[NOTE: for the “Rumsey Historical Maps” you must be running the latest Google Earth 4 (released November 1st). Download here. Also, you may have to change the “Tools>Options>General>LanguageSettings” to “English“.]
Google has quietly introduced four new Featured Content Layers today. Go to the Layers on the lower left and look for “Featured Content“. Open the folder and look for the new layers at the top. Each is marked with a red “New!“. Here’s a brief overview of the new layers:
- Rumsey Historical Maps – This is a collection of historical maps which you can overlay over their location on Earth. If you are not running Google Earth 4, you will not see this layer. Open the folder and turn on the map that interests you. The first link shows you the locations of the different map and each description gives you a few details. You can then turn on each map and they will be overlayed in GE. The maps are “regionated” which means they will load more detail as you get closer (it also means the images are scanned at a very high resolution). I’m sure some of my mapping friends like Jonathan Crowe will be curious to see these. See Rumsey’s Google blog entry about the maps.
- Tracks4Africa – this is my favorite of the new layers. There are maps of places to go in Africa built by compiling data from GSP tracks. The layer also has lots useful information and photos. Zoom in closer to see more detail. You can read more, and buy the maps for your GPS, by going to Tracks4Africa‘s web site.
- Spotlight on Africa – This is a collection of placemarks showing the flag of each country of Africa. The placemark description includes an overview of basic information of each country from the CIA World Factbook. The placemarks were developed by the National Geographic My Wonderful World campaign to help kids become more geographically aware. This is nicely done, but you can see the whole world done in a similar fashion in this collection.
- European Space Agency – this layer shows ESA logo placemarks of different locations where a satellite photo can be viewed of that location. A small picture is in the placemark description, and a link to a page where you can see a larger picture. I am disappointed that you can’t just view the larger pictures overlayed in Google Earth though.