Watch Remote Control Plane with Camera Capturing Real-time Images for Google Earth

Check out this really cool video showing a guy launching a small unmanned remote control aerial vehicle with a digital camera used to capture images and then show the images in Google Earth.

The company Pict’Earth, has released these videos on their web site. The guy can view the images in real-time with VR goggles. Later, the images can be shown in Google Earth. This has got to be one of the cooler things I’ve seen done with Google Earth! And, there are some real practical uses of this technology. Google should take note. This technology could be a much less expensive way to acquire very-high-res data for certain situations – particularly for special events.
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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.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.


  1. Nice Article and good Video.

  2. Hey,
    what a cool invent for Google Earth. Hope your idear succeed.

  3. I have translated this post into german.
    Here is my Trackback:

  4. Since Google Earth has a layer specifically devoted to UNESCO World Heritage sites around the world, I thought users might be interested in learning about ways to promote and preserve World Heritage sites, and how to enter a photo contest to win a free trip to a Mexican World Heritage site!
    I just came across this great website that aims to protect World Heritage sites, and RIGHT NOW, Friends of World Heritage is sponsoring a photo contest with an absolutely amazing grand prize! Win a 10-day, all expenses paid trip for two to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, home to five World Heritage sites. Send Friends of World Heritage ( your best shot from a World Heritage site and write a brief personal statement describing your experience to enter. No professionals can enter so people like you and I have a real chance!
    I’ve already entered my photos from the Grand Canyon and Machu Pichu – best of luck!
    From the Statue of Liberty to the Galapagos Islands to the Pyramids of Egypt, World Heritage sites are sources of life and inspiration. Friends of World Heritage is a grassroots initiative working to promote and preserve the 830 natural and cultural wonders designated as World Heritage sites for future generations to enjoy. Check to see if you’ve already been to one of the 830 sites worldwide and enter today!
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  5. Great work! I see this solution as optimal data mining for small AOI. We can make very hi-res images and use this with GE.

  6. Military applications of aerial surveilance could reduce risk to life and limb.

  7. What’s the music in this video?

  8. Joe Smithson says

    what’s that song? it’s great!

  9. The song is “Everybody” by Martin Solveig. According to my phone.

  10. Does anybdy know what equipment is being used, ie the drone,cam,video transmitter?
    Also the song is everybody by martin solveig according to google 🙂

  11. That’s amazing, any info on how to set up something like that or is it expensive?

  12. The song is by Martin Solveig, titled, of course, ‘Everybody’ here is a link to his site

  13. Artist: Martin Solveig
    Title: Everybody
    Everybody run,everybody knows,
    Everybody pull the gun,everybody rolls,
    Everybody skip,everybody choose,
    Everybody sticks and everybody loose,
    Everybodys favours,everybody waits,
    Everybodys gorgeous and everybody fakes,
    Everybodys screaming,everybodys blind,
    Everybody could be dying,anybody fine.
    Is this a mirror of myself,
    Am I somebody else,
    I don’t wanna be…everybody!
    Everybody run,everybody knows,
    Everybody pulls the gun,everybody rolls,
    Everybody skips,everybody choose,
    Everybody sticks and everybody loose,
    Everybodys jealous, everybody objects,
    Everybodys anxious, everybody forgets,
    Everybodys asking for everybodys aid,
    Everybodys bonking unless everybodys paid
    Is this a mirror of myself,
    Am I somebody else,
    I don’t wanna be…everybody! (x2)


  15. It is unclear to me if these images are really usable by Google Maps. To be of use for anything except pretty pictures, I think that aerial images need to be georeferenced…it must be possible to determine the lat and lon of every pixel in the image. Hanging a GPS on the plane is a start, but doing the actual georeferencing takes time and skill, and you have to know the lats and lons of some reference points on the ground. Planes, both model size and the real ones used for aerial photography, rock and roll during flight and this has to be accounted for afterward.

  16. That song is rad, but seriously… this article is about google… use it.
    Martin Solveig – Everybody

  17. I vote for worst song ever.

  18. Amazing stuff.
    It is amazing how quickly functional technology is being utilized today.
    The problem is the utilization of such technology.
    It can be used for good – say agriculture or weather forecasting in the 3rd world or instead to guide terrorist weapons simple and accurately for devastation and terror.

  19. i wonder when someone will add a small HD camera to this… i own a sony HDv cam, and i wonder how much bigger a small RC plane has to be in order to to this with real HIGH REZ video… the pict’earth people do it with SD PAL equipment, but with HD one could have 6times the resolution, that would really awe me;-)
    but respect for what they’ve done so far.
    the cam has to be stabilized and higher rez in the future… RC planes are capable of doing this, the plane they use is pretty small, good for low cost, but bad for all other tech specs…

  20. UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are great platform for aquisition of Aerial Photograpy.
    But there are few concerns…
    1. It only works for small areas – limited
    altitude and range
    2. Stabilisation and georeferencing is a problem
    3. Putting images togather is not easy without specialized software – creating moisac

  21. From PictEarth staff
    Hello we have been working on PictEarth for more than a year now.
    First of all to answer technical questions : there is one video camera (low res) with images streamed down real time to the ground. This is what we use for live update. But a digital camera shoots 7 – 9 megapix images at the same time. In post process we get images from the camera. With these images we can go as low as 3 cm resolution.
    Second point : we get a very good mosaic but for fine results images can be post processed. This has been our job for the past 5 years so we know what we are doing…
    We can provide the full packaged solution : from the UAVs to the video goggles, software, fine correction services… to meet your exact needs.
    We have worked so far on many applications : agriculture, archeology, indistrial areas, road surveillance…
    If you have to fly bigger areas, we also offer a regular plane platform but often projects fit into the UAVs possibilities.
    It is true that satellites do incredible job with very fine res, on big areas. But our idea is : how worth is the information if it is not fresh, if you do not control the source? Do you buy last month’s news paper? How do you do if you need a regular update on a specific high value area? Do you buy a full Ikonos every week? This is where we stand : provide high temporal and spatial resolution on specific areas of interest.
    All your critics, suggestions and projects are welcome

  22. Great concept !! A cheap and real time aerial video&pictures on google earth … I want’one

  23. Hmm, since it works in ArcGIS and Google Earth.. nothing to adapt it to World Wind 🙂 Wonder if it is easier or harder to use than the SoC World Wind UAV project code.

  24. It is very nice video. i appreciate the way using to make the video.

  25. hey this is cool idea, i hope is ready very soon to proof it

  26. what kind of GPS system did you used? where can I get one? thanks.

  27. I thought Google earth images were taken by high powered satellites but not a small remote controlled plane. But interesting if the photos were taken by that. I love google earth!

  28. I have been searching the web for this article for a long time. Thanks for taking the time to illustrate it here.

  29. I think that aerial images need to be georeferenced…

  30. interesting if the photos were taken by that. I love google earth!

  31. I love google earth!

  32. interesting if the photos were taken by that.

  33. Last weekend in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou.

  34. and the 7:0 lead over into the intermission.

  35. Leave it to the RC community to come up with such an ingenious combination of technologies. Thank God so much RC tech is now a part of daily military strategy.

  36. I searched for something completely different, but found your website! And have to say thanks. Nice read. Will come back.

  37. custom nfl jerseys
    Thank God so much RC tech is now a part of daily military strategy.

  38. This Is Awesome! amazing camera..

  39. That’s a cool way of getting high altitude images onto Google Earth.

  40. Amazing article. I am so impressed.

  41. Your posting provide an exclusive information, I appreciate this post. Thanks for sharing this

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.