Understanding Google’s Imagery Updates map part 3: 3D imagery

In the last couple of posts (1) (2) we looked at Google’s Imagery Updates map and some of the intricacies around aerial and satellite imagery.

Thank you to GEB reader Chris for pointing out in the comments that Google’s new 3D imagery adds some further complications to the story.

Google’s 3D imagery is created from aerial imagery captured from different directions then combined to create 3D models. In some cases, Google has included a set of aerial imagery captured at the same time in the ‘historical imagery’ layer. The easiest way to identify such imagery is to look for a construction site in the 3D imagery and then try to find a matching image in ‘historical imagery’.


Left: 3D imagery of a construction site in Berlin, Germany. Right: The same location as seen in the aerial imagery dated May 20, 2013 seen in ‘historical imagery’.

When Google adds 3D imagery, the additions are not outlined on the Imagery Updates map, but instead, Google publishes a map specifically for 3D imagery. They update the map rather infrequently and it shows locations but not exact outlines. So, we at GEB maintain a KML file showing the outlines of all areas discovered so far that have the new 3D imagery. It is maintained with the help of GEB readers who let us know about new additions in the comments of this post and the assistance of GEB reader Anton Rudolfsson who marks out the outlines of the newly discovered imagery. A big thank you to all contributors.

The new Google Maps and the latest Android version of Google Earth display the 3D imagery by default and do not have a means of turning it off. As a result, locations with 3D imagery will look different in Google Maps and Google Maps Classic. In Google Earth, to hide the 3D mesh, you can either switch to ‘historical imagery’ (which turns off the new 3D imagery and shows any legacy 3D buildings) or turn off the 3D buildings layer.


Left: Google Maps Classic. Right: New Google Maps.

Above we can see a construction site in Pardubice, Czech Republic. In Google Maps Classic we can see aerial imagery including 45° imagery captured in December 2008. In the new Google Maps we see 3D imagery captured circa September 2013. In Google Earth we can see the same 3D imagery, or switch to ‘historical imagery’ and see a whole range of dates up to June 2014.

To find the locations mentioned in this post download this KML file
.

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.






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.

Comments

  1. como faz este (KML)?

    • Se trata de una lista de texto estilo XML de las propiedades de la ubicación, incluidos los valores geométricos, configuración de las opciones, nombres de archivos de iconos, etc. Básicamente, todo excepto la propia vista. Se puede transferir desde y hacia el “My Places” barra lateral.



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.