Five Years of Google Earth Blog

Google Earth was released by Google in June of 2005. It was based on a product Google acquired when it bought the company called Keyhole in the fall of 2004. At the time GE was released, I was looking to learn about blogging and was searching for a topic. Google Earth was a perfect match for my criteria because I’ve worked with satellite and aerial imagery, have worked for many years in 3D computer graphics, have been a heavy GPS user since they came out, and Google Earth was my new favorite software product (and still is five years later). So, in July of 2005, I started writing this blog.

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Google Earth has grown by leaps and bounds since 2005. Google has poured many milions of dollars into not only developing the software, but even more so into developing new data for Google Earth. There are many new kinds of data in Google Earth including: Street View imagery, photos from Panoramio, Wikipedia data, billions of points of interest data points on places of business, weather data, the night time sky, the Moon, Mars, and much more. Google also has 3D data now for the Earth’s oceans along with many layers of information about the ocean and the life that lives in it.
When GE was first released, many countries had only low-resolution satellite imagery – with the possible exception of a few major cities. Today, nearly every city on the planet has high-resolution satellite or even aerial imagery. In fact, most countries now have most populated areas in high resolution, and the rest of the country in medium resolution satellite imagery. Many countries are completely covered in high resolution data. Only a few limited unpopulated areas still have low-resolution imagery. Now nearly everyone on the planet is able to search and find the places they’ve lived in Google Earth. Thanks to the historical imagery layer, you can even turn back the clock in many places and see locations at different points in time.
When I first chose to write Google Earth Blog (GEB), I didn’t expect to keep it going for five years. I knew Google Earth would be an extremely popular product. Over the years, as I saw Google’s continual commitment to growing the product and data, I knew it could continue to be popular for a long time. I was amazed when looking at GEB’s statistics that people literally all over the world were reading my stories about Google Earth and the amazing applications people have made with the versatile product. In fact, by 2006 nearly five million unique visitors had read Google Earth Blog, and we have reached over 6 million readers since that time. I’m especially grateful that a significant number of several tens of thousands of people are regular readers of the GEB as well.
I’m glad Google Earth has continued its popularity. I had already been planning a trip around the world by sailboat, and since November of 2009 have already traveled over 10,000 miles from North Carolina to French Polynesia (read about the Tahina Expedition). Google Earth has played a huge role in my travels. For years I’ve been researching places to go with Google Earth and planning routes. Now, as we travel, I’ve been thoroughly documenting our trip by showing our GPS tracks and route plans, GPS tagging all our photography, and I’ve even taken my own super-high resolution kite aerial imagery which is being put into Google Earth (see BBQ island for example).
Until 2009, I wrote all the blog posts myself. But, at the start of my trip, I recruited Mickey Mellen to continue to write GEB while I concentrated on my travels. I think he’s been doing an excellent job of maintaining GEB in my absence, for which I’m very thankful. I also want to give a big thank you to the support I’ve received from many people who are fans of Google Earth and the GEB who have continued to forward story ideas and tricks they’ve learned with the program. Way too many to mention individually. And I would like to give my biggest thanks to the very large team of Googlers who have worked on and continue to grow Google Earth and its related products and data! They are the best development team on Earth!
Captain Frank Taylor
Google Earth Blog – http://gearthblog.com
Tahina Expedition – http://TahinaExpedition.com

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.



Comments

  1. Neutravo says:

    Congrats! Updating a blog during five years is a great job. In 2015 I hope be able to read here too.

  2. Happy Birthday, Frank and Mickey. Here’s to the next five years:-)

  3. Happy Birthday GEB!! And congratulations to you Frank for these 5 years! Congratulations for the interest and dedication you put in it everyday since then. And congratulations for Google, specially for this product: Google Earth which is – for me – the best platform to begin to dream about and build a new world: a world where people are more committed to the health of the planet, a place that allows us to almost instantly knows the “whats” and “where”, a platform where we all, democratically, can show our ideas, projects, photos, 3D models, stories about any place in the world to all the rest of the people, a place where we all could know about other people and began to love them. That´s the importance for me of Google Earth.

  4. Congrats! I follow your GEB entries for a long time now and I wish you all the best for the next five years! Fair winds and following seas ;-)

  5. Happy Birthday GEB!!

  6. Congrats Frank!
    Reading your blog has become a daily ritual! Thank you for consistency and quality in post.
    Darian Robbins

  7. Many congratulations Frank and Mickey on the fifth anniversary of a really useful blog which is an essential daily read for any GE enthusiast, particularly for information which Google don’t always issue themselves, and for being a global focus for user comments which I think do sometimes influence Google. Keep up the great work.

  8. SeaMouse says:

    Congrats, guys! I’ve been reading GEB most days for quite a few years now, and probably will do for quite a few years more. It’s still a small moment of pleasure when I first see a “New Google Earth Imagery” blog entry :-]

  9. Maarten says:

    Thanks so far! You do a great job! Looking forward to the next five years.

  10. Hi GEB,
    Always like your GEB posts. Especially updates on Google Earth images and Street View.
    Will there be any more new countries soon to get Street View?
    Anyway keep up the good work. You rock !! :)

  11. Congratulations, Frank! I’ve been obsessively checking GEB several times a day for four years now. Thanks for making the daily grind a lot more interesting.

  12. I agree but it would be nice if you could make a one-time only approval hold so that more people will feel inclined to post here.
    For 6 million readers I sure don’t see very much posts and I believe the Anti Spam measures are back-firing in a way.
    Errr I don’t know how to word it.

  13. Luís Rochinha says:

    Congratulations from a daily reader from Angola and Portugal. :D

  14. Congrats!!!!!!!!, you have done a lot of great work with this blog, and I hope to continue hearing about this blog for another 5 years more!
    Congrats Frank!!

  15. Good job Frank, keep it so. Greetings from Romania.

  16. Noel Ballantyne says:

    Congrats Frank and Mickey. Keep up good work and all best in future

  17. Happy anniversary Mickey and Frank! Five years on and still an essential daily read!

  18. It’s especially gratifying to hear comments from so many regular readers who have been following and contributing content to GEB! Thanks guys!

  19. My favorite reading part of this blog is the Google games and the Street View imagery updates which they seem to have stopped.

  20. first of all i want to say congratulation and after that great job to maintenance this googleearthblog
    I have this weird like thing with abandoned theme parks. I find them interesting, anyway I thought this would be cool to see on google earth. I know its in Japan, and I plan to go there over the next 2 – 3 years and I think it would be a mad place to go check out, if its still there.
    If not any other weird google earth things? They are keeping me amused at this very moment :3

  21. Kyle – Google suspended Street View image capture while “equipment” which had been capturing private WiFi information, for reasons so far unexplained, was removed form the cars. Google recently issued an apology (see 8 July post on the LatLong blog), but capture appears not yet to have recommenced. (All this of course has no relation to the fifth anniversary of the excellent GEB.)
    Street View coverage and where cars are driving can be checked here ttp://maps.google.com/intl/en_us/help/maps/streetview/where-is-street-view.html

  22. Do you have the links again to the Google communites? I wantto add them to my favorites.
    As usual. Everytime I like something Ihave a magnet that makes my intrests suddenly stop like this problem.
    Story of my life it seems. :(
    I won’t interact with those communites as I always cause life around me to break down.

  23. I am surprised this blog hasn’t had major *unexplained* server issues since I usually have a curse for that to happen.
    I guess I don’t post enough on here to make it happen. :)

  24. I can’t imagine having Google Earth around WITHOUT your blog. I refer to it constantly, and I point my teachers to it every chance I get. VERY well written and FULL of great stuff.
    Congratulations

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