Declan Butler, Senior Editor at Nature, has posted a new update to his Avian Flu outbreak map for Google Earth. This outbreak map is an excellent resource, allowing you to see the locations in detail in GE’s satellite photos, and view an overview of the outbreak over time. Make sure you explore the options in the Placemarks pane once you download it so you can turn on the entire history of the cases, both human and animal. When he last posted an update we noted a decrease in the rate of new cases. This month the notable addition is the human cases in Indonesia. Declan has also posted a detailed blog entry about the challenges of managing a potential pandemic outbreak in a developing country like Indonesia.
The National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been experimenting with Google Earth as a visualization platform. Last year I had put an earlier version of their radar reflectivity composites in a storm tracking tools collection. The nice feature being that the radar data had transparent areas where there were no storms, so you could still see the satellite photos for unaffected areas. I am in the process of collecting new storm tracking tools for this year’s storm season. The NSSL has been improving their excellent collection of network links for tracking thunder storms (read some papers they have publised on using GE for weather).
The most useful network link at the NSSL web site is the CONUS radar reflectivity map with severe warning polygons (the areas where severe warnings are in effect). Note: the data is updated every 1 to 2 minutes. You can turn on and off a “Contrast Adjustment” (black or white) which helps highlight the data. You might also want the satellite maps to compare IR, visible, and water vapor satellite photos (which update every 10 minutes) to the radar data . The visible satellite file is missing when it is not daylight hours in the US. The storms yesterday afternoon were pretty interesting.
There are many other useful Google Earth files and weather data on the NSSL web site. If you are really into weather, I encourage you to look. Very soon I will be publishing a new collection of storm tracking tools for Google Earth to help track tropical storms and hurricanes. Leave me a comment here if you know of any particularly good new ones.
This is a rather unique idea for raising money for college: Ride a unicycle through 6 states in the northeast and collect money by amusing people along the way and through a clever web site. So, that’s what Max DeMilner is doing. And what better way to visualize and track Unicycle Max than through a Google Earth network link ? Max has a GPS and his brother periodically receives the GPS track and uploads it to the server so you can see his track.
I was contacted by Max’s brother Kyle who is managing the web site. Kyle asked for some help with setting up the Google Earth file and I simply recommended the use of the network link. This is a really unique and fun idea. You can turn on the roads layer in Google Earth and zoom in and look at the aerial photography to see the places he went. I recommend you visit the nicely designed web site, look at some of the fun pictures and videos, read about how he got stuck for a week due to raining and flooding, and check out where he is today (or just see the route he took). And, how about dropping Max $5 or more for his entertainment and college education?
[NOTE: This file now has “live tracking” of the race. Read more.]
Last year, shortly after Google Earth was released, a bunch of Tour de France (TdF) fans in the Google Earth Community (GEC) put up the complete route of the 2005 TdF. The race was still going on while they were completing it. This year, the complete TdF 2006 course has already been mapped in Google Earth well ahead of the July 1st start (see the official TdF 2006 web site). It’s a network link, so any refinements will get updated automatically, so save it in your “My Places” if you plan to follow the race. Once it loads, you will just see the tracks for each stage. For more details open up the folder and turn on each stage’s detailed placemarks showing the checkpoints. You can check out the satellite photos, but more importantly make sure you use the pan/tilt features in GE so you can see the mountains they go through. Thanks to ‘lucifer666’ at the GEC, who also did the Volvo Ocean Race network link.
Read other interesting Google Earth stories in the following categories: 3D Models, Flying, Sailing, Science, Sightseeing, Sports, Tips, and more.
For a long time, I’ve been expecting to see a lot more integration between calendar events and location information. For example, you should be able to have a Google Map inside your Google Calendar and see pushpins for your event locations. This would enable you to have directions built right into your calendar appointments. You can already create an HTML link to a map or GE file for a calendar event right now. And, while you are perusing in Google Earth, you should be able to turn on calendars of events to see what is happening. For example, while looking at New York you should be able to turn on the “broadway show” layer and see placemarks for what shows are showing tonight and where they are located. And, the placemark description should have a link to buy an E-ticket.
Just last week, someone in Austria announced a cool web site which is a big step in the right direction. The web site has the whimsical name of Shnitzl, it’s free, and it lets you create events and show them in Google Earth! Right now there is just a few events mostly in Austria. But, anyone can open an account and create events for anywhere in the world. Look at the network link for the events here. One thing I like is that it has color coded icons according to whether a placemark is a future event, current event, past event, or just the venue for an event. And of course, you can use Google Earth to get driving directions, check out the satellite photos, search for a place to eat before or after, etc., etc.