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Archive for May, 2017



A massive iceberg slowly forming – Larsen-C

by Timothy Whitehead on May.26, 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

For the past couple of years, scientists have been watching a crack slowly growing in Antarctica’s fourth largest ice shelf, Larsen-C.


The location of the crack. The arrow shows the direction of propagation.

We downloaded some Sentinel-2 images of the location and can see the approximate extent of the crack as of March 2017:

To view them in Google Earth download this KML file. Warning: older computers may struggle to load the images. We tried viewing the overlays in the new Google Earth, but it could only handle one overlay at a time. Trying to open both at once crashed WebGL.

The European Space Agency ESA (which runs the Sentinel program) produced this video showing how they used Sentinel-1 (a radar imaging satellite) to analyse the movement of the ice:

And for some aerial footage, see this video from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS):

While exploring the area in Landsat imagery we were struck by the beauty of the imagery. These two are our favourites:


Sunset in Antarctica.


Beautiful blue ice.

The post A massive iceberg slowly forming – Larsen-C appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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Placemark popups in the new Google Earth

by Timothy Whitehead on May.25, 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

Today we are having a look at some things you should know if you are a KML creator with the new browser based Google Earth in mind – with a focus on placemark popups. First, we must note that the new Google Earth is still very much a work in progress, especially with regards to KML support and we can expect major changes to the way it handles KML in the future.

The first thing to note is that the new Google Earth cannot access local files. This is a consequence of being browser based. Browser security does not allow web based applications direct access to files on your local computer. So, if you create a standard KML file which includes links to local images in popups or overlays and open it in the new Google Earth, you will not be able to see the images. If you save the file in the compressed KMZ format, then Google Earth puts the images in the file. That did work for image overlays but not placemark popups. We then tried uploading the KMZ file to Google Drive, as the new Google Earth has built in support for opening files from Google Drive. However, we found that trying to open KMZ files from Google Drive gives an error and only KML files could be opened that way.

Finally, we uploaded the image to GEB and linked it in the KML. When we did this, we found that the images did work correctly in placemarks and image overlays, but photo overlays appear to not be working at this time.

The next thing to note, is that when you place an image in a placemark popup, Google Earth does not know how large the image is until it is loaded. The consequence of this is that in Google Earth classic, the popup may be resized after the image loads. In the new Google Earth, this does not happen. If you close it and open it again, the image has been cached and it opens at the correct size:


Left: Opened for the first time. Right: Opened the second time.

The solution to this it to give the image an explicit size in your popup. An alternative would be to wrap your placemark content in a ‘div’ that has explicit style information.


Always include width and height for your images for better popups. This is true even for Google Earth classic.

Another option is to take advantage of the new popup options. We know of three new modes, ‘card’, ‘panel’ and ‘fullscreen’.

To use them, you have to edit the kml file and put one of these lines in the style information for a popup:

<BalloonStyle><gx:displayMode>fullscreen</gx:displayMode></BalloonStyle>
<BalloonStyle><gx:displayMode>panel</gx:displayMode></BalloonStyle>
<BalloonStyle><gx:displayMode>card</gx:displayMode></BalloonStyle>

See an example of how it is done by inspecting the contents of this sample KML file

The ‘card’ mode does not seem to render HTML:

Also, when you click on it, it opens it full screen. We have not yet figured out how to specify the image. We believe it is intended only for Google’s use and links to Google Maps data via a custom tag: <gx:mid>

The ‘panel’ mode opens in a side panel and we have seen GE Teach make great use of that mode. However, we found that using it on a plain placemark with a single image, it sometimes did not display the image.

The ‘fullscreen’ option displays the contents of the popup full screen and appears to work reasonably well with a simple image.

The post Placemark popups in the new Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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The Kurbu-Tash and Ayu landslides in Kyrgyzstan

by Timothy Whitehead on May.24, 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

In March this year we had a look at landslides in Kyrgyzstan and noted just how frequent landslides there appear to be.

Just a month after that post, two more major landslides occurred to the southeast of the region we looked at before. On April 24th a very large landslide engulfed the village of Kurbu-Tash, burying 11 houses, a school, a kindergarten, a mosque and a medical facility. Luckily, nobody appears to have been harmed in that event. Then on April 29th, a much smaller but more deadly landslide, killed 24 people in the village of Ayu. For more on both landslides, including ground level photos and video, see The Landslide Blog (1 2 3).

You can see before and after images using Landsat imagery on NASA’s Earth Observatory website. However, the latest Landsat image was not available on Amazon Web Services at the time of writing, so we instead got a Sentinel-2 image of the location. Here is a ‘before and after’ of the Kurbu-Tash event.

before
after

Left: CNES / Airbus image from Google Earth. Right: Sentinel-2 image dated May 19th, 2017.

The landslide flowed south to north, burying buildings near the end of its run. The total length of the landslide is around 5 km. Also note the small lake that has formed uphill from the landslide. This is known as a ‘landslide dam’, a topic we covered last year. Such dams can be potentially catastrophic if enough water builds up, overflows and suddenly erodes the dam.

The Ayu landslide is much harder to spot. In fact, we can see at least five other landslides nearby, some of which were larger.

This report states that prior to the Ayu landslide, the Osh region has had at least 25 landslides so far this year, killing six people.

For the locations above, including image overlays using portions of the Sentinel-2 image and the locations of the many landslides we found, download this KML file

The post The Kurbu-Tash and Ayu landslides in Kyrgyzstan appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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