a few years ago about giving the entire planet — terrorists and rogue states included — access to high-resolution satellite photos once available only to superpowers.

Last month, the most powerful commercial satellite in history sent its first pictures back to Earth, and another with similar capabilities is set for launch in mid-2009. The imagery provided by those and other commercial satellites has transformed global security in fundamental ways, forcing even the most powerful nations to hide facilities and activities that are visible not only to rival nations, but even to their own citizens.

Although no one disputes that commercial imagery poses threats, it has been embraced in ways few predicted.

“It’s created a lot of opportunities to do things we couldn’t do with (classified) imagery,” says Jack Hild, a deputy director at NGA, which provides imagery and mapping for defense and homeland security operations.

Pictures from government satellites are better than commercial photos, but how much better is a secret. Only people with security clearances generally are allowed to see them. Using commercial products, intelligence agencies can provide imagery for combat troops, which wasn’t possible before because of the risk of it reaching enemy hands and even international coalition partners.

Federal agencies use commercial imagery to guide emergency response and inform the public during natural disasters, such as this year’s Hurricane Ike. It’s also used by government scientists to monitor glacial melting and drought effects in the Farm Belt.

When commercial satellite photos first hit the market, “the gut reaction was, ‘We can’t allow this imagery to be out there because someone might do us harm with it,’ ” Hild says. “Are there still bad things that people can do with commercial imagery? Absolutely … but we think the benefits far outweigh the risks.”

Other nations share the sentiment. U.S. and foreign government contracts provide critical income for commercial imagery companies, such as Digital Globe and GeoEye — both of which supply photos for Google Earth.

“Most of our revenue (is) from governments,” says Mark Brender, vice president of GeoEye, which got half its 2007 revenue from the U.S. government and 35% from foreign governments. “They have a core competency in understanding how to use this technology — and a national security imperative to do so.”

In August 2006, the Islamic Army in Iraq circulated an instructional video on how to aim rockets at U.S. military sites using Google Earth.

Posted on a jihadist website, the video showed a computer using the program to zoom in for close-up views of buildings at Iraq’s Rasheed Airport, according to an unclassified U.S. intelligence report obtained by USA TODAY. The segment ended with the caption, “Islamic Army in Iraq/The Military Engineering Unit — Preparations for Rocket Attack.”

The video appeared to fulfill the dire predictions raised by security experts in the USA and across the globe when Google began offering free Internet access to worldwide satellite imagery in 2005. Officials in countries as diverse as Australia, India, Israel and the Netherlands complained publicly that it would be a boon to terrorists and hostile states, especially since the pictures often provide a site’s map coordinates.

Indeed, some terrorist attacks have been planned with the help of Google Earth, including an event in 2006 in which terrorists used car bombs in an unsuccessful effort to destroy oil facilities in Yemen, according to Yemeni press reports. Images from Google Earth and other commercial sources have been found in safe houses used by al-Qaeda and other terror groups, according to the Pentagon.

Many security experts say commercial imagery does little to enhance the capabilities of such organizations.

“You can get the same (scouting) information just by walking around” with a map and a GPS device, says John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a research organization specializing in defense and intelligence policy. The imagery “may give someone precise coordinates (for a target), but they need precise weapons … and their ability to target discrete parts of a particular site is pretty limited. People who think this gives you magical powers watch too many Tom Clancy movies.”

(more…)

Earthscape Digital Globe app for iPhone (Churchill Nav)

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008
[Editor’s note: At $10 this app seems a bit pricey for basic digital earth viewer ala Google Earth but the YouTube video is nifty and demonstrates the wikipedia geotags and the app is sure to wow your friends. The comments in iTunes App Store say the quality is fuzzy zoomed into local areas. I have yet to try this app myself.

Republished from the app’s promotional website. Get app via iTunes.

Earthscape Basic is the world’s first virtual globe application for mobile devices — available now for the iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPod Touch.

Screenshots:

Our planet isn’t flat — from the breathtaking mountain ranges of America’s Glacier National Park, to Australia’s great barrier reef; from the Death Valley desert to meteor impact craters around the globe, Earthscape presents our planet as it was meant to be seen — in full 3D

With hundreds of thousands of geotagged wikipedia articles, you can learn about the geological forces that shaped our world, historic events that changed civilization, and monuments we have built in our quest to understand the universe we live in. Or perhaps you are more interested in finding out exactly where the Hollywood sign is, or where the Coliseum in Rome is located — it’s all there. If you like Google Earth on your desktop, you will love Earthscape in your palm.

FAQ:
See our Earthscape Basic support page

Watch the video:

(YouTube)

GPS Kit – New software app for iPhone 3G (Kelso)

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

 

Garafa published GPS Kit for the iPhone 3G on August 14th for $10. YouTube demonstration above from Garafa. I’ve spent the weekend experimenting with the app and the accuracy seems comparable to RunKeeper and iTrail which I reviewed last week. However, GPS Kit has better features, though by the time you read this iTrail will have nearly caught up. GPS Kit meets 10 of my 22 criteria for GPS on the iPhone, the same as iTrail but with GPS Kit having a higher price point but with slightly nicer package. 

The three main functions of GPS Kit are:

  • Dashboard
    • See real time information like latitude, longitude, speed, altitude, heading (cardinal direction, degree), and distance
    • User modifiable statistics (including averages) and units
  • Tracks
    • Intelligent data collection intervals: If you move fast, more points, if slow less points.
    • Save your route
    • View on iPhone in app
    • Share with anyone via email in Google Earth (KML) or Google Maps
  • Waypoints
    • Save points of interest 
    • See how far you are from each waypoint. 
    • View on iPhone in app
    • Share with anyone via email in Google Earth (KML) or Google Maps

Features I wish GPS Kit had:

  • Tracks
    • Better way to see live-GPS route tracking (now a several step process)
    • Resume dialog on restart of app after taking call or other interruption ala Distance Meter
    • Screen lock while recording tracks ala iTrail
    • View on live Google map (now just blank screen?) with both satellite, hybrid, and map tiles
    • Save with KML the stats that are currently displayed on screen for that segment of track
    • In KML record GPS accuracy (eg: accurate to 10m, 310m).
    • KML that does not have 3 nodes at each data point
    • Provide altitude readjustment by matching lat/long against SRTM elevations
    • Import tracks via KML or GPX
  • Waypoints
    • View on live Google map (now just blank screen?) with both satellite, hybrid, and map tiles
    • Set custom icon with preset of common icons
    • Import waypoints via KML or GPX
    • Attach photos to location (location is created on capture of photo)
    • See photo waypoints on the map as icons (multiple, not just active photo waypoint)
    • Click on the photo icon in map view get a big view of the photo and edit text description
    • Attach a longer text description to each location, not just the name

Screenshots of GPS Kit:

Other applications on the App Store that provide portions of similar functionality and their prices:

  • iTrail @ $3- in app map of route, plotting of statistics; has a screen lock while recording. Export to GPX and KML. No waypoint support (coming in version 1.3). Read my review.
  • RunKeeper @ $10- Geared more towards fitness activities with stats like “pace”. Needs to upload data to web service (free) to see route on map. Read my review.
  • GPS Tracker @ free – real-time tracking service including lat, long, altitude, speed, heading, and accuracy. Can export to CVS and KML. Requires web service to record and see on map.
  • gSpot @ $2 –  no privacy concerns (not published online for anyone to see as you move with the app on): lat, long, altitude, speed, heading, and accuracy. Can share waypoints via email. Can display waypoints in the iPhone’s mapping application. 
  • PathTracker @ $1 – real time map showing route/track; distance, time, average speed, current location and altitude; save your path and export in GPX and KML. Available in many different languages including Chinese, French, and Spanish.
  • gps Compass @ $2 – real time stats that are user modifiable; multiple languages including German and Japanese. No map.
  • Speedster GPS @ $1 – speed and altitude in real time with history of pervious data points. No map.
  • Distance Meter @ $3- distance, speed, and pace tracker. No map. Altitude and XY shown for current location only.
  • Geopher Lite @ $2 – distance and heading to waypoint. No map. Ability to turn GPS off in certain functions to save battery. 
  • OverHere @ $1 – email waypoint (current location). No map.
  • Altitude @ $1 – altitude with accuracy (but is it Z accuracy or XY accuracy?). No map.
  • Speed @ free – real time speedometer. No map.

All of these applications require an iPhone 3G with GPS for best performance. 

References: 

iPhone Chat.org and iPhoneFreakz.com.