Google Earth offers an amazing way to view our planet, but when you zoom in closely the surface is actually made up of various tiles from imagery taken on different dates (here’s how that works).
For years this created a patchwork effect when you viewed the earth from high altitude, but earlier this year Google unveiled “Pretty Earth”, which greatly improved the view of earth from above. The difference is amazing!
When Google Earth was first released, the “Places” layer had huge list of items under it to select sub-categories. In earth 2010, Google removed the sub-items and created the smart “Places” layer that we have today. As you zoom in, more and more places appear, and it choose the most important ones to highlight first.
After quite a bit of user outcry, they added most of the old sub-categories back into Google Earth for power users to access. They can be found under [More] –> [Place Categories].
Back in 2006, Google added the popular photo-sharing website Panoramio to their “Geographic Web” layer. Over the next few months, the increased exposure helped Panoramio grow from 80,000 to over 400,000 photos.
Google acquired Panoramio in 2007, and by early 2010 (when co-founder Eduardo Manchon left) they had more then 20 million photos in their database! You can explore the photos at Panoramio.com or by enabling the [Photos] –> [Panoramio] layer in Google Earth.
Google Earth Plug-in
The Google Earth API was first released at Where 2.0 2008, and has allowed users to stretch Google Earth to do some amazing things. We’ve seen it used to show motorcycle routes, preview concert seating, assist after the Japanese earthquake, and it powers some awesome games such as Ships, “Drive the A-Team Van” and the GE Flight Simulator. You can see some other great uses of the API over on Paul van Dinther’s PlanetInAction.com.
What’s been your favorite use of the Google Earth plug-in so far?