News Roundup: Peru Earthquake, Virtual Earth Update, Stefan’s Alps Hike

  • USGS Earthquakes in Google EarthPeru Earthquake – Last night Lima, Peru was near the epicenter of a 7.9 magnitude earthquake. You can see the earthquake (and the aftershocks) in the real-time Earthquake monitoring tool for Google Earth developed by the USGS (see earlier story). The size of the placemarks indicate magnitude, and the color indicates recency. It updates automatically to show you the latest world-wide seismic activity. In addition, another useful way to monitor earthquakes and other disasters going around the world is the Global Disaster and Alert and Coordination System ( They have an excellent Google Earth KML for visualizing current world-wide disasters . The only drawback to it is that they have a problem with their KML which causes it to fail in a network link, so you have to re-download the file to get the latest.

  • Virtual Earth Update – Microsoft continues to release gigantic amounts of imagery and 3D building collections to the public. I have to say that Microsoft is definitely keeping pace with – if not challenging – Google with the amount and speed of imagery and 3D data they are releasing. Microsoft’s most recent update adds 71 US cities, and 31 European cities with Bird’s Eye imagery, and two new cities with 3D buildings: Montreal, Canada and Toulouse, France. Check out the full details, with links to most of the locations, from Microsoft. DigitalUrban blog has already produced a video showing a fly-through of the Virtual Earth Toulouse 3D buildings:

  • Stefan’s Alps Hike – Stefan Geens of OgleEarth has posted his approach to geotagging and sharing photos from his recent hike in the Swiss Alps. He points out a couple of approaches to getting the photos into Flickr and then creating KML files. He also doesn’t fail to point out that Google Earth’s high-quality 50 cm resolution imagery combined with 10 m resolution terrain make the Swiss Alps look close to real life. Stefan used his Nokia N95 to take photos, but chose not to use the GPS in the phone due to its appetite for battery energy. He packed a portable GPS instead, but unfortunately it was stolen while on the way to the mountains. So, he doesn’t have a GPS track. Given enough encouragement he could use Google Earth to pretty easily show us the trails he took. On a related note, check out the way I documented my recent holiday in the Virgin Islands where I chartered a sailing catamaran.

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. Correction: It was stolen on the way back from the Alps — I had the entire route saved:-(

  2. MS is doing a relatively decent job, but the quality is still no comparison in various regards — in my opinion.
    Also, I don’t think I blame MS for making the attempt — especially now that the StarOffice cat is out of the bag.
    I admit, once I found that out — I’m actually thinking of making the switch from Office to StarOffice (this has been the hardest sell for me, personally — because I like Office). I feel the web apps still have a little way to go yet, and I’m continually reluctant to compromise absolute security.
    If Google/Sun can convince people like me to do away with Office (like I say — a HUGE thing for me to even consider) — then I think it’ll be another sign that MS is becoming even more irrelevant with even their core apps. Which, to me, is unfortunate — because I’ve felt this entire time they should have been concentrating on what made them MS in the first place — their core apps.
    Anyway, I digress.

  3. If you’re into plotting trips and treks you may be interested in my Pacific Crest Trail map. I’m walking the trail across America carrying a GPS data logger from OHararp LLC and emailing the logs and photos back to my dad in New Zealand. He tags and upload them all and they are fetched via a few network links on my site. I’d prefer to have it all automated but this works pretty well.

  4. The company I work for ( formed a partnership with an NGO in Peru in order to place volunteers where they are needed most. Please consider making a direct difference and explore the possibilities of direct action. Email me at or look on the website for more information on how you can help.
    Either way, lets do what we can to help Peru!

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.