Trip Status, Links: PhotoOverlay tool, CIA World Factbook, Another BMNG

Those of you following this blog know I traveled to New Mexico this past weekend for the X PRIZE Cup at the Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo. This was a great air and space show! I’ll be bringing a full trip report (including photos) later this week, but I’m still on my way back. I flew a Cessna 182 out there, and its going to take me a little while to get back. On the way out, I flew via Houston, Tx where I stopped to visit family. While there, my sister-in-law Christine took me to the Houston Museum of Natural Science where we got to see Lucy (the 3.2 million year old remains of a very distant ancestor). See the GPS track of the flight to New Mexico from last Wed/Thursday in Google Earth. The track was colorized by altitude and 3D datapoints courtesy of (see previous story on how this is done).
Here’s some other news of interest:

  • PhotoOverlay toolDigitalUrban has released a tool to help you place photos with the new PhotoOverlay feature in Google Earth 4.2. I will review this later this week after I get back from the trip.

  • CIA World Factbook – This nice collection of placemarks showing links to CIA World Factbook data in Google Earth for countries around the world was updated last month to reflect the update of the database. Read more about the layer.

  • Another BMNG – Barry Hunter announces he is hosting a new NASA Blue Marble Next Generation (BMNG) network link which provides superoverlay 500 meter resolution views of the Earth (open the folder to see the choices of different versions). These specially enhanced world-wide satellite photos include different versions for each month of the year so you can get a sense of the seasonal changes viewed from space (see a time animation of this). As Barry notes in his post, this version isn’t intended for every day use, but it does produce some higher-resolution versions of the BMNG which are nice to view. The new version was developed by Jonathan van Tuijl.

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. Hey Y’all! This is the sister-in-law, Christine. Before you view Lucy at the museum, you go through an exhibit on Ethiopia. Much more interesting than I was suspecting and now Ethiopia is on my places to go list. Anyway, there are churches carved out of rock. Can anyone find them on Google Earth. Bete Giyorgis is a amazing looking. In the shape of a cross and cut below ground level.

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