See African Animals in High Resolution in Google Earth

Camels in Google EarthWhen Google first released the National Geographic layer to Google Earth last September, the African Megaflyover images were an instant hit. Sometimes people browsing the African continent in Google Earth will be surprised to notice a tiny image and zoom in close to find a really high resolution image of a village or animals. (Yes, shown here is a screenshot from Google Earth of an aerial photo of some camels). If you turn on the African Megaflyover sub-layer under the Gallery->National Geographic layer you will see about 500 little red airplane icons appear over the continent of Africa. Double click on the planes to zoom in and see what you find.
Someone named “Reggie98” posted a really nice collection of placemarks which has the photos of African animals categorized according to type and put into placemark subfolders. You can find: elephants, hippos, goats, flamingos, seals, and more. Simply open the folder “African animals” and you will see the list of animals, or double click on the photo icons as you zoom across Africa. This is a more informative and organized way to examine these wonderfully detailed photos from the National Geographic collection. This story was first posted in October last year, but most of you have probably not seen it.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. bmw97ic008 says:

    Here is one of the highest res photos I’ve seen on google. However, many of the people in the photo are looking upward. It makes me wonder if this was taken from an airplane/helicopter.
    “Donkeys and bicycles” lat=-3.00232201651, lon=33.0899494374

  2. bmw97ic008 says:

    Here are two images of the same spot. It is a large group of hippos. The photos are the same location but taken at different times and placed at two different locations on the grid. One of the images is turned about 90+ degrees (so that is fits with the flow of the river).
    If you look closely, you’ll see the same dead hippo in both images on the edge of the river.
    Image 1. “Mud, mud, glorious mud!” lat=-6.62940531979, lon=31.1369706802
    Image 2. “Ouch – stop pushing!” lat=-6.62889367994, lon=31.1360522686

  3. That’s really cool. I would love to watch them.

  4. Uh oh… this technology could put safari tour operators out of business. Thankfully, there is NO substitute for the real thing.
    Still, this is pretty cool technology… thanks for sharing.

  5. Jean-Marc says:

    I would like to know what layer the Google offices use in a lot of their lobbies, which include zooming into really cool things including those mentioned in the article above (Camels (Chad) or Hippos (Tanzania)), but also a random KFC sign in a crop in the US and a few other really cool places. I’m pretty sure it is not the National Geographic layer, but would love to be pointed in the right direction.

  6. You can see vultures and a dead hippo at -6.628823,31.13623
    The dead hippos kinda sad, but the vultures are kind of cool to see

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