Introducing Our First Sailing Partner: Google

Picture of our sailing catamaran TahinaDuring the past month I announced my grand plan for a five year sailing adventure around the world which will begin next year. My wife Karen and I have already purchased a boat called “Tahina“, delivered it from the Bahamas, and are now working on a huge list of preparations. A big part of the plan is to share the experience with people through a “geo-documentary”.
My vision is that we will use a combination of a blog, and extensive geo-spatially organized content to share where we go, provide information about our travel locations, and show the sights we see. You will be able to follow our paths on the sea, on land, and possibly even under water all from within Google Earth (and with Google Maps, the Google Earth plugin, and other tools – maybe Google Ocean?). Not only that, but I will be taking aerial photography of some of the destinations using a combination of kite aerial photography, remote controlled aircraft, and by flying regular planes. I figured the resulting high resolution aerial photography would make for some very interesting views in Google Earth of exotic or unusual locations around the world. Places where few high resolution aerial photos are available. My inspiration for this idea was the excellent work by Michael Fay in the MegaFlyover images already in Google Earth for National Geographic.
When I started envisioning the creation of all this content, I naturally was thinking it would be more useful if a larger audience could see the content. So, I approached Google and told them about my circumnavigation plans. The Google geo team has enthusiastically embraced the idea and we have an arrangement where they will be acquiring content from our trip for use in their products. Teaming with Google for our circumnavigation is the realization of a dream which started three years ago when I first started using Google Earth to document our sailing trip back in 2002-2003. It was during that first trip that my wife and I began our plans for the circumnavigation. But, leveraging Google Earth to share our experiences became an integral part of what I wanted to accomplish. We also have plans to help raise awareness about issues facing the world’s ocean environment and marine life. All of this is more feasible thanks to the help we will be getting from Google.

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. smokeonit says:

    awesome news!
    when did you get one of those R/C planes to make aerials with it???

  2. Fantastic news Frank – congratulations!

  3. @smokeonit: I haven’t selected which plane yet. I’ll be working with on that in the coming months as we prepare for departure. I will also have a kite aerial photography setup.

  4. Ernst M. Kofler says:

    Great news Frank! Congratulations to you and your wife!
    Hope to get hires imagery of the Runit Island concrete dome on Enewetak Atoll some time 😉

  5. smokeonit says:

    what kite setup do you plan on??? have you had experience with it?
    this sounds very interesting;-)

  6. michael d says:

    Congratulations! This is great news and quite an endeavor. I’m looking forward to following your journey and seeing the results.

  7. @smokeonit: I’m getting a little help on kite aerial photography (KAP) from Scott Haefner who also happens to be the USGS guy who did the real-time earthquakes layer for GE.

  8. Fantastic yes, my wife and I are living in La Desirade, FWI, if you ever think about a stop in Guadeloupe, here is our mail.
    Desirade location: 16°19’17.19″ N 61°02’44.14” O
    Our Blog is better with Google Chrome

  9. Frank,
    Congrats on the upcoming adventure. We’ve been out for almost five years now and Google has been like a third crew member, Gmail, Picasa, Blogger and of course Google earth and google maps. We use Google earth (in Cache mode) all the time at sea especially in the places where charts are off by a lot (like Eastern Fiji 7/10 nM, Kirabati 2 nM and the Red Sea variable). It’s also great in areas like Indonesia where the charts are ok but not detailed enough to find an anchorage.
    We have a free helpful hints site that might help you with what works out here, everything from computer backups to sailboat fishing tips. It even has our detailed GPS track, blogs, journals and videos etc in Google Earth and Google maps. Let us know if you have any questions or if there anything we can do to help..
    All the best, and you’ll love it out here!!
    Chris and KT
    SV Billabong
    Ventura Ca
    We are now 28,000 nM and 20,000 photos away from home in Turkey, It doesn’t sound like much in the world of 747’s but divide that by 5 to calculate the hours spent at sea!!

  10. It’s really coming together isn’t it? And with resources from all over the Earth. I look forward to it.

  11. Really great news Frank! It must be great to know you have the support from Google.
    I wish you the best of luck.

  12. Sounds like a great plan Frank, look forward to reading about your preparations. When you’ve picked out your rough course, please feel free to let us know and we’ll put it through our routing engine to build out a kml file for you. Would be a good test to see how well we’ve built out some of the smaller ports of the world. And let me know when you call into Brisbane on the way to the great barrier reef!

  13. Live satellite imagery now available from ITR tech. A 2-3 second delay of anywhere on the earth is avaliable directly to a desktop Google Earth. Visit or for a demonstration, visit

  14. I was happy to find your blog today. I have been following Tammy’s for a while. My goals are similar to hers and yours, selling our house and business- Like Tammy, doing a five year circumnavigation like you. My blog is at and in an older post I have a link to my friends brother’s blog, he is setting a world record for being at sea for 1,000 days and nights without ever going ashore. You may have already seen or heard about this but you can visit to learn more about what he is doing. I hope that I can get past the planning stage someday, but for now I will follow your adventure and enjoy.

  15. What an amazing journey you have planned, and how lucky you are to get backing from the big “G”. If you ever produce a DVD of the experience, please let me know as it would make fascinating viewing and listening.
    Bon voyage.

  16. What an amazing journey you have planned, and how lucky you are to get backing from the big “G”. If you ever produce a DVD of the experience, please let me know as it would make fascinating viewing and listening.
    Bon voyage.

Leave a Reply