Google very quietly pushed out a layers update yesterday. I have some speculation on why they are being quiet – see below. Here’s what I’ve managed to determine was added with this update (with help from GEB readers):
Amsterdam 3D – As mentioned yesterday, Amsterdam has lots of 3D buildings. Most of the city is covered with very simple gray block buildings, but there are a few new high resolution buildings. I saw a blog entry from the Netherlands which alluded to the city having shared their GIS data for over 150,000 buildings, but I haven’t verified its authenticity yet. Read my post for more details. Here is a YouTube demo of the new Amsterdam buildings via Nederkaart (Dutch).
Forest Service – Check out the new sub-layer under the “Parks and Recreation” called “USDA Forest Service“. The layer includes outlines for the borders of all the national forest areas, nicely done placemark descriptions for each area with photos and links to more information, and – as you zoom in closer to each area – more placemarks appear showing campsites, ranger offices, winter recreation areas, lookout towers, and more. A very handy way of learning more about US forest areas! This layer goes really nicely with the “US National Parks” layer (which is right below it).
Taiwan Roads – Taiwan now has detailed roads if you turn on the “Roads” layer. Google just added detailed roads in Google Maps for Taiwan and a bunch of other countries at the end of April. If they already have added Taiwan to Google Earth, then the other countries can’t be far behind.
Panoramio – One GEB reader (named Siemen) says the Panoramio layer was updated.
DigitalGlobe logo – The DigitalGlobe satellite photo layers now sport a new logo when viewed in the layers pane. Minor little addition. The DG layers show where photos have been taken by the satellite company over the past few years.
Giant Building Removed – The giant building someone posted in the 3DWarehouse in Bratislava which got included in the 3D Buildings layer, has been removed.
So, why so quiet? Last year Google did major new announcements of new data and layers just before the Google Geo Developer Day and anniversary of the release of Google Earth. I suspect they are doing something similar for this year’s Google Developer Day on May 31. There hasn’t been an imagery update since March – so they are definitely saving up for that. So, look forward to a LOT of new data in about two weeks!