New Google Earth Imagery – August 13th and 26th, 2014

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
Google Earth Imagery Update August 13th, 2014 Larger version

Google Earth Imagery Update August 26th, 2014
Google Earth Imagery Update August 26th, 2014Larger 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!

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.



Comments

  1. I’ve been following this Imagery Update page since I became aware of it a couple of months ago. It’s better than nothing, and at least it’s updated quickly. It’s a pretty poor replacement to the old KML file, otherwise. If you miss checking it, the previous update is lost to you. As far as the most recent update is concerned, I’ve been looking on both Google Earth and Maps for anything new around Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Ontario, and I see nothing in Google Maps or GE that hasn’t been there for nearly a year. Maybe it’s in the history layer, but the image on top is from October of 2013, and went up soon after that date.

  2. Timothy – thanks for your account of the issues with Google’s proprietary KMLs, experienced by some GEB readers without a resolution since the change from the previous KMLs sent to My Places, and hopefully this will encourage other readers to use the data while it is there.

    It is difficult to understand Google’s motives, and of course as ever they explained nothing at the time of change, but maybe someone will find a work round. On my Mac the KML remains in downloads after use and can be moved, but ‘self destructs’ once a new KML is available.

    Extensive areas of new high res imagery in parts of Europe are welcome, but there is the downside that when zooming to 200-150m eye level in straightforward aerial view in places with 3D imagery quality rapidly deteriorates into a sort of cubism, especially the trees. Novelty trumping serious applications?

  3. PS No problem now in 3D areas, 3D buildings layer inadvertently left on, oops

    New 26 August definitely now in Google Earth in my part of the world.

  4. One of these recent updates has fixed a locally serious shifted imagery problem in the Central Cascades of Washington State, US. I posted about it on a local hiker forum at http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8007660 . I submitted a bug but am not under any illusion that it got any attention and this latest update was just routine, but without the bad imagery shift.

  5. Pssst, the links to the bigger images have been reversed

  6. I sit in one of the updated areas and whilst I appreciate it’s not filtered into GE the link to the Maps site shows the same imagery, though if I untick the box in the top left hand corner it does change hue slightly, but no change that I can see as yet (I’ve also tried via the Google search engine) – am I missing something?

    • Timothy Whitehead says:

      Can you give me an approximate location, so I can check? Where I live (Cape Town), it seems they are reverting to an older date as the Google Maps imagery is older than the Google Earth imagery.

  7. I was just looking: it seems that they use older, better quality images, in GE.
    Try Totnes, Devon, England – the GE Maps link showing the regions simply has a hue change when unticking the box next to ‘Satellite and Aerial Imagery Updates August 26th 2014′ – I can’t figure out how to show historical imagery in Google maps, but looking at GE I suspect the Google maps imagery for my area is actually from 2007 (I did try in IE too as I have a lot of script blocking in FF).
    I notice a lot of cloud cover, and noticeably poorer quality, in GE for the latest imagery for Totnes

  8. sorry, I left a new post instead – oops

  9. Again, the advertized update is quite different and bigger than what was really updated around Maputo, Mozambique.

  10. Weird, the NYC and Myrtle Beach area are still old imagery (June 2010, in NYC’s case) even though they are indicated as having been updated.

  11. There has obviously been an update in historical image in the UK from 1940 in Kent. At least I haven’t noticed it before.

    • There are also historical images in Kent from 1960.
      In the 1940 images you can see the escort carrier HMS Avenger (D14) and the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (I49) at Chatham Dockyard. At Gillingham you can see a Royal Navy reserve fleet and at Rochester 4 bombers in low flight over the river.

    • Very impressive. Wonder what the source is? Higher res around naval areas suggests the Axis. But considering the Channel is the ‘frontline’ there is surprisingly little evidence of military activity, aside from places like Manston airfield.

      • Following finds I have made: You can see them at gearthhacks.com:

        1940:
        Aircrafts:
        1Avro Manchester at RAF Gravesend
        4 Hawker Hurricanes at RAF Biggin Hill
        25 Hawker Hurricanes at RAF Manston
        10 RAF planes at RAF West Malling, looks like 4 Supermarine Spifires and 6 de Havilland Mosquitos
        1 Short Empire flying boat outside the Short Brothers seaplane plant at Rochester
        4 Short Empire flying boats at Rochester
        Other not recognizable at some the below mentioned airfields

        Airfieds:
        RAF Detling
        RAF Eastchurch
        RAF Gravesend
        RAF Hawkinge
        RAF Headcorn
        RAF High Halden
        RAF Lympne
        RAF Penshurst
        RAF Ramsgate
        RAF Staplehurst
        RAF Swingfield
        RAF Woodchurch
        RNAS Capel with airship hangar, WW1 site

        Battleships and reserve fleets:
        Escort carrier HMS Avenger (D14) at Chatham Dockyard
        Aircraft carrier HMS Argus (I49) at Chatham Dockyard
        Royal Navy reserve fleet at Gillingham

        Hospitals and POW camps:
        Joyce Green Hospital at Dartfort
        POW Stanhope Camp at Ashford

        1960:
        Airshow at RAF West Malling

  12. On the Maps Gallery page I see that there has been an update at October 4th.

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