News Roundup: UFO Sightings, Free UK GE workshops, Godwit migrations, Boating videos

  • UFO Sightings – A long time ago, in Google Earth History, Michael Jones (Chief Technologist of GE) was known to have spoken about how cool it would be to implement the time dimension in GE (see story in Dec. 2005 post at OgleEarth). A bit of time passed and, in the summer of 2006, the time feature was first released as part of a GE 4 beta. During Michael’s presentation in 2005, he showed an example of a UFO sightings database over time. For a long time, I’ve been meaning to take the UFO Sightings in Google Earth (and Google Maps) map from, and add time stamps. Yesterday, after a fair amount of Emacs macro parsing, I came up with the new UFO Sightings over time animation (2 Mbytes). (Note: I chose to not include some earlier random sightings – one in 1860, and a few others in the earlier part of the 1900s). After loading hit the play button to the right of the time slider (or just drag the slider). You can almost see the spread of UFO psychosis brought on by TV, junk food, and sci-fi… 🙂 On a related note, someone called ‘Mangani’ has released a BigFoot sightings file which shows a time animation as well. Notice the similarities in growth of sightings?

  • Free UK GE Workshops – From Royal Geographical Society:

    The Royal Geographical Socieity with IBG, with generous support from Google, will be offering 10 free workshops for LEA-maintained school geography teachers. These practical workshops show teachers how to create virtual fieldwork using Google Earth. They involve hands-on experience with digital cameras and GPS units creating mini-fieldwork projects outdoors. Participants are then shown how this data can be transformed into a virtual journey using Google Earth.
    The workshops will take place across the UK at the following venues:
    RGS-IBG, London – Tuesday 16 October 2007
    Swansea – Monday 12 November 2007
    Newcastle-Upon-Tyne – Monday 19 November 2007
    Edinburgh – Tuesday 20 November 2007
    Belfast – Monday 10 December 2007
    Leeds – Monday 14 January 2008
    Cornwall – Monday 21 January 2008
    Birmingham – Monday 28 January 2008
    Southampton – Monday 4 February 2008
    RGS-IBG, London – Tuesday 4 March 2008

    More details and further documents at this RGS web page.

  • Godwit migrations – You may have heard the news a while back about the little Godwit bird – designated E7 – which was tracked flying all the way from New Zealand to Alaska and back non-stop. The longest recorded non-stop migratory flight in the world – 10,200 km (6340 miles). The USGS has posted Google Earth track data for the flights of the birds they were tracking. Load this Godwit tracks file , and turn on just the one labeled E7 to see her record flight.

  • Boating videos – EarthNC continues to explore the ability to access the YouTube API to grab geo-tagged videos based on specific tags. This time they have released a collection of YouTube boating videos . If you use GE 4.2 on Windows, you can watch the videos in the placemarks. More details here at EarthNC. I like Virgil’s earlier post about YouTube Airport videos more.

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. To expose how the UFO phenomenon is just ludicrous, one might want to correlate sightings with events like: release of new scifi movie, political unrest, meteor showers, sun activity, etc… I bet the results will expose the lack of veracity of all these claims…

  2. Is there a problem with the download link for the UFO over time animation? In both Firefox & IE7 I get an error when trying to download it.

  3. I get a failed message, Parse error at line 1, column 2 – not well-formed (invalid token)

  4. why we cant download the program to use the earth google files in iran?

  5. An Unidentified Flying Object is the current term for claims of aerial phenomenon that are not readily identified. Some definitions, such as the one used by the USAF, define UFOs as only those objects remaining unidentified after scrutiny by expert investigators, while other definitions define an object as being a UFO from the time it is first reported as being unidentified.
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