We told you a couple of weeks ago about an imagery update on August 5th. Since then, Google has done at least two more updates, on August 13th and August 26th. Thanks to GEB readers André and ‘Munden’ for alerting us.
Google has updated their map and the second one was a particularly large update. As of this writing, the last update is in Google Maps but not yet in Google Earth.
Google Earth Imagery Update August 13th, 2014 – Larger version
Google Earth Imagery Update August 26th, 2014 – Larger version
Oddly enough, there doesn’t seem to be any way to permanently save the KML for the map so the only record I have of the August 13th update is a screen shot (top image above).
It is possible, from the Maps Gallery page, to download a KML. However, it contains a special type of network link proprietary to Google which displays the KML in ‘Layers’ rather than ‘My Places’, which is where KMLs loaded into Google Earth normally appear. Also, it doesn’t work in older versions of Google Earth. Most importantly, it does not remain across sessions and there appears to be no way to save it. Furthermore, being a network link, even if you save the downloaded KML, when Google updates the map, what you see is the newest map and you can no-longer view the old map. I am guessing that the purpose of this special type of network link is to allow Google Earth Enterprise customers to enable their users to view their maps without allowing them to copy all the data as KML.
Another interesting aspect of this update is some patches of imagery off the west coast of Australia in the region of the search area for Flight MH370. Google Maps does not show imagery in the oceans by any mechanism that I know of. Google Earth does show imagery in the oceans if you turn on ‘Historical Imagery’, but since the update is not yet in Google Earth, there is currently no way to view this imagery!