On Tuesday we had a look at Google Earth Pro’s Movie Maker. Today, we are looking at another Google Earth Pro exclusive feature, the Viewshed tool.
The Viewshed tool shows the line of sight from any given placemark. The Google Earth help page lists some possible uses as:
- Checking the views from a house you plan to build.
- Architects can analyze the views available from a tract of land before designing buildings.
- Real estate agents can evaluate views remotely, and take views into consideration when they set property prices.
- Businesses can make rough estimates of cell tower coverage from a particular location.
- Advertisers can try out different locations for billboards and signs.
We were impressed to discover that it takes into account not only the terrain, but also any 3D models in the scene, including the 3D mesh areas Google has been rolling out, or even models the user has in their ‘my places’.
Using the tool is very simple. Add a placemark where you want the Viewshed to be calculated from, right click on it and select ‘Show Viewshed’. Be patient, as it can take a while before it even lets you know it is calculating, and trying to do other things in Google Earth while it is still calculating the Viewshed may cause it to crash. If your placemark is at ground level, the tool will offer to automatically raise it to a usable height, or allow you to edit the placemarks altitude.
The Viewshed from a tower in Vienna, Austria. You can see the ‘shadows’ cast by tall buildings.
For more, watch this YouTube video created by Google: