Google Earth 3D Imagery progress report

[Update: It turns out the September figures are wrong (thank you Frank) due to errors in the KML not being handled well by the Area calculator we used. Here is the updated chart.

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It has been a while since we last looked at the progress of 3D imagery in terms of area covered. If we got our map and calculations reasonably correct then it seems September was a particularly good month as far as new 3D is concerned. Take the figures as approximate as we found significant discrepancies in our totals suggesting we have some mistakes in our KML map (which we are looking in to). It must be noted also that we are looking at areas not previously covered with 3D or expansions to existing areas. Google has released a significant number of updates to already existing 3D, but that is harder to track, so we have not attempted to keep a record.


Area in square kilometres of 3D released by Google. Areas calculated with the help of this site.

If you are interested in the areas by country, you can download the figures as a .csv file here. US states are listed separately as the US has more coverage than the rest of the world. California alone has more 3D than any country in the world other than the US.

It is hard to put an exact date on most of the 3D imagery, but when we have been able to identify the date the imagery is typically released six months to a year after it was captured. One reason for the long processing time is that Google puts extra effort into certain structures such as bridges, as can be seen below.


The Verrazano Narrows Bridge between Staten Island and Brooklyn, New York.

Hong Kong must have been a particularly difficult challenge to photograph, with all its tall buildings and mountains.

To see where all the 3D imagery is download our 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. I guess there is an error in the calculation for Sep. 2015, as my (handmade) statistics for September say just 21.758 square kilometers, just by adding all the September shapes in the KML.

  2. 3D imagery in Cardiff was updated as well, looks way better

  3. I wish they would bump up the render distance in cities like New York. You ought to be able to see the Manhattan Skyscrapers from the bridge in your screenshot.

    • That has to do with the resolution of the window, the larger it is the further out is the draw distance.
      But I have to agree, this should be in the options. One of the many things where GE needs change..

      • The resolution affects it but it behaves differently in many cities. For instance, Philadelphia has a much more generous render distance than NYC.

    • If this is true, then we can expect higher render distances in the future!

  4. Lansing and East Lansing, Michigan have been updated within the last two weeks or less. The imagery is from sometime during the past summer, around the same time as the non-3D was most recently updated (July). There are several new buildings and construction projects, as well as the renovation of the Capitol Dome that date it. It doesn’t cover quite all the area covered by the previous 3D rendering. There is an interesting phenomenon caused by a moving Pepsi truck on the Shiawassee Street Bridge. It’s visible from the south, but not the north. Colors seem a bit gaudy (and not just on some of the new apartment buildings, which are, indeed, gaudy).

    One thing about the latest renderings is that they actually do stationary cars. Trees are also more realistic, to the extent that you can sometimes tell what kind they are. Airplanes in some cities actually have a tail section that connects to the fuselage, rather than floating in space.. You won’t see that in Lansing, however. The airport lies just outside the new rendering. Curved buildings still seem to be a challenge. The scaffolding on the Capitol Dome makes it hard to judge, but the curving corner of the former Knapp’s Department Store (Washington and Washtenaw) is probably worse than the previous render, and the Michigan Hall of Justice on the west end of the state government complex also has issues, to name a few.

    I wonder if the connections between Larry Page and East Lansing have something to do with the fact that Ann Arbor still hasn’t been rendered, while East Lansing has been twice.

    • Timothy Whitehead says:

      I believe Google manually improves the aircraft models in some cases as they do with bridges and particular buildings.



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.