Explore the 2012 London Olympics in Google Earth

As I’m sure you know, the 2012 London Olympics kick off today, and there are a lot of great ways to use Google Earth to explore the city of London and the various Olympic venues around town.
New Imagery
Google has pushed out fresh 3D imagery for much of London, including the Olympic Park area. It’s not the sharpest imagery we’ve ever seen, but it’s less than two months old and clearly shows all of the Olympic venues.


3D Buildings
Virtually all of the venues are in 3D in Google Earth — they’re not generated via the new “3D Terrain” (which would have been awfully cool), but they’re the older high-quality 3D models. They look great!

Street View
While we don’t have any cool indoor trike-generated Street View imagery, Google has updated most of the Olympic Park area with very new, very sharp imagery. If you’re not familiar with how to use Street View inside of Google Earth, here are some tips to get you started.

Google’s “Explore London” page
Google has built a great page to help you explore London and the various Olympic venues, including some great view fly-throughs, such as this one of the Marathon course.

We’ve talked about DataAppeal a few times in the past (like when they made some nice updates back in April) and they’ve created some visualizations of Olympic-related material. For example, here is the movement of the Olympic torch on its way to London:

DataAppeal has just produced a new video to show off some of the other things they can do, which you can view here.
Go Explore!
To see all of this great Olympic coverage in Google Earth, head over there with this KML file and check it out for yourself!

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.


  1. http://Munden says

    I found more updates to Street View in London, I think. I noticed that some major train stations such as Charing Cross, King’s Cross, and Paddington are now in Street View too. I believe these are brand new updates put in this week too. The image dates are from 2012.

  2. http://Chris says

    There seems to be some confusion here – Google Lat Long blog has announced a major imagery update (KML dated 24 July) including the Olympic site. But the KML shows no update in the London area, where the vast majority of imagery dates from 2010, and the May coverage of the Olympic site was placed in the historic layer a few weeks back.
    The Google trikes may not have been able to get into Olympic venues because of security concerns over high res photography getting into the wrong hands (although G4S is the biggest security issue 🙂 ). In addition there is fresh controversy in the UK after Google admitted that it has not deleted personal information that Street View cars secretly collected, and this has put Google at even greater odds with the UK Information Commissioner, see
    It is a shame that these problems are prejudicing the future of such a great product.

  3. http://Maarten says

    It looks like only the Olympic Park itself has been updated as far as satellite images go. For instance, the Beach Volleyball court built right in front of the Horse Guards Palace was completed in 2011 and used for several “test” competitions. The image in Google Earth is still 2010. There are a few more recent images in Historical Imagery actually, one of which does show the Beach Volleyball court, but the surrounding areas are rather cloudy and it isn’t the best quality.
    Too bad they didn’t get a whole London update through with recent images.

  4. http://PaSKud says

    KML actually shows that there has been update in London – if you zoom to the Olympic site you can see red outline that is not rectangle or square as usually but more complicated shape – I guess they didn’t get good quality to the rest of the area so they used what they had…

  5. http://Sladys says

    There has actually been an update in GE in London not mentioned in the update kml, using the Timeslider.
    You can see the the shooting range at the Royal Barracs,the equestrian stadium in Greenwich Park, the beach Volley stadium at Horse Guards Parade and the triathlon swimm venue in Hyde Park.
    You can see them at Google Earth Hacks.

  6. http://Chris says

    @ PaSKud/Sladys Thanks for your correction and the extra information, but perhaps in these situations GE could thicken the red lines used by the KMLs and explain what can be found only in the historic layer – in this case all the updates except the Olympic Park, and all of it at a much lower resolution than the surrounding 2010 imagery. There are also sporadic Street View updates elsewhere in London as mentioned in earlier comments on GEB.

  7. http://Chris says

    CANAL VIEW – Google Maps Mania have the news that Street View trikes have been along some canal side paths (tow paths) in the UK – a world first (?) – and there is imagery of the Caen Hill staircase of locks at Devizes, and also imagery on the Llangothllen canal, but the trike apparently baulked at crossing the historic and hair raisingly exposed Pontcysyllte acquaduct, which is a shame.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.