The big Google Earth news this month was a relatively minor update to the client. But its release does indicate continued interest by Google in the Google Earth product. After several years of very minor bug fixes, this update actually had a minor new feature as well as updating the interface components.
On a less positive note, the radar layer stopped working and Google decided to remove it, leaving the cloud layer as the only remaining ‘weather’ layer.
We had a look at a Chinese nuclear submarine in the Karachi port in Pakistan and a nearby scrapped oil tanker that exploded in an unrelated incident.
We had a look at “The Floating Piers” on Lake Iseo, Italy and “The Gates” in Central Park, New York by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
We talked about a setting in Google Earth that causes it to notify you when it encounters errors in KML. This is useful if you are a developer that produces KML.
We had a look at a nice Easter Egg in the latest version of Google Earth. We incorrectly stated that it was the first such Easter Egg in Google Earth. Apparently the Google Earth Flight Simulator was first introduced as an Easter Egg.
Google open-sourced a new compression library for 3D graphics and we speculated about whether or not it will be used in Google Earth and Google Maps to improve performance.
We had a look at what DigitalGlobe is doing with artificial intelligence to analyse satellite imagery.
We made our 2017 wish list for Google Earth and received a lot of extra wishes from GEB readers in the comments.
We released maps of the imagery updates of 2016 showing approximate locations of all imagery found in the ‘historical imagery layers’ for each month of 2016.
We made a number of observations about the 2016 imagery update maps.
On January 14th, SpaceX had its first launch since the launchpad explosion one of its rockets suffered last September. In anticipation of this, we had a look at a number of SpaceX related sights in Google Earth. The launch was successful, as was the return of the first stage of the rocket, which landed on SpaceX drone ship ‘Just Read the Instructions’. See the full launch here. Fast-forward to the 27 minute mark to see the spectacular landing.
We had a look at a 3D building that appears to have been captured at multiple times and the imagery combined, so we can see it in different stages of construction.
We had a look at a river in Russia that turned a striking red colour due to pollution.
We had a look at a problem with the recently added global mosaics of Landsat and Sentinel-2 imagery that were added to historical imagery. The worst aspect of the problem – the mosaics not fading out when you zoom in – appears to have since been fixed.
Google updated the historical imagery layer in late December and we did a number of posts looking at various sights in the imagery.
We had a look at:
- The Italian earthquakes, the Burning Man festival and a Train crash in Texas.
- The Calais Jungle migrant camp in France, which has since been closed, and flooding in India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Japan.
- Several wildfires in the US, flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and a tornado in Kokomo, Indiana.