Peru Earthquake – Last night Lima, Peru was near the epicenter of a 7.9 magnitude earthquake. You can see the earthquake (and the aftershocks) in the real-time Earthquake monitoring tool for Google Earth developed by the USGS (see earlier story). The size of the placemarks indicate magnitude, and the color indicates recency. It updates automatically to show you the latest world-wide seismic activity. In addition, another useful way to monitor earthquakes and other disasters going around the world is the Global Disaster and Alert and Coordination System (GDACS.org). They have an excellent Google Earth KML for visualizing current world-wide disasters . The only drawback to it is that they have a problem with their KML which causes it to fail in a network link, so you have to re-download the file to get the latest.
Virtual Earth Update – Microsoft continues to release gigantic amounts of imagery and 3D building collections to the public. I have to say that Microsoft is definitely keeping pace with – if not challenging – Google with the amount and speed of imagery and 3D data they are releasing. Microsoft’s most recent update adds 71 US cities, and 31 European cities with Bird’s Eye imagery, and two new cities with 3D buildings: Montreal, Canada and Toulouse, France. Check out the full details, with links to most of the locations, from Microsoft. DigitalUrban blog has already produced a video showing a fly-through of the Virtual Earth Toulouse 3D buildings:
Stefan’s Alps Hike – Stefan Geens of OgleEarth has posted his approach to geotagging and sharing photos from his recent hike in the Swiss Alps. He points out a couple of approaches to getting the photos into Flickr and then creating KML files. He also doesn’t fail to point out that Google Earth’s high-quality 50 cm resolution imagery combined with 10 m resolution terrain make the Swiss Alps look close to real life. Stefan used his Nokia N95 to take photos, but chose not to use the GPS in the phone due to its appetite for battery energy. He packed a portable GPS instead, but unfortunately it was stolen while on the way to the mountains. So, he doesn’t have a GPS track. Given enough encouragement he could use Google Earth to pretty easily show us the trails he took. On a related note, check out the way I documented my recent holiday in the Virgin Islands where I chartered a sailing catamaran.