Links: Santa Tracker, Santa Mapper Poem, VE Followup, GPS Spider

  • Santa Tracker – This year’s Santa tracker in Google Earth was essentially the same as last year. It included a 3D representation of Santa in his sleigh with his reindeer. Every 30-60 seconds he would appear in a new location and you would fly to see him in each new location (usually seeing him from a slightly different perspective). Google used network links to make it all work – you can read about the KML techniques for the Santa tracker in the second half of this post at the Google Maps API blog. There’s a video showing what it looked like in this article fom PC Advisor.

  • Santa Mapper Xmas Poem – An interesting twist on a classic christmas poem, showing how Santa’s mappers helped plan his route, was posted at VerySpatial. Definitely worth a read.

  • VE FollowupMy post the other day in tribute to Virtual Earth’s new imagery and 3D data generated some interesting commentary. Someone on the Microsoft team posted about it, and someone even imitated my post with a slight twist (changing it to say Google should share with WorldWind).

  • GPS SPider – James Stafford has posted an interesting new GE visualization on his Barnabu blog. James developed an animation which simultaneously shows the position of GPS satellites over a particular point along with the viewing angles from that position – over time. He calls it the GPS Spider. Then, a day or so later, he posted a variation which lets you position anywhere on the Earth and see the positions of GPS satellites for it. He also tried using Google’s new charting API to show the duration in hours particular satellites would be visible for that location. But, because his article was so popular he ran against a limit on the API useage. So, that has been temporarily disabled.

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. This is a lot for this old guy to study and learn it is overwhelming so far, but I intend to stay as long as possible to understand.

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