Here’s a nice little addition to your My Places which shows what the earth looks like from space at night.
Astronomers see this picture as light pollution ruining our views of the heavens. Environmentalists see this as wasted energy. I have to agree with both. It wouldn’t take very much for us to start creating better lighting systems that light the ground, not the sky. But, still, this picture is pretty!
One thing missing when you see the earth upon opening GE is the lack of any clouds. This link will open a KML file which downloads the latest view from space of clouds for the entire earth. The satellite photo is usually only minutes old, so the coulds are pretty close to real-time. The image file is about 450K, but those of you who use Google Earth probably have the bandwidth.
I keep this “Global Cloud Map” in My Places for a quick look at what kind of weather is out there.
[EDIT: 9/26/05 – This link stopped working, so I’ve found a new improved Global Cloud map which you can find here]
As a pilot I have used GPS for navigation in my plane since 1998 (starting with a Garmin GPS195). During the last year, I discovered you can use tools to document your flight by saving your GPS flight log to your computer. One tool I found particularly nice is called GPS Visualizer (at www.gpsvisualizer.com). The picture at the right (click the picture to see larger) is an example of a flight I made shown in GPSVisualizer. The color of the track represents altitude.
I’ve shared GPSVisualizer’s capabilities with other pilots (oh, it’s also good for all kinds of other GPS activities by the way), but after seeing Google Earth I immediately wanted to try my flight tracks in it as well.
When I first show people Google Earth, I do the classic zooming down to find someone’s house. Or turn on a layer like Banks/ATMs to show how the data can be useful.
But, the real shocker about Google Earth is when you show them the “Tilt” feature and that this is a 3D model of the world! Any mountainous area will do, but let’s try Mount St. Helens which is a particular good view. After going there, find the up/down slider on the right side of the navigation area of Google Earth (when you put your mouse over it will say “Adjust Tilt”) and try it out.
IMPORTANT TIP: the best way to take control of your 3D viewing of Google Earth is to use the middle mouse button. Click and hold the middle button and watch how you can pan and tilt around any view. Another tip is to hold down the SHIFT key while doing this and making circular motions to pan at a fixed tilt.
[EDIT – 10-Jan-2006: this network link is currently not working. The author who supported it recently went to work for Flickr and is migrating it to new servers at Yahoo (who own Flickr).]
This is truly an amazing feature of Google Earth. It’s all about the network link – a feature Google Earth has to allow a place you are viewing to tap into applications or data running on someone elses server on the Internet.
Imagine being able to find the photos anyone has taken near the place you are looking at in Google Earth. Imagine little icons of the photos appear magically at the coordinates where the photos were taken from within Google Earth. Now,
follow this link to watch it happen right now! (NOTE: Turn this Place link on, then place yourself at a place of interest and wait 30 seconds or so. Little photo icons should start appearing if there are photos at Flickr near those coordinates. If not, try moving to a more popular location or zooming out a bit.)
You can click on the little photo icons and a pop-up cloud appears with a link “View at Flickr” which will let you see the full-sized photo.
The Network Link is the most power feature within Google Earth. There are already lots of interesting features being implemented using the network link and I predict there will be even cooler features coming out soon.
I found the Flickr 50 network link through this post at the Google Earth Community.