How Google Earth Really Works

One of the co-founders of Keyhole who helped build the virtual globe which later became Google Earth is Avi Bar-Ze’ev. Avi has worked on many interesting graphics projects in his career in addition to Keyhole, he worked on Second Life, and he worked on one of Disney Imagineering’s virtual reality rides (Alladin’s Magic Carpet). He has some unique understandings of the technical inner-workings of these popular applications. Although he doesn’t work at Google, he sometimes comments on technical mis-interpretations that are being discussed about Google Earth and Second Life in the blogosphere. He recently moved his technical writings from his personal blog over to a new blog called RealityPrime. Yesterday, I heard that Avi had just published a very interesting technical description called “How Google Earth [Really] Works“.
Avi was frustrated with the quality of the description at for Google Earth, and decided to write his own article. Avi’s article is well-written and a bit lengthy. And, it does include some techincal concepts – most of which he describes in terms most can understand. But, I highly encourage you to read his article if you are interested in better understanding why Google Earth works so well. He makes sure to point out that although he has some insight from his early work, Google has made substantial changes to the application and some of the inner-workings may have changed significantly since that time. But, the fundamental visualization methodologies are certainly still true. This is just the first installment of Avi’s description of How Google Earth Really Works. I highly recommend Avi’s article. I look forward to reading the rest!
You also might want to read Avi’s comments about the MIT Technology Review article called “Second Earth” discussing the future trends (and possible convergence) of Google Earth and Second Life.

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.

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