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Tag: voyager

The Future of Google Earth Voyager

by Timothy Whitehead on Jul.14, 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 added some new Voyager tours titled ‘I Am Amazon’ featuring various stories from the Amazon. These tours are exclusively for the new browser-based Google Earth and the Android app. Read more about the tours on Google’s blog. This announcement came shortly after Google added Brazilian indigenous territories to their mapping products.

At the announcement event for the ‘I am Amazon’ Google Earth Director Rebecca Moore made an interesting comment to Reuters. She mentioned that Google plans to allow the public to share their stories via the Voyager platform at some point in the future (two to three years). This has led to speculation that it may become ‘the next Great social network’. It is certainly a great idea and we have previously suggested it when Google released the new browser based Google Earth.

So while we wait, what opportunities exist for sharing today?

Since the very early days of Google Earth, there has been the Google Earth Community, a forum where Google Earth enthusiasts share interesting locations and a wealth of information about them. However, the community is not integrated into Google Earth and is independent of Google.

Sharing geolocated photos can be done via Google Maps, and although accessing those photos in Google Earth classic currently doesn’t work, they are visible in the new browser based Google Earth. Panoramio, formerly the most popular way to share panoramic photos via Google Earth, was discontinued earlier this year and the photos will likely be removed from Google Earth this November.

Google Earth used to be partially integrated with Google Maps Gallery, a site where users could easily share maps. However, Google Maps Gallery relied on another Google product, Google Maps Engine, which was discontinued in early 2016, so there is no longer a good public map sharing site linked to Google Earth.

You can, of course, share your Google Earth content via any other platform in the form of KML files, which users can download and view in Google Earth. If you want to create Voyager-like tours for the new Google Earth, then be sure to check out the tour maker by geteach that we had a look at in April. If you want to create dynamic content that changes over time, then look into KML network links.

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Google Earth Live?

by Timothy Whitehead on Jul.07, 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 often get asked by GEB readers how to upgrade to the ‘live’ version of Google Earth. Unfortunately, no such version exists and all imagery in Google Earth is dated – and in many places, the latest imagery, both over-head and Street View (where it exists), is several years old. However, it is possible to see some live content in Google Earth. For example, Google has recently added a new Voyager tour to the web / Android version of Google Earth that features bear cams (web cams looking at bears). Read more about it in Google’s blog post.


The first ‘bear cam’ we looked at featured a bear fishing live on camera.

For more web cams, in Google Earth classic, enable the Gallery->Webcams.travel layer. Keep in mind that most web cams do not show live video, but instead, a series of images captured at intervals, and it is not unusual for them to be out of date. So be sure to look for a time stamp before assuming that the image you see is current.

The closest one can get to live satellite imagery is feeds from weather satellites (as are used to create the ‘clouds’ layer in Google Earth). An example is the Himawari-8 satellite over Japan. Weather satellites are very low resolution and are mostly only useful for viewing cloud patterns and snow cover. For higher resolution, Sentinel-2 imagery is often published within a day of being captured, but requires downloading and processing to view. Landsat imagery is another option, but often takes longer to be released. To find the latest imagery use our KML files: Sentinel-2 and Landsat. We recommend only opening one at a time due to the large number of polygons in the files.

It is also possible to see live views from the International Space Station but you typically cannot see much detail of the surface of the earth.

The post Google Earth Live? appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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New Google Earth Explorer Tours

by Timothy Whitehead on Jun.29, 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

The new browser based Google Earth continues to receive new content in the form of Voyager Tours. One recent addition is in honour of the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter book series and features a number of notable places relating to various Harry Potter films.


Platform 9 3/4 of Harry Potter fame.

Ten other Voyager tours were recently introduced in collaboration with National Geographic Society, PBS Education, HHMI Biointeractive and Mission Blue and focus on educational uses for Google Earth. One big benefit of putting Google Earth in the browser is that it is now available on Chrome Books, a special type of laptop that only runs the Chrome browser and no other native applications. They are popular in education and the absence of Google Earth on that platform was sorely missed by many.

In addition to the tours, National Geographic has put together some ideas for educators using Google Earth as a teaching tool.

We hope Google continues to encourage new content in the Voyager collection. We would actually like to see much more detailed and comprehensive content. For example, we would love to see the Explorers: Age of Encounter tour expanded to include other explorers from different dates and continents and to go into more depth for each one. We also found that it had not been thoroughly tested and at the time of writing, clicking on the PBS logo led to a broken link.

Note that the new Google Earth only runs in Google Chrome or as an app on Android.

The post New Google Earth Explorer Tours appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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The story of Saroo Brierley now featured in Google Earth

by Timothy Whitehead on Nov.23, 2016, 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 just updated the ‘Voyager’ layer to Edition 3. As soon as you open Google Earth on your desktop you will see a window featuring the story of Saroo Brierly. We have featured Saroo’s story a number of times in the past. In summary, he got on a train as a child in India and got lost. He was subsequently adopted by a Tasmanian couple. When he grew up, he managed to find his original home and family with the use of Google Earth. See the new Google Earth Tour for the full story. (NOTE: you can keep the window from appearing by turning off the “Voyager” layer before you exit Google Earth).

Saroo wrote the book ‘A Long Way Home’ about his experiences. It has since been made into the movie ‘Lion’ opening in cinemas from November 25th, 2016. The film stars Dev Patel (of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ fame), Rooney Mara, David Wenham and Nicole Kidman.

The updated Voyager layer also contains two sub layers: 3D cities and Satellite imagery updates. The 3D cities layer is not worth bothering with, as it only shows a subset of recent additions to the 3D imagery. If you want a comprehensive map then rather use our KML file.

The ‘Satellite imagery updates’ layer is certainly interesting, but again, is far from comprehensive, representing most likely only a single update, probably in late October or early November. The imagery featured is from a wide variety of dates, but mostly August to October, 2016, but it is not complete even for those months. Cape Town, for instance, has imagery from October that is not shown in the layer.

The voyager layers were first added to Google Earth in celebration of its 10th anniversary in June last year. Edition 2 was released in September of the same year and this is the first update since then. Sadly, Google has removed both previous editions.

The post The story of Saroo Brierley now featured in Google Earth appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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More about the Voyager layers

by Timothy Whitehead on Oct.28, 2015, 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 Google updated the Voyager layers in Google Earth. We have already had a look at the new ‘Animal View’ sub layer and the updated ‘Satellite imagery updates’ layer.

The ‘Earth View landscapes’ layer which shows the locations of the landscapes featured in the ‘Earth View’ Google Chrome extension, has not been updated and does not appear in Edition 2 of the Voyager layers.

The ‘Street View highlights’ layer has been updated with all new locations.

The ‘3D cities’ layer only shows recent additions of 3D imagery, rather than the complete set. It also does not include the very latest releases. It covers additions from July 1st, 2015 to about September 22nd, 2015. Edition 1 went up to the end of June.

We have already looked at the ‘Satellite imagery updates’ layer and noted that it covers recent releases but missed some releases since Edition 1 and there have been more releases since Edition 2.

Although Edition 1 of the Voyager layer is no longer displayed in Google Earth’s Layers it can be accessed by clicking the ‘Download’ link found in the Voyager layer. This copies the Voyager layer into your ‘Temporary Places’ and includes both Edition 1 and Edition 2 of the layers. You can then either save the layers as KML or move them to your ‘Places’. Note that if you wish to keep a permanent record in case Google ever removes them from the default Layers, you should save all the sub layers individually, as the main layer contains network links to KMLs and saving it will not save all the data.

The advantage of downloading the KML version of the Voyager layers is that you can then manipulate them, as we did for the ‘Satellite imagery updates’ layer or as you can see below, you can easily change the colour of the icons in one of the editions and then view the two editions together for comparison.


‘Street View highlights’ layer. Edition 1: dark purple. Edition 2: light purple.

The post More about the Voyager layers appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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What’s that image, Voyager Edition 2

by Timothy Whitehead on Oct.21, 2015, 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

With the recent release of the ‘Voyager Edition 2’ layers, including a map of recently added imagery, we can, as we have done for previous updates, have a look through the imagery to see if there is anything interesting. We forgot to mention in our previous post on the layer that the dates are all given as one day earlier than the dates displayed in Google Earth. We do not know which dates are correct.

A good place to start when checking to see whether imagery was captured for specific events is DigitalGlobe’s FirstLook map. Many of the locations on the map do feature relevant imagery in the latest Google Earth updates, but not all of the locations have anything interesting to see, or we were unable to find it. It must also be noted that the imagery is useful to first responders in disasters even when not much relating to the disaster is visible in the imagery. In fact, some of the imagery added is years old, but has been obtained to assist first responders as good maps or satellite imagery might not previously have been available.

Note that some of the locations featured are from imagery more recent than the Voyager Edition 2 map.


Flooding in Bulani, Pakistan.


Flooding in Rojhan, Pakistan.


The Hajj pilgrimage, Mecca, captured a few days before the official start of the Hajj.


Hellfest Open Air 2015 in Clisson, France.


Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.

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

The post What’s that image, Voyager Edition 2 appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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