My Google Map Blog

Draco 3D compression library

by Timothy Whitehead on Jan.18, 2017, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Google recently open sourced a new 3D compression library called Draco. The new library promises high compression rates for 3D graphics and promises much faster page loads for web pages with 3D graphics.

It was apparently the Chrome Media team that developed the library, but we are wondering whether or not the Google Maps and Google Earth teams have taken note. Both Google Earth and Google Maps in ‘Earth’ mode would benefit significantly from better compression. We do not know what compression methodologies they currently use, or how that compares to this new library.

Google Earth benefits from having a cache, but as we found out when investigating how much data 3D imagery actually requires, the cache is actually quite small relative to the amount of 3D data available and unless your internet connection is blazingly fast, you will spend most of your time in Google Earth waiting for imagery to download and this is especially true for areas with 3D imagery. Better compression would not just speed up downloads, but also effectively boost the size of the cache – assuming the imagery is stored in the cache in compressed format.

Do any of our readers know what compression Google Earth and Google Maps currently use for 3D imagery?

The compression format for KML files is the standard ZIP format (when saved as KMZ).

2D imagery
Google Earth image overlays support .jpg and .png. When it comes to standard 2D satellite and aerial imagery, we do not know what it uses internally or what format is used to transfer imagery from the servers, but given that the Google Earth client has not seen any major version updates for years, our guess is that it is using rather out-dated compression. Google has put a lot of effort into 2D image compression formats, such as WebP, and Google Earth would probably benefit from those too.

The post Draco 3D compression library appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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CRAZY PRANKS FOUND ON GOOGLE STREET VIEW!

by StreetViewFun.com on Jan.17, 2017, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

It’s Tuesday and that’s YouTube video day at streetviewfun.com. Today it’s all about the crazy pranksters on Google Street View.
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Using artificial intelligence on satellite imagery

by Timothy Whitehead on Jan.17, 2017, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

We recently came across this interesting article which talks about how DigitalGlobe is applying AI to satellite imagery recognition.

Humans brains are still extremely useful, so DigitalGlobe also has a crowd-sourcing platform that can be used either on its own, or to train an artificial intelligence algorithm.

If you are interested in AI and satellite imagery then read the DigitalGlobe developer blog, which has a number of interesting articles, such as:

Detecting and measuring coastal change
Finding pools
Monitoring changes along pipeline routes
Detecting population centers in Nigeria


Detecting population centers in Nigeria. [Image: DigitalGlobe]

You can also sign up for a free evaluation account on DigitalGlobe’s AI platform GBDX.

Incidentally, we also found this comment in the article mentioned in the first paragraph above to be interesting:

DigitalGlobe also doesn’t release images of active U.S. combat areas.”

This at least partially explains the censorship (lack of imagery updates) of certain countries in Google Earth. It is not clear whether this is a decision made unilaterally by DigitalGlobe.

The post Using artificial intelligence on satellite imagery appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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I bet his insurance premium will go up next year

by StreetViewFun.com on Jan.17, 2017, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

A red Mazda RX-8 unsuccessfully tries to drive with a clamp on its wheel and ends up abandoning the failed attempt whilst facing the wrong way down a one way street. Ironically positioned outside an Insurance Company. Larger (thanks Steven)
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Possum

by StreetViewFun.com on Jan.17, 2017, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Larger (thanks Casey)
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Selfie

by StreetViewFun.com on Jan.16, 2017, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Larger (thanks Johan)
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Wish list for Google Earth for 2017

by Timothy Whitehead on Jan.16, 2017, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Here is our wish list for 2017:

  • Google has been making bug-fix updates to Google Earth, which have been very welcome (the crash that used to happen when moving placemarks was very frustrating), but there have been no new features added. We would love to see new features, or even a major update.

  • Google has recently shut down the Google Earth plugin / API. The main reason given for discontinuing it was that it relied on old technology called NPAPI that is considered insecure by browser makers and is being removed from browsers or made harder to use. We would love to see Google provide some alternative ways to control Google Earth via code and query Google Earth’s datasets. It could even provide information that could not be easily obtained with the old API such as imagery providers, or the boundary of a given image.

  • Given that the Google Earth plugin / API is now shut down, we will be unable to create imagery update maps. A few years ago Google would release update maps on a fairly regular basis. Over the last few years, however, it has only provided teasers in the Voyager layers, usually covering only a tiny fraction of all the updates that have taken place. It would be fantastic if Google was to resume publishing imagery update maps.

  • The yearly global mosaics of Landsat/Sentinel-2 imagery that were recently added to historical imagery are a welcome addition, but also come with some disadvantages. They make it much harder to explore historical imagery and in some places Google has got the settings wrong. We would like to see the altitude at which they fade out raised slightly and even better, the option to turn them off.

  • An interesting additional setting for the ‘historical imagery’ feature would be to allow the selection of a date range rather than the current maximum date. That way you could easily find all imagery within a given date range (especially if the Landsat / Sentinel-2 layers could be turned off).

  • The global mosaics are created by merging multiple images at any given location and as a result lose some resolution and do not show seasonal changes and events. It would be fantastic if Google could find a way to allow us to view the raw Landsat and Sentinel-2 imagery in Google Earth. The ideal would be to have a special layer where you could view them. Currently, although the imagery can be obtained relatively easily, it still needs to be downloaded, processed and then inserted in Google Earth. It would not be difficult at all to process all the imagery and make it work with Google Earth. The only issue is processing time and storage, which Google has in abundance. Google already offers the unprocessed data on Google Cloud. It could at least add processed ‘true colour’ versions to the database, even better would be to break it into smaller tiles.

  • With Panoramio being shut down in November this year, it is time that Google finally fixes user contributed Street View in Google Earth.

  • We would also love to see ‘historical Street View’ added to Google Earth. It currently only exists in the Google Maps version of Street View.

  • Better navigation tools for Street View would also be nice. Some ideas from Google Maps could be incorporated into Google Earth.

  • Google Earth has seen a number of layers being dropped. Other layers do not work correctly and are not being updated and maintained by the original data providers. We would love to see a revitalisation of the layers. Google could start by having a look at projects in Google Earth Engine such as the Global Surface Water Changes map.

  • Google Earth’s altitude data is often far from accurate. There is better quality altitude data available from open sources. We would like to see Google update the altitude data.

  • We are generally happy with the progress made in 3D imagery and hope to see this continue.

  • We would like to see more of the solar system planets and moons included in Google Earth.

  • We would like to see improvements to the Tour functionality of Google Earth. It is an underutilised feature of Google Earth, partly because it lacks flexibility and partly due to the lack of Tour creation tooling.

  • We would like the ability to save ‘My Places’ to the cloud and sync it with other computers as well as allowing simultaneous editing from multiple locations.


The blue dots of user contributed Street View can be seen in Google Earth, but there is no way to view the actual photos.

See our wish list from a couple of years ago here. A few of our wishes and those of our readers were actually fulfilled.

What is your wish list for Google Earth in 2017? Let us know in the comments.

The post Wish list for Google Earth for 2017 appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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Straighten the blanket

by StreetViewFun.com on Jan.16, 2017, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Larger (thanks Tom)
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It’s red

by StreetViewFun.com on Jan.16, 2017, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Larger (thanks Tom)
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Skydiving with Google Street View

by StreetViewFun.com on Jan.15, 2017, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Now you can jump out of an airplane on Google Street View. These images are from the business Skydive Abel Tasman in New Zeeland. Follow the Street View arrow down to earth. Larger
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