Google Maps has added a new view layer to its repertoire today. It's called terrain view, and as the name suggests, it lets you get a detailed look at natural geographical features, as well as man made ones, like buildings and landmarks. Unlike Google Earth, you can't zoom around and change eye level to see how high something is, but Google has provided some degree of rendering on the surface of the earth to give it a 3D look and feel.
As of today, Google Earth can finally tell you what the weather is like while you zoom around the 3D representation of our planet. The app has a new layer that lets you toggle cloud cover, Doppler radar, and conditions and forecasts, which will show you what's on tap in each region using information aggregated from Weather.com. There's also an "information" link that has more background about each of the services and links to download the 6- and 24-hour cloud animations, which can be controlled using playback buttons in the top right of your screen. It looks just like you've seen on any TV weather report, except you have complete control on the playback slider, and can drag is backward and forward ad nauseum to bend the clouds to your will (it's great fun).
I couldn't manage to get the "conditions and forecasts" sublayer to activate with the latest build for Windows, but maybe that's just me. Everything else works marvelously, including the Doppler radar that Google claims is "near real-time," which is a reasonable considering it's updated every 15 minutes--about what you'd find at most weather sites. The data for Doppler comes from Weather.com and is limited to the contiguous United States, with plans to roll it out to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Europe "shortly." All other regions of the globe are limited to cloud cover and forecasts, which Google pins at somewhere around 50,000 cities worldwide.… Read more
Politicians are famous (infamous, some would say) for setting aside billions of federal taxpayer dollars each year to bankroll pet projects in their home districts. Now it's possible to map precisely where at least some of those funds may be headed.
The Sunlight Foundation on Tuesday released a downloadable Google Earth layer that plots what it says are some 1,500 earmarks attached to a proposed U.S. House of Representatives defense spending bill. The Washington-based group describes its mission as promoting political transparency through use of Internet technologies.
Once activated, each project shows up on the layer in … Read more
Microsoft and Dassault Systemes have released a 3D building application for the Virtual Earth mapping program, the companies said Friday.
Virtual Earth-3DVIA will let people create 3D structures with textures and colors and share them with one other online. The models can also be tagged with real-life addresses or town information so that they can be viewed in Virtual Earth as they would be on a map.
The application is being released as a "technology preview," according to the companies, in order for them to get feedback for its next release.
The program could be a rival to … Read more
Tomorrow the Weather Channel is officially launching a new Interactive Local Maps service. If you live in a city where the weather tends to vary by several degrees while just a short distance away, this new tool lets you to scope out the lay of the land--literally. The tool uses The Weather Channel's HiRAD (High Resolution Aggregated Data) technology which pulls in its weather information from several different integrated tracking services.
Greer Park in upscale Palo Alto, Calif., isn't what you would call dirty.
Nor is it sprayed with graffiti, broken down, rusty or disheveled. In fact, nothing on the surface would indicate the need for a concentrated effort by Google employees and friends participating in Google's first International Cleanup Weekend, an endeavor born in part to publicize the MyMaps application and KML, the XML-based markup language used to make Google's interactive Web maps.
Yet here were eight of us, stooping to harvest bottle caps, gum wrappers and cigarette butts from the tanbark and grass at 9:30 … Read more
This morning's addition of a YouTube layer to Google Earth added a whole new dimension of utility to the popular mapping application, but if you're looking to take advantage of some of that geo-tagged video goodness without installing anything, there's Mappeo. This Portugual-based site offers up nearly the same thing as Google Earth, with the addition of a search tool that lets you limit the videos to a specific area by keyword. Admittedly the service falls a little flat when you compare it to the catalog of video clips you're getting with Google Earth. There's … Read more
If you were waiting for YouTube to roll out a maps feature to browse geotagged videos, the solution has come in the form of a new Google Earth layer released today. With the layer enabled, videos will pop up anywhere you are on the map and play on the video's page on YouTube if you click the thumbnail. PC users get a slightly better experience than Mac or and Linux users, as the videos will play right inside the application.
Like other layers in Google Earth, you need to turn this one on to start seeing videos. You'll … Read more
When Google first announced in 2006 that it had purchased @Last Software, and its Sketchup 3D modeling tool, there were few people more excited than Jerry Paffendorf.
Paffendorf was at that time the futurist-in-residence at The Electric Sheep Co., as well as one of the people behind the Accelerating Studies Foundation's Metaverse Roadmap project.
And he saw, even early last year, that folding Sketchup into Google could mean magic for virtual world developers, since it meant there was a high probability of a 3D, social virtual environment built around Google Earth.
As a futurist, Paffendorf was spot on: Virtual … Read more