News Roundup: GE Design, Live Tour de France, PhotoSketch, Iran Nuclear Project

  • GE Design – I met Richard Treves recently at ISDE5 in California. Richard developed some excellent tutorials over a year ago which helped people better understand how to use GE and how to develop basic KML files. He has now started a blog called Google Earth Design. Make sure you look at some of the earlier entries for some interesting material about how to create Google Earth content.

  • Live Tour de France – As with the past two years you can see the route for Le Tour de France in Google Earth. Last year someone enabled live tracking of the race progress in GE, but this year I have yet to see anyone do that. However, there is an excellent Google Maps mashup which lets you track the race live by Ubilabs. via GoogleMapsMania.

  • PhotoSketch – Found a video of a very interesting Google Tech Talk given by George Wolberg. The talk describes technology he has been developing designed to take casual photographs and convert them quickly into texture-mapped 3D buildings. The technology is intended to automate as much of the process as possible, but still requires some human input. The key is that the methods do not require expensive cameras, laser finders, etc. It extrapolates camera angle and position from the derived 3D of the building based on the photos. The results are designed to integrate with Google SketchUp, and are particularly suited to creating buildings for display in Google Earth.

  • Iran Nuclear Project – Stefan Geens of OgleEarth noticed some new published analysis which showed new tunneling activity near the Natanz nuclear complex in Iran. The analysis results released recent DigitalGlobe photography. Stefan points out you can overlay the imagery and make comparisons using the transparency slider in the Places pane of Google Earth. He also pointed out he had created a similar overlay last year, so you can look at three different images of the construction. Download these two files to see the project at different stages: June 11, 2007 , and last year’s overlay .

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. Russell says:

    I emailed Dr. George Wolberg, who presented the Google Tech Talk on PhotoSketch, and he said that they hope to have beta release of that by September — we need a product like this to really get the number (and quality) of 3D models in Google Earth to skyrocket.

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