Links: Big Dog, Plugins, Smoke, Stonehenge, SketchUp Camp, Kenya

Regular readers should read this one carefully – lots of interesting little tidbits today.

  • Big Dog – A bunch of news writers picked up on this story about a huge dog “seen from space” in the front of a hotel in London. And, you can in fact see the dog (just barely) in Google Earth. However, the imagery is actually from an airplane – not a satellite photo (you can see “BlueSky” in the copyright message – which is an aerial photography company in the UK). Aerial imagery is often better than satellite imagery since its easier to get higher resolution if you’re closer to the ground. Read more about Google Earth imagery.

  • Plugins – James Stafford has added a page dedicated to his experiments with the Earth API plugin. I have not yet written about his cute experiment with a mini-flight simulator (I was waiting for some new features like altitude changes). He’s added three new applications he’s playing with: 1) A polygon editor , 2) put some of his flight tracking KMLs into the plugin, and 3) my favorite – an astronomy application showing stars categorized on a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram (I’m looking forward to his explanation on how that was done).

  • Smoke – My local TV news station’s web site used a Google Maps My Map to explain where smoke from a wildfire was coming from – blanketing the Raleigh area with smoke yesterday. This of course means you could view the map with Google Earth too. So, I had to mention this.

  • Stonehenge – Stonehenge has been in the news quite a bit lately. Saw this video from National Geographic showing Stonehenge being viewed through Microsoft Photosynth based on photos taken by a NG photographer (via VerySpatial). This made me wonder whether Panoramio’s new Look Around feature was available for Stonehenge. Sure enough, you can see Stonehenge using Look Around based on photos by many people. And, it works on the Mac as well as Windows!

  • SketchUp Camp – Google hosted Google SketchUp 3D Basecamp this week. Only 300 of 4500 people who expressed interest were able to go. AEC News Randall Newton has been live-blog reporting on 3D Basecamp. So far that’s the only source of regular news I’ve seen from the event. According to AEC News Google is saying there won’t be any product announcements at the event.

  • Kenya – Google recently released new street maps in Kenya. According to NetworkWorld students and a team from India were involved in creating the street maps. I believe this is based on Google’s methods used for street maps in India which uses GPSes in the hands of many people (“crowd sourcing”) to collect data. This way you use local knowledge to enhance the quality of the data. The new street maps are not yet in the Roads layer in Google Earth. So you can compare what they used to look like to now. Interestingly, the very useful Tracks4Africa (which was recently upgraded) and included Kenya with their crowd sourced data – has now been “demoted”/moved to the “More” layer folder 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.


  1. Looking forward to seeing Google’s street maps for Kenya. Hoping they will also map the smaller towns, especially along the Kenya Coast where many visitors travel too each year and no doubt could make use of the map information in towns such as Mombasa and Malindi.

  2. Love the comment about the big dog in front of the hotel in London. Regardless of where the image is from, it is quite funny! I too have a large dog, and would find it quite amusing if he popped up in an airplane or satellite image!

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