Major Google Earth Update (Maps to follow)

Read all about it on the Official Google Blog: Happy Birthday, Google Earth:

We got so excited around here about the first anniversary of Google Earth that we decided to celebrate a bit early. Beginning today, you can download a brand new version, Google Earth 4. Running on OS X? Feel the love. Prefer Linux? Ditto. Yes, we’re releasing simultaneously for PC, Mac (universal binary for full performance on both Intel and PowerPC based Macs) and for the first time ever, native support for popular Linux distributions. And we should say “salut,” “ciao,” “hallo,” and “hola” to our French, Italian, German and Spanish users, because Google Earth is now fully localized for those languages in addition to English. This includes a UI localized to French, Italian, German, and Spanish, as well as local search, driving directions, geo-coding, and unique local information layers for those countries.

And… better resolution, KML for Maps, geo-coding, Maps for Enterprise …

“Sanka, you dead?”

“Ya man.” 😉 (Cool Runnings, 1993)

Why such a post-title, you ask?
For one I haven’t updated the site for a while. Well, I haven’t posted in a while, been doing some behind-the-scenes-stuff though (fixed the 404, changed the background, updated to WP 2.0.2, positioned some impact craters, etc.). So it’s about time for a normal post.

And two, the quote reminds me of some winter fun. I know it’s spring already, but last friday I went skiing in Europe’s longest indoor skiing facility (or so they say). 625 meters in all.

AlpinCenter Bottrop halfway downAlpinCenter Bottrop halfway down

I must admit it was a lot of fun, really. It does not compare to standing on a real outdoor mountain side, but one can easily spend a day at the slope, not in the least bit because all materials, food and drinks(!!!) where all-inclusive. (I confess, I’m Dutch ;-))
Though they should’ve put up some easy to spot road-signs and installed an airco in the bar/restaurant.

On returning home I started up Google Earth and found they’ve updated their maps and have almost all of Germany in high-res. Thus the slope is easy to spot. You can see the Center for yourself in Google Earth (KML), it’s the inverted question mark being constructed. Don’t worry, in real life it’s finished, I’ve been there remember? 🙂

Google Earth: Suspected Earth Impact Sites March 2006 update (KML)

SEIS database legendThe IFSG released a new database containing all the known suspected earth impact craters. I could not stay behind and updated the collection for Google Earth.

Google Earth KML Download the March 2006 edition of the SEIS database (200KB KML).

So if you happen to discover some craters yourself, now you can check if it’s in the collection of suspected and/or confirmed craters.

Addendum (2006-03-14): A few people noticed that some craters are far off from where they’re ‘supposed’ to be. Just take a look at the crowd at 0 lat. & 0 lon. or ‘Hongkong’ in the middle of Africa. It’s all because the positioning in the original database is sometimes missing or just plainly wrong. It was my deliberate choice to include all structures and not filter out the bad ones.
I’m slowly trying to find the right spot for some craters, but with 500+ structures it isn’t easy it’s quite a puzzle. 🙂 Especially if there are no visible cues on the ground. So if you have any suggestion as to where each crater really belongs, use the comment box below and I’ll update ASAP. Thanks!
Added note: It looks like the conversion from Excel to KML introduced some errors as well. My bad, sorry.

Google Earth for Mac, update (3.1.0617.0)

The PC version of Google Earth has been out of beta for some time. The first beta of GE for the Mac was released around the same time. And now we have an update. 🙂

First look tells me it solved a few bugs with the previous beta. Icons are showing, polygons are showing, it’s a little bit more snappier, …

Get your update from earth.google.com or via ‘Help’ > ‘Check for Updates Online’.

Google Earth: Suspected Earth Impact Sites (KML)

NOTICE: The KML has been updated.

Impact IconA while ago I found the Impact Field Studies Group:

… The overall intent in forming IFSG is to bring together widely-separated researchers doing work at a variety of impact crater locations to share the observations and field experience for the common good of the impact community.

What’s most interesting about this group is that they’re maintaining a massive data base of 543 suspected Earth impact craters. Note the bold suspected! Now, you may know I’ve already converted the confirmed ‘Earth Impact Database’. You can imagine the former one just has Google Earth written all over it. So without further ado I present you:

All 499 Unconfirmed impact craters on earth,
Google Earth KML the SEIS Database in KML (144KB) (Mac users see note below!)

What’s in this database?
Well three times the dents you got from the confirmed one. Mostly small craters, but a few extremely large ones like the 800 km (~500 mile) Bangui in Africa (covering almost the entire Central African Republic). I had to skip a few because of lacking coordinates. Not all data is correct, as you may notice a few scattered in mid-ocean, just click the icon to find out where it should belong. It’s all a matter of garbage-in-garbage-out (apart from the few conversion mistakes made by me). I hope you’ll enjoy this one.

Bangui suspected impact crater

Silverpit suspected and disputed impact crater

A herd of suspected massive impact craters in Kazakhstan

Note: no network link this time as I didn’t want to polute the confirmed database and fear my little server won’t handle the load churning up 499 craters. 🙂

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR MAC USERS: I found out yesterday that this KML collection borks Google Earth for Mac. Please do not save it in your ‘My Places’ folder as it will work fine at first but after a restart you may loose all your placemarks! Because of some weird character bug, where otherwise fine KML data gets corrupted, it brings down your entire collection. Don’t ask me why or how. You can leave it in your ‘Temporary Places’ folder, just remember NOT to save it.
If you did get the corrupted ‘My Places’ you can get your placemarks back by visiting your ‘~/Library/Application Settings/Google Earth/’ folder (or something like that). Your placemarks file resides there and you may salvage what’s left of it.
Sorry, GE for Mac’s really Beta I guess. 🙁
It works fine on GE for PC, though!

Update 2006-02-21: I think it’s now safe for Mac users, provided you’ve updated to the latest beta.

Google Earth for Mac, download now

Google Earth (no longer beta)It’s official! Google Earth for the Mac is here. While Google Earth for the PC was stripped off its beta status, they’ve also released the Mac version. You’ll need OS X 10.4 and up (see the requirements).

Get Google Earth for Mac (or PC)

Read the official anouncement and Stefan from Ogle Earth already has a review up.

Is it too soon to be asking for a ‘Pack for Mac‘? 😉

Google Earth Mac Beta

Google Earth Beta After an evening of trying out the non-public beta of Google Earth for Mac OS X I must say… YES! Finally. 🙂
I, and a lot of Mac owners, have been eager to run this piece of software on a Mac. And now we can. Not officially, because the download page at earth.google.com still mentions Apple Macintosh computers are not supported at this time (but we are working on it).

And they definitely are working on it. See the screenshot below.

Google Earth on Mac OS X

All I can say right now, is:

  1. It works. On my iBook 12″ (Tiger inSideTM) I can spin and zoom the Globe quite happily without resorting to *hacks*, Virtual Desktop, Remote Desktops, etc.
  2. It’s buggy. It froze on me a couple o’ times. With all the options turned up, it hampers. A DirectX option on OS X???? Polygons are garbled. The app icons look like s… Images in popups don’t seem to work. And there’s probably more.
  3. It’s NOT finished. So it is not expected to work YET! DO NOT COMPLAIN it is a non-public beta that happened to leak. Otherwise Google would’ve made publicly available.
  4. It’s great. If you get motion-sickness too easily, don’t mess with the scroll-pad. 😉
  5. This apps Useragent is ‘GoogleEarthMac/LT3.1.0371.0’. So the ‘network link’ people know now.
  6. It’s a first for Google! As in: A first major software ‘leak’. A first major application on OS X (GMail Notifier was an excercise).
  7. Compatibility? You’ll probably need a current (hefty) Apple product with the latest OS (X) and patches. But we’ll know for sure once they release it.

So how do YOU obtain a working version?

You’ll have to wait a little longer! Google is working on it. How long? Maybe a few days or months.

Update: It’s here. Go get it from Google!

Sidenote: If you manage to install GE on a Mac. You may want to look at some spectacular impact craters on Earth’s surface. Download the kmz’s and open them in GE. Enjoy! 🙂

Update: Stefan from go.ogleearth.com has been asked nicely by the Google people to take down the download links. He also has a more in-depth review of GE on Mac OS X. I haven’t gotten any comment from Google, yet.

Google Earth for Mac OS X around the corner…

Or is it??? I’ve blogged about it before. Well, it was more a kind of ‘wishing out loud‘. But just yet the Google Earth fairy brought me a package. It looks, smells and tastes like a Mac app. Unfortunately I’m at work and my Mac is at home. So I cannot be sure.

A quick look around the package which bears the version number 3.1.0371.0 looks genuine enough. Whether somebody is pulling a prank, tries to make my Mac a bot or gave me an early Christmas gift I cannot tell at this point. Still have to finish off half a days work, rush home, eat and then, only then, start her up. 🙁
Think I’ll fake an upcoming flu. *cough* 😉

AppleInsider has the scoop (and the screenshot) to back this up. All I can say: “I’ll get back on this…” Can’t wait to get home.

Note: No official word from Google yet.

Update (23:00 GMT+1): Well, it works! 🙂

Exploring the earth from your couch, part 2

Imagine yourself sitting down on your couch in front of your television, as usual. A drink in one hand, the TV remote in the other. Don’t worry, the chips are within reach. Within the press of a button, or two. You spin up a three dimensional globe and with the directional buttons on your remote you ‘cruise’ around the earth. Occasionally zooming in to street-level (provided a plane taking off from O’Hare isn’t blocking your view.) and back up again.

Maybe check out the beach of your next vacation spot? Or the surf? Maybe find out where ‘Moldavia’ is located, if it really exists…? Show your holiday photos from Florida superimposed on a map, to your inlaws? Brag about how you developed altitude sickness going up ‘this’ mountain? Or take a look at some impact craters? Or…

Virtual Earth on a Media Center PC (Sean McLeod)

Well, Sean McLeod pulled it off, sort off. If you own a Media Center PC and are willing to do so some ‘hackery’ stuff. You could be viewing the earth in its full satelite glory from your couch for real. (Judging from the pic above.)

Now, I don’t own a Media Center PC, Front Row capable Mac, TV-Set Top box nor any other TV-enabled device. (Yes a laptop could be attached to a tv, but where’s the remote…) But if you think about it. Wouldn’t that be ‘swell’…
Maybe Google should consider porting Google Earth to XBox or Playstation?

IMHO, we won’t be seeing the last of this!
Internet on a TV sucked, big time, because TV’s aren’t meant to be read off. They’re meant to be viewing pictures at a rate of 25 or 30 frames a second. Thus, viewing satelite images of your neighbourhood, on your TV, with you in control of the view… Excellent!

Thanks to James @ Spatially Adjusted. (Part 1 is over here)