New Terrain, May Imagery Details, More Ads in Google Earth

Google has released details on the new imagery for Google Earth that was released last weekend. Once again, GEB readers found most of the new imagery on their own. Google Maps is now showing the new imagery as well.
As happens often now with new imagery releases, Google also deployed some new higher resolution 3D terrain. I was initially disappointed to note many of the places are in relatively flat areas. The list of new terrain locations: Contra Costa County, Paris, Copenhagen, Dallas, Houston, Jacksonville, Lisbon, Madrid, Memphis, Mexico City, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, Sevilla, St Louis, Tampa, and Toronto. However, after further examination, the resolution of some of this new terrain is pretty high. This adds even more realism to some cities. In fact, in some places it is even picking up buildings – such as this scene in Madrid showing the shape of a building instead of the terrain:

Funky 3D terrain in Google Earth

This can create a problem for some 3D modelers who had to create their own terrain based on older terrain data, now supplanted by new terrain. See a post by Concept3D, which has created thousands of GE 3D models, and is by now used to this issue.
That said, some cities like Miami, Orlando, and Houston really don’t have much in the way of 3D terrain to offer.
Forgot to mention that I also spotted more ads in Google Earth if you click on placemarks for the “Places->Places” sub-layer found under the “Geographic Web” (they are the slightly bigger blue squares that look like Panoramio icons. The Places layer shows a combination of Wikipedia, GEC, Panoramio, and other combined data about a given place. They also now have ads in the lower right. I think these ads are useful though because they are usually related to the place.

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. I can’t tell of the new imagery for Phoenix, anyone tell me how I can tell.

  2. GE fan 500 says:

    Some spots by Madrid are quite fun with Monster Milktruck!

    FRAnCE – higher res and updates in 22 named departments is really good, half of which GEB readers had spotted.
    GREAT BRITAIN/UK – the information “considerable amounts of England” is less helpful, and so far GEB readers have only offered a handful of suggestions. Perhaps the updates are not complete administrative areas such as counties, but any further suggestions from readers would be welcome.

  4. i don’t understand why they never updated the terrain of the Sugarloaf in Rio. it is about 400 meters high, but still the terrain there is flat. although nearby mountains has the terrain

  5. GE fan 500 says:

    I found this deep hole by Madrid. It looks like a mistake. Location: 40.417525,-3.702183

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