By now you’ve likely heard all about the wreck of the Costa Concordia, the cruise liner crashed off the Tuscan coast last Friday, killing at least 11 passengers.
DigitalGlobe has since captured aerial imagery of the site of the wreck, which can be found in their gallery or viewed below.
I’ve added that image to Google Earth as an image overlay, which you can view by downloading this KML file.
Another great way to view the ship is thanks to Paul van Dinther from PlanetInAction.com. A few years ago we showed you the amazing collection of cruise ships that Paul created for CleanCruising.com.au. One of the ships that Paul created for that project happened to be the Costa Concordia.
Since he had a 3D model of the ship and the skills to make some great tours, Paul put together this short video showing a bit about what happened.
Thanks to the generosity of the folks at CleanCruising.com.au, they’ve allowed Paul and PlanetInAction.com to release a full KMZ file of the stricken ship, which you can download in this KMZ file. Paul’s model is amazingly accurate, and he includes various notes in the file to show the path of the ship.
Great work, Paul!
To see the file for yourself, simply download this KML file. Colin has also put together a blog showing Cook’s day-by-day journal, which is pretty neat.
I encourage you to check out those links to learn more, and below is some info from Colin that tells more about this voyage that Cook made.
On February 9, 1770, Endeavour reached Cape Turnagain after completing the circumnavigation of North Island, New Zealand. Cook turned southward with the intention of sailing round Tovy Poenammu (South Island), a voyage which the people of Queen Charlotte’s Sound had told him could be achieved in 3 or 4 days. The belief in this possibility persisted until 19Feb1770 when land was seen stretching off to the south-west, showing Cook that there was more to discover in that direction.
The voyage down the east side of the island identified the major features of the coast: Cape Campbell, Banks Island (actually a peninsula), Cape Saunders, and South Cape. On two occasions, exploratory trips were made away from the coast towards the south-east, in which direction people thought they could see land. What they saw turned out to be cloud which dissipated as the sun rose.
As when rounding North Cape on North Island, Endeavour was buffeted by storms and encountered strong swells as she rounded South Cape, and this convinced Cook that there was no land for a considerable distance to the south-west and that they had indeed reached the southernmost point of the land.
On the west coast they saw many of the bays that are now called the New Zealand Sounds, but were prevented from anchoring either by winds sweeping them past (Dusky Bay) or the uncertainty of being able to sail out at will (Doubtful Bay). There was much mist and fog as they explored this coast and typically they would hove to at night to avoid running aground.
Endeavour anchored for a few days in Admiralty Bay, not far from Queen Charlotte Sound. After refreshing the supplies of wood and water, Cook left the shores of New Zealand from Cape Farewell with the intention of exploring the east coast of New Holland (Australia).
The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht race, now in its 66th year, is underway off the coast of Australia. The 628 nautical mile race, in which racers travel from from Sydney Harbor to the historical port city of Hobart, is a very popular event in Australia. Event organizers have provided Google Earth tracking of the race for a few years now, and it’s a great way to follow the race.
Along with the course line and locations of each boat, as seen above, you can click on any of the boat icons for more information; details on the boat, a photo, description, precise location, etc. It’s quite a comprehensive file. The file is built as a network link, so it automatically updates itself with new information every 10 minutes.
To get the KML file for the race, simply visit this page on their site. Along with instructions, they also have a couple of KML files available to download. One is the main racing KML, the other is a CSIRO file that shows sea surface temperature and current directions, which is a great supplement to the main file. Head over there and follow the race right now!
Back in the mid-1700’s, Captain James Cook made a variety of discoveries around the world including the first European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands. In addition, he recorded the first circumnavigation of New Zealand.
Colin Hazlehurst has put together an amazing tour of Cook’s circumnavigation, featuring an excellent 3D model of his ship, constructed by Phillip Müller.
To see it for yourself, you can download this KML file.
Here’s a brief overview of Cook’s journey, taken from the KML file:
His Majesty’s Bark Endeavour sailed from Plymouth on Friday, 26Aug1768 with Lieutenant James Cook as Commander. The mission of the Endeavour was to boldly go…oh no that’s Kirk not Cook.
The first objective of Cook’s voyage was to observe the transit of Venus from the island of Tahiti in June, 1769, and after that to explore the Pacific with a view to determining whether or not there was a large southern continent.
At 2 p.m. on Saturday, 7th October, 1769, land was seen from the masthead of Endeavour bearing west by north; this was the North Island of New Zealand and James Cook gave the order to stand in for it.
The ship anchored in Poverty Bay in the afternoon of 8th October, yet it took another four months to complete the circumnavigation of the island.
From Poverty Bay, Cook first took the Endeavour southwards along the coast as far as Cape Turnagain, where he decided it would be more fruitful to explore to the northwards. By meticulous observation of the sun, moon, and stars, Cook charted the coastline, noting the hazards to shipping and the places where there was safe anchorage and plentiful wood and water.
Always along the way, he tried to befriend and trade with the people he met, though not every encounter was successful. There were well-armed, warlike people who lived in strategically placed strongholds, but also friendly and curious people who were happy to trade fish and other seafoods for cloth and nails. Cook always regretted the taking of life, but sometimes it was necessary in self-defence.
He rounded East Cape on 31Oct1769 and made his way along the coast in a broadly north-westerly direction. He made extended visits to the Bay of Islands and Mercury Bay, this last so named because they observed the transit of Mercury, and so were able to fix the latitude and longitude of the bay to a high degree of accuracy.
It took more than 3 weeks to round North Cape, in the face of westerly gales, strong currents, and a broad swell. Cook found it impossible to land on the ‘dangerous’ west coast of North Island, finding no safe harbour or anchorage. He rounded Cape Egmont and made his way to Queen Charlotte Sound where the ship was careened and scrubbed.
After narrowly avoiding the small islands called The Brothers, Cook took Endeavour through Cook Strait and started to explore the east coast of South Island. However, to prove to his officers that North Island was indeed an island and not part of a larger continent, he took advantage of a favourable wind to complete the circumnavigation of North Island on 09Feb1770.
In Colin’s words, here’s how the file itself works:
This Google Earth presentation animates the 3D model of a ship as it follows the track of the Endeavour, and is accompanied by a reading of Cook’s journal. The circumnavigation of North Island is divided into sections which have significant start and end points. In Google Earth terminology, each section is known as a ‘tour’.
To play a given tour, first find it in the Table of Contents folder. You will see the name of each tour displayed as a hyperlink against a Folder icon, e.g. Poverty Bay to Cape Kidnapper. A single click on the hyperlink will display an information balloon which shows, for that tour:
• The start and end dates of the journey. • The duration of the tour in minutes and seconds, being the length of time it will take to play the tour in Google Earth. • Start a tour by expanding the Folder to show the Tour icon and the title ‘Play’ and double-clicking the icon.
Frank Taylor here, the founder and publisher of Google Earth Blog. Many of you who are regular readers of Google Earth Blog know that since November of 2009 my wife and I have been traveling by sailboat on a round-the-world trip we call the Tahina Expedition. Tahina is the name of our boat which we bought in 2008. We sold our house, cars and most of our belongings to have this opportunity to see many of the most remote parts of the Earth that we had only visited in Google Earth before. We have already crossed the Pacific Ocean leaving our home state of North Carolina to the Caribbean sea, to San Blas, the Panama Canal, Galapagos, French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga, and New Zealand.
In early May of this year, we left New Zealand and sailed for seven days up to Fiji. Since that time, we have had some amazing experiences in Fiji. We have enjoyed visiting with people in remote villages of eastern Fiji – many who have rarely seen foreigners and have little contact with the modern world. We have had some amazing underwater experiences on some of the liveliest coral we have ever seen. We have had remarkable encounters with marine life such as dolphin, sea turtles, lionfish, shark, sea snakes, eels, manta ray and more. We have also seen some pretty unique locations such as underwater caves, uninhabited islands, white sand beaches, and huge island resorts.
Today we published a Google Earth file of our Fiji experiences . It includes GPS tracks of our routes as we sailed between anchorages. It also has tracks of dinghy trips to various places, hikes, kayaking trips, and even some taxi trips. There are placemarks of our anchorages, dive sites, and other points of interest along the way. And, finally, the file includes links to all the geo-tagged photos from albums we have published to Picasa. You can read more about the file in the post at the Tahina blog.
For those of you who don’t want to wade through 3 months of blog posts about our stay in Fiji, here are a few of the more interesting stories from Fiji with lots of photos: