A few months ago we showed you the neat “aircraft view” on FlightRadar24.com. It was a new feature that showed the view of planes in flight via the Google Earth plug-in, based on coordinate and altitude information.
In the time since then, they’ve renamed the feature “Cockpit View” and it’s become quite a bit better.
You’ll see in the photo above that it now includes a map overlay, a fully functioning instrument panel, and a “rotate view” button that allows you to see out the sides and back of the plane.
To see this in action for yourself, simply head over to FlightRadar24.com, click on a plane in the map, then choose “Cockpit View” from the menu on the left.
Last month we showed you Paul van Dinther’s amazing “A-tour” — a nine-screen set-up that is an incredible way to view Google Earth tours.
To keep things running smooth and stable, the system actually shows various videos captured from Google Earth, which Paul loads ahead of time. The result is stunning, but building those videos has proven to be quite an effort. To help with that, Paul has created a tool called “TourMaker” that does much of the work for him. While building it, his system looks something like this:
The result is some very impressive tours, such as the one seen here:
Here’s more of what Paul had to say about it:
A cubic spline is fitted through each location but also for each camera orientation parameter such as heading, tilt and roll. The result is a silky smooth camera animation that can be fined tuned by adjusting any of the 18 views.
A spline doesn’t care how far apart each position node is so in addition to the six splines controlling the camera I may need a seventh spline that controls time but the speed can be controlled quite nicely by careful node placement.
Tourmaker is able to output KML tour data based on any duration and field of view. However, for A-tour I need 9 tour files for each display. For this the tourmaker can output a project file that can be processed by my existing proprietary tour manipulation software. Since all these are internal tools it will do the job.
The software isn’t yet available to the public, but Paul is hoping to fine-tune it and release it sometime soon. In the meantime, you can grab this KMZ file to play the Grand Canyon tour for yourself.
Over the years we’ve seen some creative ways that people have used Google Earth. From the crazy “skydiving” a few years ago, to Paul van Dinther’s impressive A-tour, we’ve seen a lot of great ways to stretch Google Earth.
Today’s is a mixture of crazy and awesome — a simulator that uses the Xbox Kinect to allow you to pretend to be a pigeon and fly around London. It looks great!
Check out the video below to see a bit more about how it works.
Late last week, the Space Shuttle Endeavour flew atop a 747 into White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The shuttle continued its journey to Edwards Air Force Base in California. In October, The Space Shuttle Endeavour will be moved via road to a special display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
During the flight, DigitalGlobe captured an amazing image of the shuttle, which can be seen here:
You’ll notice that the color is a bit off in the image. The reason for that, as explained by DigitalGlobe:
In this image, the color offset of the aircraft occurs when a fast moving object is imaged by the satellite as the panchromatic image is collecting just slightly before the color image of the same location. When the image is merged together to make a color high resolution image, there is a slight offset on fast moving objects.
FlightRadar24.com is a site that does a nice job showing live air traffic on top of a Google Map. They have a great interface, but it’s similar to other sites that we’ve seen in the past.
However, they’ve just launched a new feature that almost seems obvious, yet I’ve never seen it before — “Aircraft View” using the Google Earth Plug-in! By clicking on a plane and choosing “Aircraft view (BETA)” from the sidebar, a window pops up on your screen and shows you the view from that plane via Google Earth.
The view runs pretty smoothly in most cases, and includes 3D buildings in the view. All in all, it’s a great addition for a site like this and a very creative use of the Google Earth Plug-in.
You may notice that coverage is most comprehensive in Europe where most aircraft have the right type of transponder and there is a denser network of volunteers picking up the signals. You can read more about that on their about page. That said, coverage in the US and elsewhere is continuing to expand.
Go explore this fun new feature for yourself at FlightRadar24.com.