Google Earth

Wednesday, 29th June 2005 by

Wow, Google Earth is pretty impressive. If you haven’t heard about this yet, it is a cut down version of Keyhole that Google have released completely free. Google bought Keyhole last year and most of the recent mapping technology has been based on their work. Fellow sightseers have reported that the image data in Google Earth is slightly older than the stuff on Google Maps, which is nice to know from our point of view (no pun intended). Of course, Google Earth has other features to put it above Google Maps. For some areas it has actual terrain data and it maps the satellite images onto a 3d mesh. This is demonstrated pretty spectacularly in places like the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. Google have also mapped out the major buildings in a lot of cities and these appear as 3d models, sticking out of the landscape. They aren’t texture mapped, which is a shame, but it’s still cool to actually fly around New York with the buildings towering above you.

James and Alex (being Apple hippies) are also not amused that it is only available for Windows. It’s difficult to tell whether they’ll release a non-windows version as Picassa (another company acquired by Google) is also solely Windows based.

I’m also working on a little script to serve up Google Earth formatted files for our ‘Sights’. Look out soon for a link on our posts that will zoom you to that point in your copy of Google Earth.