Google Earth Blog Earth Topo Maps Overlay

google earth blog CrystalSerenityLivornoGoogle Earth Blog http://www.gearthblog.com The amazing things about Google Earth Wed, 21 Sep 2016 09:59:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.150387158. http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/the-jiangsu-tornado.html. http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/the-jiangsu-tornado.html#respond Wed, 21 Sep 2016 09:59:17 +0000 http://www.gearthblog.com/?p=18681 Although Google has neglected to update ‘historical imagery’ in Google Earth since early June, they have been adding fresh imagery, and when it is reasonably good quality, it goes into the default layer and we can see it. One such instance is a region in Jiangsu Province, China which was struck by a deadly tornado […]. google earth blog NorwegianPearlMiami

The post The Jiangsu tornado appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

1]]> Although Google has neglected to update ‘historical imagery’ in Google Earth since early June, they have been adding fresh imagery, and when it is reasonably good quality, it goes into the default layer and we can see it. According to Wikipedia, the tornado killed at least 99 people and injured 846 others (152 critically).

We found a number of articles showing various photos of the destruction, such as here, here, here and here. But. actually locating the event proved more difficult. We first mapped out the area that had new imagery and started searching through it for signs of damaged buildings, but with an area of nearly 4,000 square kilometres we were not successful. We did find a raised railway under construction. google earth blog NorwegianPearlSeattle And a long trail of destroyed houses that turned out to be planned road construction. The articles either mention major nearby cities or small villages that aren’t marked on the map and couldn’t be found through search. Eventually we found mention of “Danping Village of Chenliang Township” and we were able to find Chenliang. From there, the path of destruction was easy to trace over a distance of around 30 km.

To see the path of the tornado in Google Earth download this KML file.

2

The post Malaysia and Tunisia get 3D appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

]]> Malaysia and Tunisia have recently received their first 3D imagery. Tunis and Sfax in Tunisia and Sungai Petani in Malaysia.But in some cases it is important to get it right. We had a problem with this in the past when we created a script to draw arcs. If we used absolute altitudes the ends of the arcs ended up all at a fixed altitude instead of ground level.

google-earth-blog-hoteldulac

google-earth-blog-hoteldulac

So, to show off the 3D imagery available for US Parks. Including both the new releases and areas that already had 3D (which we looked at last October).

google earth blog HotelduLac

The interesting upside down triangle architecture of the Hôtel du Lac, Tunis.

google-earth-blog-sungaipetani

google-earth-blog-sungaipetani

google earth blog SungaiPetani

Constructions sites are the easiest way to work out the date of 3D imagery. This construction site in Sungai Petani. Malaysia. tells us the 3D imagery was captured since the most recent satellite image from January 2016.

As we have previously mentioned Google appears to be slowing down in terms of new area covered by 3D. However, they are doing a significant amount of updates of existing areas.

google-earth-blog-3dprogresschart

google-earth-blog-3dprogresschart

google earth blog DProgressChart

Note that a few of the most recent finds for this month are not included in the above chart, as we have not yet finished drawing the outlines.

To see the full coverage of 3D imagery in Google Earth and find out what other recent additions there are, download this KML file.

google-earth-blog-york-minster

google-earth-blog-york-minster

Google Earth Blog There are sites such as MarineTraffic for ships and FlightRadar24 for aircraft that let you see real-time data for a significant proportion of the world’s shipping and aircraft. But if you want any historical data it has to be paid for. We have long wanted to get hold of some historical tracks so we can write algorithms to find ships and aircraft in historical imagery. But we have not managed to find any source that provides such tracks free of charge.

google earth blog York Minster

York Minster in York, England.

The post Malaysia and Tunisia get 3D appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

3]]> http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/malaysia-tunisia-get-3d.html/feed 4 18660http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/global-fishing-watch.html http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/global-fishing-watch.html#respond Mon, 19 Sep 2016 10:52:46 +0000 http://www.gearthblog.com/?p=18644 Although it is not directly related to Google Earth, Global Fishing Watch does use geographic ‘big data’. So we thought it would be worth covering. Global Fishing Watch is a partnership between Google, Oceana and SkyTruth, which aims to track the world’s fishing fleets and monitor where they fish. This will help to identify illegal […]

The post Global Fishing Watch appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

4]]> Although it is not directly related to Google Earth, Global Fishing Watch does use geographic ‘big data’. So we thought it would be worth covering. Global Fishing Watch is a partnership between Google, Oceana and SkyTruth, which aims to track the world’s fishing fleets and monitor where they fish. This will help to identify illegal fishing as well as assist in the management of fisheries. Read more about it on Google’s Lat Long blog.

To use it, start here. It requires you to sign up to use it, but the signup process is fast and free. We believe the signup is required because of the sensitivity of the data. And they require you to acknowledge that you realise the data may be inaccurate, among other things. Learn what you can do and how to use it from the tutorial here.

They do not provide an API nor any way to export data to Google Earth. The data can be accessed by their research partners via Google Earth Engine. They state, however, that the underlying ship tracking data is a commercial data-set, so they cannot distribute it freely. We really wish that shipping data and aircraft data could be made available freely, but Global Fishing Watch states that it downloads 20 million data points per day, so whoever is managing the data collection must have significant costs.

google-earth-blog-globalfishingwatch1

google-earth-blog-globalfishingwatch1

Cruise ships represent a significant amount of area and deserve to be mapped, but because they move from place to place this poses an interesting mapping problem.

google earth blog GlobalFishingWatch

We came across this interesting track that follows lines of longitude (every four degrees). And then another ship takes over and continues the pattern further west. Was it doing some research as well as fishing?

The post Global Fishing Watch appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

5]]> http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/global-fishing-watch.html/feed 0 18644 http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/ships-google-earths-3d-imagery.html http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/ships-google-earths-3d-imagery.html#comments Fri, 16 Sep 2016 12:47:18 +0000 http://www.gearthblog.com/?p=18629 We have long had a fascination with cruise ships in Google Earth. Cruise ships represent a significant amount of area and deserve to be mapped, but because they move from place to place this poses an interesting mapping problem. Some time back we had started making a collection of placemarks for various ships in 3D, […]

6]]> We have long had a fascination with cruise ships in Google Earth. Cruise ships represent a significant amount of area and deserve to be mapped, but because they move from place to place this poses an interesting mapping problem.

Some time back we had started making a collection of placemarks for various ships in 3D, but never got around to completing it. In some cases, the name of the vessel can be seen in the imagery, but at other times, identifying it requires a bit of detective work. Yesterday, GEB reader Frank (not Frank Taylor), who also contributes outlines for our 3D imagery KML, sent us a collection of placemarks for cruise ships and ferries in 3D, which was much more comprehensive than ours. So, we have combined it with our collection and are providing it here in case our readers are interested.

Grab the collection here. We have implemented it as a network link and may update it over time, but do not guarantee that we will have time to do a lot of regular maintenance.

We found that a few of the placemarks we had created in the past no-longer have cruise ships at those locations. Also interesting is that some of the cruise ships in the imagery have since been sold and renamed or in some cases, such as the Sky Wonder, have since been scrapped.

A number of cruise ships appear more than once in the 3D imagery. For example:

google-earth-blog-norwegianpearlseattle

google-earth-blog-norwegianpearlseattle

Some time back we had started making a collection of placemarks for various ships in 3D, but never got around to completing it. In some cases, the name of the vessel can be seen in the imagery, but at other times, identifying it requires a bit of detective work. Yesterday, GEB reader Frank (not Frank Taylor), who also contributes outlines for our 3D imagery KML, sent us a collection of placemarks for cruise ships and ferries in 3D, which was much more comprehensive than ours. So, we have combined it with our collection and are providing it here in case our readers are interested.

google earth blog NorwegianPearlSeattle

Norwegian Pearl, in Seattle (west coast of the US).

The post Cloudy places are hard to photograph from space appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

10]]> In yesterday’s post we talked about Landsat imagery and how in some locations there are only a few cloud-free images per year. That was not entirely accurate, as there are some places where it is practically impossible to find a cloud-free Landsat image.

We were recently exploring the north-western area of Colombia (looking for circular islands). And noticed that the imagery there is of particularly poor quality. Most of Choco Province, Colombia, has no high resolution satellite imagery and instead uses the global mosaic. created from Landsat imagery. To make the global mosaic, Google took Landsat imagery captured over multiple years and searched for cloud-free pixels to use in the final mosaic. However, when we looked at the region with our Landsat animations KML. we found 49 images captured over the last three years. But they all had significant cloud cover.

google-earth-blog-abstractart

google-earth-blog-abstractart

google earth blog AbstractArt

Some areas look like abstract art. Another place with a similar problem – year round cloud cover – is the rainforest belt of Central Africa. In some places, Google has had to use Landsat 7 imagery, which we can see because of its characteristic stripes due to a faulty component on the Landsat 7 satellite.

google-earth-blog-riverknot

google-earth-blog-riverknot

3D imagery is above the default terrain, so intuitively one would expect relative altitudes to move upwards when you turn on.

google earth blog riverknot

We are not sure whether the above effect is due to just cloud cover. Seasonal changes in the water levels or the fact that the water colour changes over the seasons.

For an understanding of which parts of the globe have the most cloud cover, see this animation from NASA. Note that it is not images of clouds. But rather maps of the average amount of cloud cover over a month. We could not find a version for longer periods to find out which locations have near-permanent cloud cover.

Another place with a similar problem – year round cloud cover – is the rainforest belt of Central Africa. In some places, Google has had to use Landsat 7 imagery, which we can see because of its characteristic stripes due to a faulty component on the Landsat 7 satellite.

google-earth-blog-landsatstripes

google-earth-blog-landsatstripes

Because we cannot smooth them out without knowing what the ground altitude is at each point.

google earth blog LandsatStripes

Landsat 7 stripes.

The post Cloudy places are hard to photograph from space appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

11]]> http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/cloudy-places-hard-photograph-space.html/feed 0 18603http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/land-lost-vs-land-gained.html http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/land-lost-vs-land-gained.html#comments Tue. 13 Sep 2016 11:20:45 +0000 http://www.gearthblog.com/?p=18587 We recently came across this interesting article by National Geographic about a recent study of land/water changes over the last 30 years. The study is by researchers at the Deltares Research Institute, who used Google Earth Engine to gather and process the data. The data itself comes from Landsat imagery. Sadly, we were not able […] google earth blog NorwegianPearlMiami

The post Land lost vs. land gained appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

12]]> We recently came across this interesting article by National Geographic about a recent study of land/water changes over the last 30 years. The study is by researchers at the Deltares Research Institute, who used Google Earth Engine to gather and process the data. The data itself comes from Landsat imagery.

Sadly, we were not able to figure out a way to view the data in Google Earth. Was notable for being able to easily display maps in Google Earth. This is a pity, because we find Google Earth a much better platform for exploring this kind of data.

Nature Climate Change,. However, the data itself is published as a publicly available 2D map.

Most inland water bodies are quite seasonal, so we wonder how the researchers corrected for that. The Landsat imagery typically covers each spot on earth once every 16 days. This often means only a few good images per year. For the global mosaic used in Google Earth, many different images over multiple years are combined together to get the cloud-free image. But can vary considerably from year to year (more on this in a future post) This doesn’t apply to coastal land reclamation, which tends to be permanent.

google-earth-blog-koreareclaimedland

google-earth-blog-koreareclaimedland

The difference between relative altitudes and absolute altitudes is not always obvious. But in some cases it is important to get it right. We had a problem with this in the past when we created a script to draw arcs. If we used absolute altitudes the ends of the arcs ended up all at a fixed altitude instead of ground level. The eventual solution that we came up with was to use absolute altitudes and read the end point altitudes from Google’s Elevation API.

google earth blog KoreaReclaimedLand

Land reclamation near Seoul, South Korea, as seen in Aqua Monitor.

We have previously created animations of land reclamation and artificial islands being built. But we restricted ourselves to the time-frame visible in Google Earth historical imagery. Rather than the 30 years used in the above study. google earth blog riverknot

The post Land lost vs. land gained appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

13]]> http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/land-lost-vs-land-gained.html/feed 1 18587http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/remembering-911-google-earth-2.htmlhttp://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/remembering-911-google-earth-2.html#respond Mon, 12 Sep 2016 11:27:40 +0000http://www.gearthblog.com/?p=18571 We have done a number of posts in past years covering various aspects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent rebuilding of the World Trade Center, so today we will only be looking at some of the most recent changes. If you go to the site of the World Trade Center in Google Earth, […]

The post Remembering 9/11 with Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

14]]> We have done a number of posts in past years covering various aspects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent rebuilding of the World Trade Center, so today we will only be looking at some of the most recent changes.

If you go to the site of the World Trade Center in Google Earth, and turn off the 3D buildings layer.

2016. and shows 3 World Trade Center nearing completion. According to Wikipedia, the concrete core is now at its maximum height. We previously created a Street View slideshow showing the changes that have taken place over the years. We have updated it with the most recent imagery below.

google-earth-blog-wtc1

google-earth-blog-wtc1

Because we cannot smooth them out without knowing what the ground altitude is at each point. Oddly enough, this contradicts what it says on this page. Which states that Google Earth uses absolute altitudes for tours precisely because of the problems we are experiencing.

google earth blog WTC

Speed in milliseconds per image: World Trade Center 2 in the corner opposite the pools. And World Trade Center 5 on an adjacent block. See Wikipedia for more.

The post Remembering 9/11 with Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

15]]> http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/remembering-911-google-earth-2.html/feed 0 18571http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/weird-altitude-effects-google-earth.html http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/weird-altitude-effects-google-earth.html#comments Fri, 09 Sep 2016 11:54:35 +0000 http://www.gearthblog.com/?p=18559 Yesterday we made some Google Earth tours of various US parks. We recorded the tours using Google Earth’s built in ‘Record a tour’ button on the tool bar. And then navigating with a SpaceNavigator 3D mouse. Everything seemed fine until we played back the tours and found that some of them have bumps in them […]

The post Weird altitude effects in Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog. earthtopomaps.com

16]]> Yesterday we made some Google Earth tours of various US parks. We recorded the tours using Google Earth’s built in ‘Record a tour’ button on the tool bar and then navigating with a SpaceNavigator 3D mouse. Everything seemed fine until we played back the tours and found that some of them have bumps in them and occasionally some have quite severe up and down jitter. We found that these effects were actually part of the tours as they would occur in the same place when played again.

Thus Google Earth recorded the wrong altitudes when recording the tour. And when playing it back new altitude data is available. So it looks wrong. After much investigation. We do believe that is the main cause of the problem, but that there are other issues as well. google earth blog York Minster

We thought it would be interesting to try and fix the tours by using some maths to smooth out the altitudes. However. Smoothing them out may be difficult or impossible. Google Earth can store altitudes in two basic ways: relative to the ground (or sea floor). or an absolute measurement (from sea level). A third option is to leave out the altitudes and have objects automatically clamp to the ground level.

Because we cannot smooth them out without knowing what the ground altitude is at each point. Oddly enough, this contradicts what it says on this page. Which states that Google Earth uses absolute altitudes for tours precisely because of the problems we are experiencing.

As we noted in this post. when viewing areas with 3D, Google Earth shows the altitudes from the 3D imagery in the status bar. Or whether it uses the 3D imagery where available. What we found was surprising.

Typically. 3D imagery is above the default terrain, so intuitively one would expect relative altitudes to move upwards when you turn on. 3D imagery. What happens is the opposite. They move downwards. This is because.

The two scenes below illustrate what happens. In both cases we have some lines set to a fixed height relative to the ground:

17 August month-end post we mentioned that Monument Valley, Arizona / Utah was now in 3D in Google Earth. Several other US parks also received 3D imagery at the same time. What we didn’t realise at the time was the reason why. Google added 3D for several US parks at the end of August. It was because the US National Park Service celebrated its hundredth birthday on August 25, 2016. earthtopomaps.com

So, to show off the 3D imagery available for US Parks. Including both the new releases and areas that already had 3D (which we looked at last October). We have created some Google Earth tours, which you can view in Google Earth with this KML file. We have also recorded a select few of them in the YouTube video below:

Note that we haven’t created tours for every US park that has 3D. We have included outlines for the parks we know about that have 3D. If you notice we have missed any, please let us know in the comments.

For a map of all areas, not just US parks, that have 3D use this KML file.

The post US National Parks in 3D for centenary appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

18]]> http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/us-national-parks-in-3d-for-centenary.html/feed 3 18544 7]]> http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/ships-google-earths-3d-imagery.html/feed 2 18629http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/worldview-4-skysat-launches.html http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2016/09/worldview-4-skysat-launches.html#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2016 11:14:57 +0000 http://www.gearthblog.com/?p=18614 The next couple of days will see two significant launches for satellite imaging.                                                       The post Ships in Google Earth’s 3D imagery appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

Crystal Serenity in Livorno, Italy.

If you are interested in collections of ships visible in 2D imagery, be sure to check out the Google Earth Community transport collections.

The post Ships in Google Earth’s 3D imagery appeared first on Google Earth Blog.                                                                                                       Which have a resolution of 3-5 m per pixel. It is also better resolution than the best imagery Google Earth currently has for some locations, so we hope Google considers using Terra Bella imagery to fill in the gaps in Google Earth.

Which have a resolution of 3-5 m per pixel. It is also better resolution than the best imagery Google Earth currently has for some locations, so we hope Google considers using Terra Bella imagery to fill in the gaps in Google Earth.                                                                                                               This is not as good as WorldView-4’s 30 cm per pixel, but is better than Planet Lab’s Dove satellites.                                                                                  Norwegian Pearl, in Miami (east coast of the US). earthtopomaps.com     

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Google Earth Blog Earth Topo Maps Overlay was originally published on Earthtopomaps

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