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Google adds great new feature to Google Earth Pro 7.3.2

by Frank Taylor on Jun.21, 2018, 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

Yesterday Google released a new version of Google Earth Pro (for the Desktop version of Google Earth – not mobile) version 7.3.2. I’ve copied the highlights from their announcement post at the Google Earth and Maps forum down below. The new version addresses a number of issues with different platforms and features, but the most significant news is that Google has finally addressed a long-needed feature for manipulating places content in the sidebar. This has probably been the most frequently wanted feature by power users of Google Earth since it was first released. Yes, Google has finally implemented the ability to multi-select places content and drag and drop to different folders, or delete a multi-selected area. See screenshot of dragging and dropping items from one folder to another below:

Drag and drop

You can get the new version now by going to the Google Earth Pro for Desktop download page. Google will be automatically updating users who already have Google Earth Pro installed (if you allowed that during your installation).

It is good to see Google continuing to support Google Earth Pro on the desktop. Especially since the desktop version has far more features and performance capabilities verses the new web and mobile versions which has most of Google’s development focus these days.

Here are the release notes from the post:

What’s New In Google Earth Pro 7.3.2

Changes

Here are highlights of the fixes, changes and improvements we’ve made for this release of Google Earth Pro.

  • Places panel: multiple-item selection, moving, deletion; performance improvements.
  • Network security updates and fixes; improved certificate support.
  • CSV import improvements: support older Mac file formats, multi-line text fields.
  • Ground overlay editor: fix glitchy rotation, rotation handle positioning.
  • Print preview: fixed mouse-wheel zooming, display refresh problems.
  • International languages: fix missing translations, keyboard shortcuts, UI elements.
  • Tables tool: improved stability, layout, data synchronization.
  • Tour Guide is hidden by default, reflecting Earth Pro use case.
  • Windows: allow Earth to run concurrently in multiple user sessions.
  • Windows: improved appearance on high-resolution monitors.
  • Windows 64-bit fixes: joystick support; crash when hiding 3D buildings; COM application (e.g. Garmin BaseCamp) interface.

The announcement post also includes some notes that 32-bit versions of Google Earth will be automatically updated to 64-bit unless you specifically download the version you want on the provided link.

The post Google adds great new feature to Google Earth Pro 7.3.2 appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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Google Earth Pro 7.3.1 Released

by Frank Taylor on Jan.23, 2018, 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

Last night Google released a new version of the desktop version of Google Earth Pro version 7.3.1 (which is free despite the confusing “Pro” name). You can download this at the download page found here: www.google.com/earth/desktop/

This new version 7.3.1 represents some significant work by Google to add “bug fixes, performance and feature improvements, and security upgrades.” – as seen in the announcement post in the Google Earth help forum here.

I am showing the full release notes below, but I want  to explain some things about this version to those of you who might be confused about the different versions of Google Earth out there:

There are two distinct versions of Google Earth currently: Google Earth Pro (for desktop OSes: Windows 7+, Mac OS 10.8+, and Linux) and Google Earth  for Chrome and Mobile (web-based and Android/IOS). The web/mobile version is a new partial re-write of the original Google Earth software, but is much more limited in many ways – in particular because you can’t create content with it for placing on the Earth (read review of its release last April). The desktop version, Google Earth Pro, on the other hand has all the features for creating content derived from the last 13+ years of development on Google Earth, and provides you with a wealth of built-in layers and content, as well as many ways to view content (as documented on this blog since 2005). Eventually, Google says they plan to incorporate more features in the web/mobile version. But, until then, they plan to continue to support the more powerful desktop version of Google Earth Pro. [UPDATE: I should have said “three distinct versions“, because there is also Google Earth VR. But, only a small segment of population have access to high-end VR devices which can run it (Rift, Vive, and the new Windows VR devices).]

Since the web/mobile version is a long way from replacing the desktop version, it is important to thank Google for continuing to support Google Earth Pro. This new version 7.3.1 incorporates a wide range of bug fixes, security and performance enhancements, and even some new features (a condensed list is in the release notes below) for all operating systems supported. The actual fixes are too numerous (and for most too boring) to list, but Google has been listening to feedback on the help forum and fixing those which have the greatest impact. My favorite change happens to be the fix which supports higher refresh displays which run faster than 120Hz. Also, of particular note is support for Windows 64-bit version.

Release notes:

What’s New In Google Earth Pro 7.3.1

Here are a few highlights of the many fixes, changes and improvements we’ve made for this release of Google Earth Pro.

Changes

  • Windows 64-bit: 64-bit application
  • Windows: support for SSL client authentication with secure servers
  • Windows: stability improvements in DirectX mode
  • Linux: added support for printing, embedded video and sounds
  • Performance improvements with large KML files
  • Improved support for secure connections and handling of certificate errors
  • Polygons spanning the antimeridian no longer sometimes disappear
  • CSV import tool user interface fixes and better Unicode support
  • Repair Tool improvements
  • Elevation Profile tool measurements are now more consistent
  • Better translations throughout the user interface
  • GPS device live mode functionality restored
  • Fixed incompatibility with high-refresh-rate displays

Known Issues

  • Windows: upgrading from 32 to 64-bit application resets cache
  • “Tables” tool user interface, stability problems

The post Google Earth Pro 7.3.1 Released appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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Most Popular Stories About Google Earth 2017

by Frank Taylor on Dec.01, 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

Although this blog has stopped regular blog postings, Google Earth still has a legacy of amazing stories and content. This post summarizes some of the most popular content found by our readers during the year of 2017.

The top 5 most popular posts (from any year) on Google Earth Blog during 2017:

  1. Secret Mars Base Found in Google Maps/Mars – Google’s April Fools joke for 2017.
  2. Google Earth Live – proving that a lot of people think Google Earth has live imagery. This 2012 blog post still is a top find in searches. Read this for why Google Earth imagery isn’t live.
  3. How often is Google Earth imagery updated in the continental US
  4. Maintaining a map of 3D City areas in Google Earth
  5. Google Earth Historical Imagery – This 2009 article is a popular search result about one of GE’s most powerful features. Sadly, historical imagery can only be viewed with the desktop version.

The top 5 most popular posts from 2017:

  1. Secret Mars Base Found in Google Maps/Mars – This one makes this list too.
  2. New Google Earth Web Version Available Now – Announcement of new web version of Google Earth back in April. Read my review for more in-depth impressions.
  3. Google Earth imagery update outlines 2016 – Timothy Whitehead maintained a great archive of all the 3D City locations for Google Earth. Unfortunately, Google stopped supporting features he used to create it, and Google still isn’t providing information about the data themselves. It still is very popular and useful.
  4. New Google Earth version – showing that the desktop version of GE is still very popular.
  5. Wishlist for Google Earth 2017 – Timothy wrote an insightful list of technical wishes for Google to implement for Google Earth in 2017 last January. Unfortunately, Google has done a poor job of granting the wishes with only a couple having been partially met.

The post Most Popular Stories About Google Earth 2017 appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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Pictures from the ISS: Photos by Thomas Pesquet in Google Earth

by Timothy Whitehead on Jul.28, 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 a site called “Thomas Pesquet in Google Earth”. It features a KML file that includes over 620 photographs of Earth form the International Space Station (ISS) by French astronaut Thomas Pesquet that were shared through social media. The site and KML were created by Jean-Daniel Cesaro who has painstakingly geolocated them and put them in placemarks in Google Earth.

The photos range from relatively close up shots to sweeping vistas and night time photos. The site is in French, but the KML file is easy to find, so head on over there and download it.


Houston Texas.


The Soyuz Capsule seen over Southern Africa.


Aurora over North America.

To explore the inside of the ISS, see the recently released Street View.

The post Pictures from the ISS: Photos by Thomas Pesquet in Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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Seconds from launch? A prepped rocket on the launchpad

by Timothy Whitehead on Jul.27, 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

Yesterday we showed you a video created by satellite imaging company Planet of the launch of their most recent flock of Doves using a series of images they had captured from orbit. As we mentioned in that post, it was almost certainly a first for satellite imaging. After writing that post we were having a look around various Spaceports (also known as Cosmodromes) and came across this sight:


Space Launch Complex 40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on December 4th, 2010

We can see a rocket on the launch pad with vapour streaming off it as if it has just been fuelled and the support structure (known as a strongback) is tilted back as if it is about to launch. However, after some research we discovered that it is, in fact, a test firing and not the actual launch of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. The actual launch took place four days later on December 8th, 2010.

For more SpaceX related sights in Google Earth see this post.

Wikipedia lists the world’s Spaceports on this page but does not give coordinates. Those are provided as part of a longer list of rocket launch sites. We put the information into a KML file for you to view in Google Earth.

Of special note is Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia, which is still under contruction:

before
after

Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia, under construction. 2007 vs 2016.

Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center features this rocket on display:

Unfortunately, some of the locations we were interested in do not have recent imagery. For example, the European Space Agency (ESA) launches from the Guiana Space Centre, French Guiana in South America. The most recent image of the key launchpads is from 2001. Also, SpaceX is building a private spaceport near Brownsville, Texas, but the imagery is from January 2016 before serious construction started.

The post Seconds from launch? A prepped rocket on the launchpad appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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Satellite launch in satellite imagery

by Timothy Whitehead on Jul.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

A couple of weeks ago, satellite imaging company Planet launched a flock of 48 ‘Doves’, their low cost imaging satellites. They managed to capture imagery of the launch from one of the Doves already in orbit:

Read more about it on the Planet blog.

As far as we know, this is a satellite imaging first. The key to the achievement was already having a large number of satellites in orbit which enabled them to task a suitable satellite to capture the launch. Even so, they had to tilt it in order to get the shots.

Google Earth features many planes in flight in its imagery. Simply look through historical imagery near any busy airport and you will likely find several. So why is it so hard to capture satellite launches? Put simply, because they are so rare and very fast (the above YouTube video is just 11 seconds long). The chances of a satellite being overhead and capturing an image at just the right time are close to zero unless it is planned in advance as was the case with the Dove satellite.

If you are interested in launch statistics, the website Spaceflight Now has a launch schedule which shows planned launches and we found Gunter’s Space Page which summarizes and categorizes launches. It is possible that there are also classified launches not listed on the above sites.

Satellite launches are unlikely to ever be captured in aerial imagery as aircraft will be excluded from the launch area during launches for safety reasons. Video of launches captured by drones is becoming quite common, but this is not the sort of imagery that is suitable for Google Earth.

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Google Earth Imagery Update: Volcanic Island in Alaska and Fire in Russia

by Timothy Whitehead on Jul.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

Google has recently added some fresh imagery to Google Earth. It is currently only visible in the default layer, so there will be more to see once Google updates the ‘historical imagery’ layer as well.

Volcanic Island in Alaska
Bogoslof Volcano, located in the Aleutian Islands in the northern Pacific Ocean, erupted in late May. When it was first reported we had a look in Google Earth and there was no imagery at all of the Island. Google has now added a DigitalGlobe image captured in early May before the eruption.


Bogoslof Island, May 11th, 2017.

If we are lucky, we will see images of the eruption once Google updates ‘historical imagery’. DigitalGlobe did capture imagery during and after the eruption and you can see them here. The eruption altered the island quite significantly. According to Wikipedia, Bogoslof Island first appeared in 1796, and changes over time with each eruption and subsequent erosion.

Interestingly, we can see some animals on the beaches, which are probably seals or sea lions (Wikipedia lists both as breeding on the island). They can be seen in all the DigitalGlobe imagery and didn’t even leave during the eruption.


Animals on the beaches of Bogoslof Island, probably seals or sea lions.

Fires in Russia
In late May, there were several fires in the Krasnoyarsk Krai region in Russia, destroying 80 houses. Google has added some imagery relating to the event, but unfortunately it only covers one of the fires. We were able to find a burnt out building at a timber processing facility where one of the fires is believed to have started. It would appear this particular fire did not spread to the nearby town.


Burnt building at timber facility near Gorodishche, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia.

Another fire destroyed 30 houses in Strelka, which is just south of the new imagery. You can see an aerial photo of the damage in Strelka here.

To find the locations above in Google Earth, download this KML file.

The post Google Earth Imagery Update: Volcanic Island in Alaska and Fire in Russia appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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Colorising Black and White Historical Aerial Imagery

by Timothy Whitehead on Jul.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

We were recently contacted by Zachary Bortolot an Associate Professor in the Geographic Science Program at James Madison University. He has been developing a method of realistically colorising black and white historical aerial images. His method is automated and intelligently transfers colour from recent colour imagery of a location to historical black and white imagery of the same location. His algorithm appears to be able to handle changing landscapes although exact details as to how it does it are not given. Read more about it on his website.

You can also download some sample image overlays to view in Google Earth. Below are just small samples of the images, comparing them with Google Earth imagery. Be sure to download the overlays to explore all the imagery.

before
after

Colorized aerial image, Palm Springs, California, 1972 vs Google Earth image.

before
after

Colorized aerial image, Harrisonburg, Virginia, 1974 vs Google Earth image.

before
after

Colorized aerial image, Washington, D.C., 1951 vs Google Earth image.

In the case of Washington D.C. Google Earth has an aerial image from 1949 but the colorized image is better quality.

before
after

Colorized aerial image, Washington, D.C., 1951 vs Google Earth historical imagery 1949.

Most countries around the world have large collections of aerial imagery gathered over the years, much of which have never been digitised. It would be great to see more of this imagery in Google Earth and even better if it is colourised.

The post Colorising Black and White Historical Aerial Imagery appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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Google Street View goes to the International Space Station

by Timothy Whitehead on Jul.21, 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

Yesterday Google announced on its blog that they have added views of the International Space Station (ISS) to Google Street View. The Google blog post is written by Thomas Pesquet, Astronaut at the European Space Agency (ESA), who spent six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as a flight engineer. The ISS Street View is not currently available in Google Earth, so explore it here.

The ISS is in orbit around the earth and so does not have a specific location so Google has decided to place the Street View in Building 9 – Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The building houses mockups of every major pressurized module on the International Space Station. It is also not far from the Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center. The Mission Control Center is the building from which flight controllers command, monitor, and plan operations for the ISS.

Interestingly, one of the mockup modules has a user contributed photosphere and we couldn’t identify the equivalent module in the new Street View. If any of our readers can tell us which it is, let us know in the comments.

The Google Blog post incorrectly states that this is the first time Street View imagery has been captured beyond planet Earth. In fact, both the Moon and Mars have had Street View for quite some time.

Another interesting comment is that this is the first time that Street View has included annotations. This is such a new feature that it is not yet working on Google’s dedicated Street View site, only in Google Maps. Let’s hope the feature comes to Google Earth too – including the ability to annotate using KML.


Annotations in Street View is a new feature.

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Man made ‘Fairy Circles’

by Timothy Whitehead on Jul.20, 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

‘Fairy Circles’ are a phenomena that occurs in the Namib Desert involving circular patches of bare ground forming striking patterns visible in satellite imagery. We have looked at a number of similar phenomenon around the world caused variously by ants, termites and worms. Last month, we had a look at some Fairy Circle-like patterns in the Northern Cape, South Africa, and on reading the post, my sister Clare, alerted us to similar patterns found in northern Zambia.


Fairy Circle-like patterns in northern Zambia.

Closer inspection reveals the clearings are for cultivation:

The reason for the interesting pattern is the method of agriculture being employed in the region. It is locally known as the Chitemene System. The soils of the region are nutrient-poor. Trees are coppiced and the branches brought to a central point and burnt. The ash is then spread over the field, which fertilises the soil, allowing crops to be grown for several years. The pattern is caused by the need for a larger area than the cultivated field to supply the necessary vegetation. Fields are moved after a number of years. In the above image we can see fields of various ages.


In this image we can actually see the burnt areas in the centres of some fields.

Commercial farmers can afford to buy fertiliser so are less restricted. We believe the spottiness in the field below is due to termite activity.

We also came across a vast region that had recently experienced bush fires. We can see what appear to be termite mounds and the path of the fire appears to flow like water across the landscape:

It would appear that in some places, fields have been made around termite mounds. This presumably means the termites make the soil a bit more fertile. Strangely, this seems to be the opposite of what we see in large commercial fields that tend to have bare patches where termite mounds used to be.

For the locations featured above, download this KML file.

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