100% Pure New Zealand Layer in Google Earth

Pure New Zealand in Google EarthBuried in the new layers added to Google Earth on Monday, was a new sub-layer found under the Travel and Tourism layer. The new layer is the first example of a country getting a built-in GE layer celebrating the travel and tourist spots in Google Earth. The “100% Pure New Zealand” layer contains placemarks highlighting destinations, scenic highlights, and the location of visitor centers around the country. The placemarks contain beautiful photos, descriptions, and links back to the relevant main New Zealand travel web pages. Since I’ve been planning to visit New Zealand for some time, this is a great additional tool for planning.
One thing that is apparent when you compare the scenic photographs to the Google Earth views is that GE’s New Zealand terrain would really benefit from higher resolution. The photos in this new layer demonstrate that higher resolution terrain would make looking at New Zealand in Google Earth even more exciting. If I had a vote, New Zealand would be the next country to get high resolution terrain like Switzerland did in late February.
So, I’m wondering which other travel and tourism departments are going to rush to ask Google to be included? I’m sure New Zealand tourism will benefit from the additional traffic they will get as a result of this new layer.

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. You should also check out a couple of my del.icio.us links on NewZealand including free GPS maps. I also have the entire Lord of the Rings film sites in GPX/KML/GeoRSS. 🙂

  2. I completely agree! Using GE to vicariously follow my girlfriend’s vacation in New Zealand has made me 1. jealous, and 2. aware of how poor the current terrain is. NZ of all places could really use a Switzerland-style makeover. Then we’d have the Northern *and* Southern Alps in high-res. However, I’m glad it at least has its own layer now. Beautiful country.

  3. Frank, Its beautiful (New Zealand) but we could definitely do with some better digital terrain/photos. To accompany the achievement of obtaining a special layer in google earth, tourisim New Zealand should be providing its own high resolution image overlays. We will see how it develops. Anyway, thanks for drawing attention to us down here.

  4. Berrynose says:

    I second your idea to have high resolution terrain of NZ ASAP. The current terrain resolution is far from accurate for mountain-rich countries like NZ, making it very difficult for people to plan hiking trips. Go to Milford Sound and compare its view in GE and a real photo. Then you’ll realize how terrible it looks like in GE.

  5. I agree, the new layer is great and we need better elevation data. It’s good to see the roading is covered.

  6. Wow, thats akinda’ good design solution!

  7. I would support better resolution on GE. Also, more recent photos then you could see my house and not just the earthworks.
    Although not colour you can get some good orthophotos from this URL: http://www.linz.govt.nz/core/topography/aerialandorthophotos/orthophotoindex/index.html
    I cannot attest to their age but the larger (40-60Mb) tiff images have good detail.

  8. Hi Frank!
    I can recommend you go to NZ, and stay as long as you can! I spent a month there, from April to May, 2005. The weather was beautiful (it was their Autumn) apart from a few downpours… 2 days of rain out of 30, sun and blue skies the rest of the time… can’t complain!
    I travelled alone, from Auckland down to Wellington, making it up as I went along (no problems with buses and hostels at all), and then caught the ferry to South Island, to be shown around by my daughter (who works in Franz Josef). Last stop was Queenstown… I didn’t want to leave NZ, to be honest, and I’d live there if I could! Of course, during my travels, I saw a few LOTR movie sites… Hobbiton and Deer Park Heights stick in my mind.
    Hope you have a good time there… the people are very friendly!

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