Links: Panoramio Heat Maps, See Russia?, 1m LiDAR, Airship

There was no post on Friday because I was attending the Annapolis Boat Show in Maryland. Given all the terrible news about the economy and stock market, I was thinking the boat show attendance would be down. But, people were there in droves. The weather was fantastic for one thing. But, American optimism is just amazing. I heard boats were still selling, and lots of boat accessories were selling as well.

  • Panoramio Photo Density Map Panoramio Heat Maps – Alexander Tchaikin sent me an E-mail to share a project he’s been working. Using the Panoramio API he has been creating useful statistical maps showing the density of photos from Google’s Panoramio photo site. In his blog post, he provides details on what he’s been doing, and lots of screenshots and example KML files.

  • See Russia? – In response to Palin’s comments about her foreign policy experience based on being able to see Russia from Alaska, Michael Koswowsky has set up a special map using his “HeyWhatsThat” tools. Looks like there are only 4 very hard to reach spots where you can see Russia in Alaska.

  • 1m LiDAR – The USGS has released a KML file that lets you see very high resolution (1m per pixel) LiDAR terrain imagery for the Norther California mountain ranges. You can download the KML file here , then make sure you zoom into an area outlined in green and wait for the imagery for that area to load. You have to be zoomed in close. The LiDAR data shows the terrain in shades of gray. This will give you an idea of what Google Earth’s terrain could look like if they boosted the 3D terrain detail to 1 meter. Wow!

  • Airship – A few days ago I got an E-mail from some folks flying a real live Zeppelin Airship from Europe to California. They created a Google Maps airship tracking map so you could watch it travel along. The ship should be leaving Texas soon to travel to California. Even better news: Airship Ventures is setting up for tours at Moffett Field in California (one of the few remaining locations with large airship hangars – and right next door to the Google Headquarters). I actually met the husband and wife team which started this venture at the X Prize Cup last fall. Hopefully they’ll be setting up some Google Earth files for tracking their tours as they fly over the San Francisco sights. We should get some excellent Panoramio aerial photos in the coming months.

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. traveling with a Zeppelin from Hamburg, Germany to californIA…. damn, that must be the sweetest thing on this planet!!!

  2. Wish there was a way to use the default color texture with the 1M Lidar elevation mesh…

  3. Regarding Palin’s comments, anybody ever heard of this thing called a “figure of speech”? Just checking, kthx.

  4. Adjust the transparency of the LiDAR layer to create the effect of mapping the imagery onto the topography.
    Also worth pointing out that the northern California LiDAR data shown via the KML is for earthquake faults in the San Andreas fault system (hence the long narrow swaths). The data were acquired with National Science Foundation funding for a project known as GeoEarthScope.

  5. Is there a way to use the default color texture with the 1M Lidar elevation?

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