Google Earth - Guide of the Traveller
Google Earth: Planetary Phenomenon
From its exit in August 2005, Google Earth became a true phenomenon. The receipt of its success? A brilliant concept (even if it is not new as we will see it) and an impeccable technical realization. The goal of the software? To provide an urban and geographical guide total, based on a representation 3d detailed and realistic of the Earth. In theory, Google Earth makes it possible to seek imports what on our beautiful planet: a pizzeria, a historic building, a route of its hotel to the cinema nearest. The software posts a level of detail such as one can even have access to a modeling 3d (simple) of the buildings over the detailed satellite images, themselves and taking account of the relief. Sum colossal of information is diffused in "streaming" since Internet (even if the images satellite can go back to a few years), in short, Google Earth is a mine of information on our planet, constantly updated.
In practice, unfortunately, all that relates to currently only the United States: the buildings are reserved for 38 cities American and only some European cities have a level of high detail and information practical. Would Google Earth be thus a simple gadget with the interest limited for the remainder of planet? Certainly not! The force of the software is indeed to make it possible to the Net surfers to add their own information. Simple "bug" on the sphere with modeling 3d of a monument or a building, it is thus possible to personalize Google Earth with its own way and to benefit from innumerable information brought by a very active community.
Earth with range of mouse: To discover Google Earth
Let us start with the beginning, namely the remote loading of the software. Google Earth exists in several versions. The paying versions propose additional functionalities like the possibility of adding buildings in 3d or functions related to the GPS, but the free version is obviously sufficient to explore the Earth under all its seams. Google Earth is available under Windows and Mac OS X (10.3 minimum)
Before launching us to the research of the villa of Zidane or desert of Tatooine, we with the interface of the software, broken up into three parts familiarize already:
Navigation in Google Earth can be made several manners. Most intuitive is "to handle" the ground with the mouse, a method which uses all the buttons.
Short cuts keyboard are also available:
Lastly, you can use the panel of navigation which gathers the same functions:
Let us note then the presence of three buttons in bottom on the right of the interface to print a sight, to send it by electronic mail, or to add information in the form of a simple marker, a superimposed image or a modeling in 3d (this last option being reserved for Google Earth Plus, paying). We will reconsider this function later.
Re: Google Earth: The Guide of the Traveller
The side panel, multi-fonction pocket knife of the "Google-earthien"
These possibilities of navigations already make it possible to have fun with the sphere and of zoomer on more detailed places (of the zones generally delimited by squares of color chestnut) to be filled with wonder at the level of precision of certain agglomerations. If you live Paris, Marseilles, Lyon, Strasbourg or Bordeaux, you will not have undoubtedly evil to find your house.
Nevertheless, the essence of Google Earth is in the side panel. That Ci is divided into three parts.
The module of research
This one comprises three mitres "Fly to" makes it possible "to fly" towards a specific place by seizing the name. It goes without saying that during the first minutes of use of the software, it is one of the jouissives functionalities: what a pleasure "of leaping" from Paris in New York, Rio or Peking in a few seconds! "Local Search", as its name indicates it, consists in seeking a trade or a monument in a city. Lastly, "Directions" makes it possible to calculate a route between two points. The last two mitres are more or less reserved for the American public.
The module "Places"
This module is the equivalent of the bookmarks in a navigator. You can safeguard your places preferred there to reach it later on of a simple double clic. It is also in this panel that the places added with the files added by the users are stored.
To exploit this module, one uses the button of the panel of navigation. A clic on this button opens a menu proposing to you to add a marker ("placemark"). You can also add other types of information as more precise charts which are superimposed on those provided by defect, or even of the models 3d of buildings or monuments, but this requires jurisdiction which exceed this article. We will however see some very successful examples of these additions.
To add a "placemark" is as simple as to add a bookmark to your navigator. You can use the button bug and choose "placemark", use the short cut Ctrl+N keyboard or, in the panel "Places", carry out a clic right and choose New > Placemark. A dialog box opens, in which you can name your marker, to assign another icon to him or to place it in an existing file (or to create new).
Note the buttons of reading in bottom of the module. Those enable you to carry out a turn of the world of your markers. To give an account of their interest to you, launch the turn of the places available by defect: campus of Google to the Imperial Palate of Tokyo while passing by Berlin or Peking, there is what to return jealous Jules Verne!
The module "Layers"
It makes it possible to post or mask a great number of copies on the sphere (borders, reliefs, buildings in 3d, roads, trade, schools, churches...) by notching them. The principal copies (real, reliefs, roads, lodging, restoration, borders) are also accessible since the panel from navigation.
This system of check box also functions in the panel "Places", from where interest to create files sets of themes where to arrange your favorite places. By notching or stripping the file, you will be able thus to post or hide all the markers who are there.
A software in perpetual motion
Several types of information can be added to Google Earth. These additions can be simple markers posed on an existing place (a subway station, a monument, a building...), but also the superposition of an image over the information provided by defect, like a more precise air sight of a city. For most senior, it is also possible to add models in 3d of monuments or buildings. The addition of information and in particular of modelings or charts is a relatively complex subject which exceeds the framework of this article. We nevertheless will teach you how to benefit from this richness from information.
As we saw previously, it is possible to define markers in precise places. It is also possible to safeguard these markers in the shape of a file KMZ which could be carried out by any user of the software, the place being then automatically added to the panel "Places".
The Community Google Earth
The first level of personalization is provided by the community Google Earth. The software indeed places at the disposal a forum where find impassioned virtual sphere.
The places added by the members of the community are classified and integrated every month into Google Earth. You can reach it by notching Google Earth community in the panel "Layers". By unfolding small Google Earth Community, you will notice that the places themselves are classified in various categories: travel information, transportation, nature & geography...
An example? Turn over on our good France old woman and zoomez on Paris. You ensure that the category Google Earth Community is stripped and unfold it. Now, notch "Transportation": the subway stations of the capital appear. Strip this option and notch "Education now" and you will see appearing the Sorbonne and Sciences Po.
The other information, considered to be less interesting by the community, is stored in the subcategory "Unranked". You can nevertheless find there information rather amusing. Always on Paris, a Net surfer indicated several places where a short film of Claude Lelouch was turned, another famous Café of the Two Mills of Amélie Poulain. Let us benefit from this example to use another functionality of the software: its integrated navigator. When you click on a marker, this one posts a bubble of information which can contain a bond towards the subject of the Community forum or an external site bringing more information, for example on a monument. A panel emerges then, allowing you of surfer on this site inside even of Google Earth. The software exploits engine Internet then To explore.
A little tourism
We saw it, Google Earth allows to post modelings 3d of buildings over the satellite charts. Nevertheless, this functionality relates to currently only 38 American cities. Fortunately, of many buildings 3d, created by the users with third software like SketchUp (repurchased since by Google), can be downloaded on many blogs. Here a selection of modelled monuments. To visualize them, ensure you to have notched the category "Buildings" in the panel "Layers" or the panel of navigation.
The Eiffel Tower
Paris has a sight relatively detailed in Google Earth, but the Eiffel tower seems to have been crushed on the ground. This file gives again all its splendour to him, at the point to even put at knees the most modest configurations.
Vestige emblematic of the Roman Empire, Colisée of Rome east reproduces in a rather faithful way with this model.
The famous letters of the hill of Hollywood overhang Los Angeles. Have fun with the camera, the vertiginous sight on the town of Los Angeles is impressive.
The guide of the celebrities
The "people" are with the honor on Google Earth. Human curiosity being what it is, temptation to fly over the properties of the stars of Hollywood or the personalities of this world is large. Among the multitude of markers available on the site Sauce Ketchup , we can thus steal such Tom Thumb of the villa of Zinédine Zidane to Madrid to the property of Bill Gates to Seattle while passing by the house of impossible to circumvent Tom Cruise... Unless you did not prefer David Hasseloff (the drafting declines any responsibility on the use of these bonds). These files are simple markers, you will not be able to thus visualize the properties under all their seams.
One finds some places of turning (even of pilgrimage for the fans): the desert of Tatooine, in the first Wars Star, was turned to Tunisia, but also to Arizona, at the place of this marker.
Peter Jackson put a point of honor to turn the entirety of the Lord of the Rings in his native New Zealand. Many places of turning, the volcano used to represent the Mountain of the Destiny, where Frodon must throw the single ring, is undoubtedly one of most impressive.
Lastly, magic of Google Earth and the cinema (sic), we finish this turn of the world express train by the gendarmerie of Saint-Tropez, to return visit in Cruchot, Gerber and the others. Is that worth the Earth of the Medium well, not?
Re: Google Earth: The Guide of the Traveller
Weather and sociological Phenomena
Google Earth is also an excellent tool of observation of weather phenomena. Even if the configuration by defect of the software does not include the same possibilities as NASA World Wind in this field (see low), of many users place at the disposal of the files of scientific analysis, like these charts analyzing the temperature of the ground. Various copies arranged per year make it possible to observe the evolution of it. Here, a functionality interesting to use is the adjustment of the opacity of the copy: the small rule is located in bottom of the panel "Places".
Google Earth and the service Google Maps became "sadly" famous after the passage of the Katrina hurricane in Louisiana: several satellite photographs make it possible to realize of wide of the damage at the moment of the facts. After having downloaded the file, you can notch it and strip it to compare.
To finish, an at the same time attractive and worrying experiment: EmotionMap is an artistic project aiming at following a group of people (obviously voluntary) equipped with a GPS, a detector of emotions and a camera. The file makes it possible to follow the ways borrowed by the volunteers, and the various points mark particular places of their day or photographs which they took at this time (a clic on the marker makes it possible to see the photograph in question). Still more extremely: by modifying the slope, the course reveals a curve of emotion which varies according to the visited places and thus makes it possible to establish a chart of the emotions felt according to places'. The file comprising a great number of information, the best manner of appreciating it is to strip all the subcategories (to strip the principal category is enough for that) then to sail in the tree structure and to visualize the data of a person at the same time.
When Google Earth does not turn out badly
Obviously, a as powerful and open software as Google Earth inspires the most serious experiments like most eccentric. The list would be too long, but here are some which did not fail to amuse us.
Paying homage to the large films catastrophes of the Sixties, a member of the community Google Earth had the idea absurdity to terribly launch a horrible red robot to the look kitsch in the streets of New York. Was it going to devastate the city? It was without taking into account the fine team of the blog ZNO, which sent heavy artillery to defend large Apple, namely a "At-At" of the Empire.
To visualize the scene, download the two files and activate the posting of the buildings.
During this time, in Texas, the Vice President of the United States, **** Cheney, apparently in a state of intoxication, shot accidentally at his comrade from HarryWhittington hunting. At the exact place of the incident, a user "immortalisé" the scene.
To finish, here the proof that Google Earth can inspire best like the worst. At the time of its hundredth number, the male magazine Maxim "innovates" by creating the first visible publicity of space, a giant counterpart of the cover of the number (Eva Longoria, opinion with the amateurs) in the desert of Nevada.
Google Earth v/s NASA World Wind
NASA World Wind: Another manner of scanning the Earth
Google Earth, even if its quality is undeniable, is not the only free virtual terrestrial sphere. Its "competitor" is called NASA World Wind and even if it shows a light delay on certain points vis-a-vis Google Earth, it is far from being uninteresting and has some specific qualities, in particular a more scientific approach. On the other hand, contrary to Google Earth, NASA Worldwind does not have vocation to be a total urban guide allowing to find its way or the pizzeria nearest. Contrary to Google Earth, it is of more available only for Windows.
The interface of NASA World Wind is rather different from that of Google Earth: one does not find panels multiple, but a bar of icons in top of the window. It gives access quickly the posting (or not) of the multiple layers of information suggested by the software: satellite images, charts topographic, meridian, borders, flags of the countries or monuments.
As for Google Earth, the most detailed information and sights relate to only the United States, in particular the sight USGS Urban Area which provides very precise representations of the urban zones (but in black and white and without building in 3d contrary with Google Earth). Returned relief is comparable so that Google Earth proposes. The management of the relief is effective for the mountains, but NASA World Wind has the annoying tendency to plate an artificial relief on the cities, which causes somewhat hazardous results.
Europe is even more badly parcelled out in World Wind and it is useless to seek there such precise sights of large French cities. Even Paris is much less detailed there.
The volcano of theSaint-Helene Mount with NASA World Wind
The volcano of theSaint-Helene Mount with Google Earth
Which is then the interest of NASA World Wind compared to Google Earth, more especially as it is definitely bulkier? The answer lies in the excellent module Scientific Visualisation Studio.
This module, accessible since a pressure on the F1 key, gives access to you many animations which are superimposed on the surface of the sphere. Those Ci describe scientific phenomena classified by categories: climatic changes, natural disasters, evolution of the vegetation... Each animation is accompanied by a description (in English) of the phenomenon. Google Earth, through the many files made available by the community, also proposes a certain number of animations of this type, but they are not centralized in a module of the software, which concentrates rather on practical information.
Another interesting possibility of NASA World Wind, in addition to the Earth, the software also proposes a visualization 3d of the Moon. Google proposes these charts in the form of service Web, but not of three-dimensional version.
With final, the two software is relatively complementary. NASA World Wind is ended a little less graphically and does not have the dynamic community of Google Earth, but it remains a very good tool.
Services Web: Earth since its navigator
Google Earth or NASA World Wind has beautiful being of the applications of quality, they require a relatively powerful configuration all the same to function in a fluid way. The more modest users of machines can nevertheless turn to services Web proposing of the functionalities similar, but based on cards in 2d.
Google is obviously present in this field with Google Local (in the past Google Maps) which uses the same satellite images as Google Earth. Unfortunately, just like Google Earth, the service has of real interest only for the Americans, the aspect "guides proximity" being completely ineffective for the other countries, of which ours. Useless thus to seek a pizzeria in Bordeaux or Marseilles. On the other hand, not of problems for New-yorkais.
The war that Google and Microsoft are delivered on the Web obviously led this last to propose its own alternative to Google Local, Windows Live Local . As for Local Google, it is based at the same time on charts and images satellite, resulting from NASA.
The service proposes rather interesting functionalities. By taking again our search for pizzeria on New York, the service allowed us zoomer until an air sight of the street of the required pizzeria! For us other French, Windows Live Local is on the other hand of an interest even more limited, the French cities, including Paris, being locked on a level of very insufficient zoom.
Microsoft also gives access to beta of an interesting technology which consists in exploring a city through a series of multiple photographs in subjective sight, in particular effective to represent a route visually.
Future for the Services
Which future for the services of cartography?
We are clearly with the stammerings of the type of applications suggested by Google Earth or NASA World Wind. Already very impressive, those must nevertheless make with some limitations: whatever the software used, it always arrives a moment when the sight becomes fuzzy. Google Earth proposes its sight "buildings", but one begins to dream of modelings even more detailed of the streets. This progress themselves is limited by the colossal task that the virtualisation of our planet represents and inevitably influenced by their geographical origin. For the moment, the two software headlight is American. Google Earth has a very significant Community support which largely helps to fill the international gaps of the software. Multiple projects are born: the near total of Germany thus has been just covered in high resolution and a project of modeling of the streets of London is in hand. Nevertheless, the software takes all its direction only if one lives in the United States or that one projects to go there. In the state, the "local" side of this type of services is still far from being exploitable for other countries.
The most promising initiative remains "Google Earth French" promised by the IGN. Few information still filtered on this project, which should be partially paying, but it should restore a certain balance and to reach a level of detail without precedent of our territory the IGN thus promises a precision of a pixel for 50 cm thanks to photographs taken during mission of overflight in the plane. 400.000 stereotypes would be thus used to cover the hexagon and the DOM supplemented by 3600 charts sets of themes on the scale (excursions, river, drills, parks...). Partners as the Land register could them also bring their data. A video first of demonstration of the service is available since the blog of Jean Michel Billaut
While waiting, Google Earth remains currently the most advanced application in its kind and the "total" dimension of the software is as for it a mine of information on our planet. Good explorations!
hey mauricio .. this is some nice interesting post... would like to share some of my collection of google earth.........
Manhattan View point
Re: Google Earth: The Guide of the Traveller
nice detailed guide
Then he died; but he had neighter burial nor tomb, for so fiery was his spirit that it sped his body fell to ash and was borne away like smoke... Thus ended the mightiest of the Nolder.
Re: Google Earth: The Guide of the Traveller
Oh very very nice.... i wanted to know stuff abt google earth... never tried it. Good post!
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