Links: GE/SketchUp Classes, Sea Ice Update, Bergen Terrain, Waldo

  • Google Earth and SketchUp Classes Available – Alex Oliver of school (which does great SketchUp Training DVDs and samples on their site – see GEB review), has written to let me know they are the first Google Authorized Training Center (ATC) in the US. They now offer live training classes for SketchUp and Google Earth! The Google Earth class is currently being taught in 17 locations around the country and more being added each week. Here is the schedule of classes available. More details on the classes are on this page.

  • Sea Ice Update – The folks at the Snow and Ice Data Center have updated their Sea Ice Extent KML file. This file shows a time animation of the extent of ice at both poles. There is a magenta colored line which shows the average ice extent for comparisons. The new file not only includes the new March data, but also has a new option to turn off the layer when not in use. This makes it easier to keep the network link in your Place pane. See the GEB review of the Sea Ice Extent file. NOTE: there’s also a new “Greenland Annual Surface Ice Melt” file at their GE page.

  • Bergen Terrain – Here’s an interesting tip. A GEB reader from Norway named Ove Daae Lampe wrote to let me know the recent upgrade to the data layers included a high resolution terrain map for Bergen, Norway. This is very high resolution terrain – possibly from LIDAR? So high that buildings were captured and show up as bumps in the terrain. However, overall, the terrain looks very good, and makes me want to visit Bergen someday! The bumps in the terrain from the buildings will make it interesting when they go to put 3D models of the buildings. According to Mr. Lampe, they will soon have 3D buildings for the entire city as well.

  • Where is Waldo in Google Earth

    Waldo – An artist in Vancouver, Melanie Coles, wrote me an E-mail last week about her efforts (along with other art students) to place a huge 55′ tall “Where is Waldo” character on the top of a building (see the blog). The idea being it would be caught by a satellite (or aerial photo) and placed in Google Earth someday. To help things along, they took their own aerial photo of it. I was able to find the location where they did it based on the photo, and I’ve added their photo as an image overlay in Google Earth . Their photo was taken at an angle (not straight down), so it isn’t stretched properly over the scenery. But, you get the idea. Turns out her project has grabbed the attention of the media. Unfortunately, Google recently updated the imagery for Vancouver (although I’ve had reports they used four or more year old imagery). So, I have no idea how long it will be before they get new imagery. Hopefully someone will get a decent straight-down shot for Google to include. This isn’t the first time Waldo has appeared in Google Earth.

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. Frank McAree says:

    Ref Bergen Terrain
    It’s worth looking at the rather steep bridge here
    Lat 60.3837°
    Long 5.31689°

  2. Yes, I was going to say that there are places there where flat land is mapped as though it’s a building, and other places where buildings are flat. The mapping of the terrain to the images is hit or miss.
    I’d love to see higher resolution terrain mapping, but not if it ends up looking like this.

  3. That’s funny. Microdesk made a big splash last week saying THEY were the first Google Authorized Training Center. And what does it take to be an ATC, and what does it mean for users?

  4. I’m in Abbotsford, which is almost a suburb of Vancouver (many commute, but we have farmland separating us). I’ve not been able to figure out Google’s updates for our region lately. In Google Earth, the Abbotsford imagery is 3 to 4 years old, but in Google Maps we were part of the last big update and the imagery is only a few months old.
    A good demonstration is our new hospital at Lat 49.0367 and Lon -122.312701. It has been under construction for a few years. Maps shows about what it looks like today, where Earth shows an empty lot. Traditionally, doesn’t Earth get updated first?
    However, when I look at Vancouver proper in both Earth and Maps, the imagery seems to match, and seems to be several years old despite it being listed as being part of the most recent update, and despite it being updated about once a year. It is fairly easy to tell the imagery age in Vancouver as we have a cut and cover subway under construction for several years now, none of which is visible.
    They are definitely still working on things, though. Along the north end of downtown Vancouver you can see that they did not update the imagery of the water in Burrard inlet; there is a definite line where calm water becomes rough water of a different colour. Last week the splicing of the two really showed as there was half a cruise ship docked in the rough water around Canada Place, but it’s gone today!

  5. Why does a search in Google Earth for ‘Bergen’ take me to ‘Mons, Belgium’?
    Yet ‘Bergen, Norway’ works fine.

  6. I visited Bergen in 1996 while in Norway working on documenting historic structures for UNESCO.
    Incredibly beautiful town…but waaaaay out there.
    Norway is one expensive country.

  7. Timothy, Bergen is the Flemish name of Mons (which is French). A lot of Belgian towns have two names: a Dutch one (which is the same as Flemish) and a French one.

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.