Google Earth on The Simpsons

During the last few days, this YouTube clip from the popular TV cartoon The Simpsons has been circulating the geospatial community. I decided to save it for a Friday morning post. Google and Google Earth have really reached major proportions when they get featured in this way on such a popular show! The show has a pretty amusing interpretation of how Google Earth works. NOTE: original YouTube video was deleted, follow this link to see another copy (thanks to GEB reader Ralph Z. for the link).

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. Fido_le_muet says:

    Google Earth is also used in the TV Show “Drive”.
    The story depicts an illegal cross-country race and GE is used to show the route and the checkpoint of the race.
    The show was broadcasted on monday on Fox but was juste cancelled.

  2. Live video via satellite? I think THAT Google Earth is faaaaaar into the future? 😀

  3. The video wasn’t meant to reflect the exact reality but to forward the general idea.
    Additionally to that the entire Google Earth idea 10 or so years ago seemed like a “faaaar” future but today we are the happy users of it. I agree that the real-time version could be far away but maybe not so far.
    Actually even “close to real time” would be just awesome. Currently I have only 4 very old clear high res spots of my country (Estonia) and the rest is very low resolution. If they would update even once per month or even once per every other month, it would be just awesome.
    So rather than updating some regions daily or weekly, I would be more glad if the entire Earth would be covered at least once in high res. There are vast areas currently covered in very low resolution. So I believe the priorities are currenty too centric to some countries and the others dont get any coverage.

  4. It’s great when comedy can place a spin on the popular misconceptions associated with these applications – specifically the popularity of Google Earth. Friends who aren’t ‘geospatially aware’ usually ask if I feel there should be any concern – or they’ll just automatically jump to such concerns with combative assumptions!
    In a way though, I guess I like the challenge of talking about the reality of these applications, and then watch the lightbulbs light up as they come to understand how they can become valueable to them.
    The idea of real-time streaming from satellites (and other sensors) is so far out into the future because of the storage limitations, that it becomes more interesting to me why it is that people jump to such conclusions.
    Real-time capture is currently and only marginally practical for specific applications – and I don’t expect to see that reaching the commercial sector anytime soon. Near real-time ortho-mosaicking is possible, however, just look at Cardio Logic’s Mojave GEO100M workstation, and their plugins.

  5. John Denham says:

    I also believe that google earth was used in the movie Crank.

  6. Real-time data doesn’t have to be stored because it’s “real time”. Same like with radio shows – everything gets just broadcasted and nothing gets saved. The idea of “near real time” data of course needs a bit more storage.

  7. The issue remains a platform that can provide a “constant stare region”, and the technologies to orthorectify registered video products on the fly. Airships are currently being looked at as the possible solution for real-time video – but even then, the challenge remains true orthorectification of the view, which requires processing time.
    The only way I’ve thought this could happen, is to compare technologies being researched in human vision replacement. Currently, it’s possible to stream video through an extremely low bandwidth by emulating the human perceptual organ (the eye).
    That technology though is specifically being developed for artificial vision, for those who lost their sight, or are completely blind.

  8. It’s a good way to advertise your product, as long as it will not break the law that is. LOL

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