New York Times in Google Earth

New York Times layer in Google EarthGoogle and the New York Times have worked together to release a real-time news feed for Google Earth (see the announcement). Although several news organizations have experimented with KML feeds of news for Google Earth (the best current example being CBS news), this is the first time Google has supported a news layer in the built-in layers of Google Earth.
The New York Times layer (or NY Times for short) is a network link which automatically updates with the latest geographically tagged stories. Click on an icon to get a summary of articles available for that location. Click on an article to get a short summary of the story, Click on “Read more at NY Times” for the full article on your web browser.
As expected, the system is set up to be as automated as possible. It appears stories not tagged by the author are scanned for location information (towns, cities, countries) and it takes a guess for the location. In addition to different cities getting a summary, each country with news also has a summary icon which holds all the news for that summary location. Most of the stories look properly located. However, I saw a story about a French yacht stolen by pirates in Somalia, but the placemark for it is “France”. I would have preferred to know the location where the yacht was stolen. At this point, I’m just conjecturing, but I hope news writers will be allowed to submit more exact location coordinates for their stories so we can get the reporter’s best information. If the whole system is automated, the value of this layer will be reduced in my opinion.
There are two ways to find the New York Times layer:

  1. Turn on the Geographic Web layer – which contains previews of many of the built-in layers. Zoom in until you see one of the NY Times icons (with the gothic “T”) and click on one. Then, in the upper left, click on “Show this layer” to turn on all the currently available news placemarks. You can turn off the Geographic Web layer if you want to reduce the number of icons. But, the photos, Wikipedia placemarks, and GEC placmarks in the Geographic Web layer could be useful for getting a better perspective on each location.

  2. Or, you can go to the Gallery layer folder, open it up, and look for the New York Times layer to turn it on/off. As seen here:

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. The New York Times layer seems to be one of a number for which dominant, ie visible from great altitude, sample place marks have appeared. The one over southern Scotland tells us that Snoop Dog may not be allowed to enter the UK. Really?
    Is this type of unwanted intrusion a sign of things to come on GE?

  2. Is the actual network link available? Or only in Google Earth?

  3. It’s really somewhat amazing me the level of criticism that I’ve read at other blogs about this — though, these are the same blogs that were delighted in wasting hours upon hours at gawking at the possibilities once Twitter and Flickr were presented over a Google Map.
    Interesting dynamic in thinking, really.

Leave a Reply