Daily Earth Imagery – I was contacted by the University of Wisconsin at Madison that they have worked to produce the most recent imagery available of the Earth viewable in Google Earth. They are grabbing some of the photos from NASA’s satellites and color-enhancing them. The photos are as recent as 1 hour old. As you zoom in you get more details. The University has a web site which lets you choose which day you would like to view in GE from this page. See for example December 18 imagery in Google Earth.
NASA’s OnEarth site also has a repository of whole earth imagery from the same satellites. They have a mosaic of the entire Earth (the imagery in this one is as little as 6 hours old, and much of it is 24 hours or older) – NOTE: Zoom in to load more detail! According to NASA: This layer is the most current, near-global image of the earth available. The 80 GBytes of daily imagery is made available through NASA’s OnEarth program. The satellite imagery from all of these come from the NASA MODIS Terra and Aqua satellites and has been processed with natural colors (read more). The University of Wisconsin also have similar data showing just the US available at this page or click on the link for viewing in GE.
Antarctica Photos – Google did a huge imagery update for Google Earth on Sunday which included the Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (LIMA). This very nice quality medium resolution imagery of the Earth’s most southernmost continent is much better than what was previously in GE. Google is asking anyone who has photos of Antarctica to upload them to Panoramio so they can be viewed in the Panoramio layer in GE.
Panoramio Searchable – Speaking of Panoramio, Google announced the other day that they have again updated their searching in Google Maps to include other data. These same searches also work in Google Earth. So for example, go to the GE “Fly to” search pane and enter “Big Ben in London“. The placemarks you get back include search results related to Big Ben. Not only that, but some of the placemarks are from the Panoramio layer which include photos of Big Ben. You can also turn on the “Geographic Web” layer (which includes the Panoramio layer), and see lots more photos. The Geographic Web layer also includes a Wikipedia placemarks about Big Ben and other sights nearby, best of GEC placemarks, and a Discovery Channel placemark showing a video of London.
Santa Sleigh – Google has been seeking a good 3D model of Santa’s sleigh in 3D made with Google SketchUp (a fantastic free 3D modeling program). They are asking folks to make a sleigh in SketchUp and post it at the 3D Warehouse (deadline is December 31st). Of course, once a model has been placed in the 3DWarehouse, you can use Google SketchUp to place it in Google Earth. Maybe they’ll use it in next year’s Santa Tracker. Don’t forget to follow this year’s Santa Tracker by Google and NORAD.