Using Google Earth at 90 MPH on a Boat

Sarasota Poker Run Motor Boat Race in Google EarthGoogle Earth has been used at high speeds in airplanes before. And, it’s been used in racing sail boats. But, this is the first time I’ve heard of Google Earth being used on the water, with a laptop, in a racing motor boat at speeds up to 90 mph! Virgil Zetterlind, who produces some amazing Google Earth content for boaters at his site, managed to talk his way onto a sponsored racing boat during the Sarasota Poker Run last weekend. The boat was a Formula Factory 382 FAS3 Tech Boat. He offered to provide live tracking and web cam photos from the boat during the race and the tracks were uploaded using a cell phone as Google Earth KML. You can see the tracks now (colorized by speed) along with the photos he took. Here is a post with some background information about the story, a map, and slideshow by Virgil. And, for the technically inclined, Virgil has posted a detailed case study describing the software and hardware used to accomplish this feat. A great read for those wondering how to use Google Earth for tracking applications. Only thing I wish is that I could see some video of Virgil trying to hang on to his laptop and GPS while the boat was bouncing at those speeds. Virgil gets 5 globes for most geeky and adventurous application of Google Earth this month!

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. Street View in these French cites provides some fascinating images, but what you do notice is that the cameras have not penetrated pedestrianised areas in some of the most scenic parts, such as the area around Notre Damede la Treille in Lille.
    This may wall happen more frequently in Europe than elsewhere, so can the technology be made more portable, or is the view always going to be that of the motorist?

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