Google Satellite – Google has made an exclusive arrangement with GeoEye that Google will be the exclusive online mapping firm for imagery from their new satellite – which is scheduled to launch this week (on September 4th). This follows a similar arrangement Google has had with DigitalGlobe, another satellite company, for years now. Not only that, as part of the deal, Google’s logo is being flown on the side of the rocket. The new satellite is capable of up to .41 meter resolution, but by law Google will be limited to .5 meter/pixel resolution. This is still VERY good resolution, and a bit better than DigitalGlobe’s typical .6 meter imagery. It will probably be a few weeks or more before the new GeoEye satellite is operational, and a few weeks beyond that before Google processes any of the new imagery for the Google Earth/Maps databases. via CNET, and DigitalEarthBlog.
Hurricane data – Google announced a layer added to the Weather layer folder for Hurricane Gustav early yesterday showing a forecast track, web cams, and linked to other weather data available for Google Earth. In particular, they pointed to another nice storm tracking tool from the Naval Research Laboratory. The KML file for Gustav from the NRL has more data if you open the placemarks of the track (my favorite are the visible satellite photo links which actually provide high resolution satellite overlays). See more storms from NRL (look for the orange KML links). Look for the link at the top of the GEB home page for more links to storm tracking tools for Google Earth.
Real-time Satellites – Got an E-mail from an engineer named Matt Amato at Analytic Graphics, Inc. who has produced an excellent network link which shows in Google Earth the real-time positions of all ~13,000 satellites tracked by US Strategic Command around the Earth. AGI processes the satellite data and this KML makes it easy to visualize all at once. Check out this really cool KML file showing all the satellites . I may have to write this one up separately later.
GEC Layers? – Over the weekend, I got several complaints from folks who noticed that the Gallery->Google Earth Community layers folder has lost all the sub-layers which differentiated the types of data from the GEC. Some were actually glad because it actually seemed to speed up their Google Earth experience. However, it appears to me a lot of the data has just gone missing. Was this an accidental removal? Or is Google actually eliminating a lot of useful placemarks by many members of the GEC?