[UPDATED: 1230 ET – See also: New GE 4 Beta, New Satellite Photos]
As often happens when a new version of GE is being released, there are new updates appearing in the data first (A new beta version of GE 4 is expected out soon based on an announcement yesterday by Michael Jones at a talk in the UK). Last week we got a pretty large update to aerial and satellite photos, and now I’ve noticed the layers in Google Earth are being updated as well. The more I look, the more amazing this update appears. (By the way, these layers are viewable in all versions of Google Earth right now). I suggest you go to the Layers pane and look for some of these layers yourself. Here’s a summary of new content:
- New “Featured Content“: US National Parks (very nice layer with placemarks which have pictures of the parks), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has a world-wide layer of important places to our environment (see press release ). Updated to Discovery Channel World Tour (from just the National Parks one). Here’s a Google Press Release on this part of the new content.
- Whoa! Tokyo has 3D buildings! Turn on the 3D buildings layer. I wonder what other cities have 3D now? Update: Not just Tokyo, cities all over Japan have 3D Buildings!
- “Roads” – the Roads layer now lists a bunch of countries it covers including: Japan, Canada, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, UK, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Sweden, and “Other”. Still no sign of Australia and New Zealand which already have the road data in Google Maps.
- Looks like more cities have things like “Dining“, “Lodging“, etc.
- Check out the content for other countries for “Travel and Tourism” layer which includes. In Japan they have placemarks with local language content.
- Turn on the “Parks and Recreation” Layer. I don’t remember all this stuff for Europe. Isn’t it new?
- “Transportation” layer has a number of updates – mostly sub layers have been moved into this from other places such as “Ferries“, and “Gas Stations“. There’s also a new “Sea Ports” layer. Also, GEB reader Daan points out below that the Railroads layers are improved for London, Paris and Berlin and even have subway stations.
- “US Government” Layer – I don’t remember there being “US Senator” and “US Congressional Districts” sub-layers here. And I believe the City Boundaries sub-layer is new as well.
These layers of information are often overlooked when people are talking about other mapping tools. These layers represent a vast amount of information. Click on the placemarks and you will often find address information, links to web sites, and even pictures. And, occassionally you will even find useful advertisements.
I will update this list as I learn more. But, go exploring yourself and leave comments here if you find something interesting! Like this story? Digg it.