New Layer Goodness for Google Earth – January 2008

Today Google Earth got some substantial new layer updates. A quick summary of the updates are (read further for more details on where to find these):

  • New roads layers for 26 countries!
  • 2 million new photos to the Panoramio layer

  • A substantially updated Earthquake layer, and link to the USGS Earthquake monitoring tool

  • National Geographic Magazine articles for three more continents

  • Other Regularly Updated Layers

For more details on what was updated and where to find them, keep reading below.

Details about some of these updates were posted at the Google LatLong blog today. But, I’ve got some other interesting information they failed to point out.

  • New road layers – here’s a list of the 26 countries added: Russia, Malaysia, Thailand, Aruba, Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Place names in Taiwan, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and Turkey. The roads will be labeled in their local language. Bodies of water will be labeled in the language you have Google Earth set to.

  • 2 million new photos – Read all the details about the Panoramio layer update here.

  • Updated Earthquake Layer – Some of you may not have been aware that under the “Places of Interest” layer folder there is a folder called “Geographic Features” and under that layer is an “Earthquake” layer. This layer presents historic earthquake epicenters of magnitudes greater than 3 for the entire world over the last 40 years. Google has updated the layer substantially (with help from the USGS), and not only that – the placemarks in this layer now link to the USGS Real-time Earthquake Monitoring network link (which I’ve written about many times).

  • National Geographic Magazine – If you turn on the layer: “Gallery->National Geographic Magazine”, you now get placemarks for three new continents: Europe, Asia, and South America. These placemarks point to locations of stories from the magazines many years of publication. The placemark descriptions show photos and snippets to the article and provide links to their web site for more on each story. Great stuff!

  • Other updated layer – Google doesn’t say it in their post, but they also update regularly many other layers like those found under the Geographic Web layer like the “Best of GEC” posts, and the “Wikipedia” layer. Not only that, but the YouTube layer is updating every day with videos which have been geotagged at that site! If you haven’t checked out the “Gallery->YouTube” layer lately – check it out again. There’s thousands of new videos in the layer since the last time you looked! Personally, I think this layer should be made part of the Geographic Web layer. It’s a perfect fit.

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. There is a bug in this new layers update.
    Placemarks of the layer “Populated Places” doesn’t show informations like population and State/Country any more.

  2. I check out the YouTube layer frequently, and ironically, I’ve been thinking it should be moved to Geographic Web layer as well. In my opinion, they should also put a News layer in that section, to make it more worth checking out (not that it isn’t already worth a look).

  3. Ick of the East says

    Thailand roads (finally!) aren’t labeled in the local language, which is strange; because they are on Google Maps.

  4. Also Poland borders layer has been updated and now shows powiats’ borders (one administrative level lower than voivodeships).

  5. When roads in Argentina?

  6. agreed with Sam, i’ve noticed it too. i wonder is there will be a new GE version to fix it? looks like it has happened because of increased placenames localisation.

  7. yeah… Long awaited Argentina roads layer!, I wonder if there is any kind of issue preventing more layers for Argentina… I’ll keep waiting, I trust Google guys! Keep going with the great job!

  8. Brian Kenward says

    Thank each an every one of you at Google!
    I LOVE all of you.
    Google is my sanity
    my outlet
    my hope
    the MOST time spent on any one thing other than work and sleep
    They could take away Beef and I would be ok as long as I have google
    Take away sex, Yes I’ll be ok as long as I have google ( hey I am nearly 60 don’t get any anyway)
    I have a confession: I have never been hooked on much of anything, drugs or otherwise. But Please
    Thank you sooooooooooooo much for listening.

  9. eddie walls says

    I may have missed it, but it would be helpful to be able to determine the resolution of photography at each geographical area being viewed. I’m fascinated that in Uroguay, I can view down to about ‘1000ft’ and see actual vehicles, while in the good old USA, Boone County IL, I can barely make out my house at ‘10000ft’.

  10. Joanna Sheldon says

    Why is it so unbelievably difficult to find out how to turn on the names of lakes and rivers??????@!@
    I’ve googled for the answer, I’ve looked in the downloadable user guide – the best guess seems to be to look in layers for Geographical features, but there ain’t no such beast in my current 4.2, then 4.3 Google Earth. In the early versions it was no problem. Now, I’m tearing my hair out.

  11. Joanna Sheldon says

    I’ve just read on another site that river and lake names were never part of the Google database, so I must be mistaken about the early versions.

  12. Nanoo Geek says

    Did something happen to the earthquake layer, since February 2008 ? I just pulled up GE 4.3.7284.3916 and “Earthquake” is no longer under Geographic Features…

  13. The “Earthquakes” layer you’re talking about moved to the “Gallery” layer folder.
    Don’t forget about the USGS real-time earthquake monitoring KML network link:

  14. jaymz daash says

    I’m more confused than I was before I read this topic. Can I get river names or not? what steps should I take?
    thanx and regardz .. jaymz

  15. I once got all river and lake names to turn on accidently. It was great every little lake had a blue flag and a name. But it cluttered up my view so I turned them off. Now I can’t for the life of me figure out how to turn them back on!!!!
    Did Google Earth remove this function? If so I want it back.

  16. Frank Taylor says

    The layer you describe is found under “Places of Interest -> Geographic Features -> Water Bodies”. Note, that the data with labels and such only applies to some countries. The best I found was in Australia:

  17. Riverlakelover says

    The lack of names for rivers, lakes, points, bays, and other vitally important geographic markers makes Google Earth nearly worthless. Names for rivers, if ever added, should be continuous so that if you zoom into any location with the river (or other geographic items, for that matter) the name would pop up.

  18. “The layer you describe is found under “Places of Interest -> Geographic Features -> Water Bodies” is no longer true.
    I just found “Water Bodies”, under “More -> Geographic Features”. Thing is: it outlines the stream I’m looking at, but it doesn’t name it!
    p.s. your anti-spam could state that it’s Case Sensitive. *goooood grief*

  19. Aspen Ducky says

    I, too, am surprised there are no river and water way names in the database and layer options. Will Google Earth have this info added? If so many roads (which are changeable) can be named, how about riverways (which are not).

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.