Google Earth has so many features that its hard to keep track of all its capabilities. Some of the features are almost hidden (like the built-in flight simulator) and others require some developer skills to implement. One of the latter examples are Google Earth’s time animations – which first came out with GE version 4.0. Using time animation KML, you can make Google Earth visualizations that animate something over time – animations of 3D objects, image overlays, or other data (e.g. placemarks, lines, polygons). There really are some very cool things you can do with GE time animations.
One caveat to Google Earth’s time animations is that they can be a little tricky to use. Some important options for time animation even disappeared with GE 5. Hopefully a future version of Google Earth will help eliminate some of the problems and make them more functional. But, even with the drawbacks, the time animations are worth exploring.
Below I list several cool examples of time animations done so far with Google Earth. Once you load an example, hit the “PLAY” button in the time slider in the upper left to start. I recommend you delete the folder containing each loaded time animation after viewing. This will help avoid confusion and save system memory. Also, it may take several runs through an animation before all images/data load. So, give the animation a chance to load before judging how well it works. The following are some of my favorite time animation examples – follow the “blog entry” link for each to read more information and tips: