Thales

Google Earth

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Have any of you tried "Google Earth"? If not, I highly recommend it.

The software is free to download here:

Click This Underlined Link

It's only about 10 Megs.

What it is is a program that allows you to view multiple points around the world via satellite images. For instance, type in the name of a city, say London, and Google Earth will zoom right in on London. Then, you can find some landmark, say Big Ben, and zoom in on it. It's very easy to use and navigate with.

You can move around with the control panel and your mouse. Try the mouse keys, including the roller control atop your mouse if you have it.

I was able to find my apartment here in St. Louis.

B)

Want to see grocery stores in the area? Just check the box on the left hand panel, and you'll see little shopping cart icons on the map, and the name of the store. It has it for banks, coffee houses, gas stations, etc. etc.

Also, it can give you driving directions. I've not explored all of its features yet, but I'll be trying it out for a while to see what more it can do.

It's an absolutely amazing piece of software.

Initially when you zoom in the resolution will be low, but wait a few seconds and it slowly increases.

Try it out!

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You don't have to download anything at all! Just go to maps.google.com

Not the same thing at all. You'll need to try it to get the idea.

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Not the same thing at all.  You'll need to try it to get the idea.

Ah, I see what you mean. Neat! Although this looks like as good a place as any to also say that google maps offers a lot of good stuff, too.

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I'm simply addicted to this program...I've been looking up all sorts of landmarks and cities since I saw this post.

Everyone should definitely give this a look B)

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I'm simply addicted to this program...I've been looking up all sorts of landmarks and cities since I saw this post.

You and me both!

What's great about it is that it's very practical in the process. Want to visit Athens Greece? This will give you a preview before your visit, allow you to get the lay of the land, so to speak.

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I recommend taking a look at the vegas strip, I spent a lot of time looking at those sprawling casino properties and golf courses. There are supposedly areas on the strip where you can zoom in to a resolution of about half a meter, though I haven't been able to find them.

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Aww, it's not available for download right now. I wonder how the heck they managed to do this.

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Aww, it's not available for download right now. I wonder how the heck they managed to do this.

I'm sorry to hear that.

The say they'll be back sometime, however.

Btw, Do what?

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Btw, Do what?

I wonder how the heck they managed to create such an extensive database of 3D maps.

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I wonder how the heck they managed to create such an extensive database of 3D maps.

They're not actually 3D, its difficult to explain without actually looking at them. The perspective is altered slightly on the standard overhead satellite photos and the result is a fairly effective 3D look. There's an option to switch back and forth between 3D and 2D.

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I like the program. I do wonder if that couldn't be used by terrorists... :D

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I like the program.  I do wonder if that couldn't be used by terrorists...  :D

I do not know if it is being used by terrorists, but it is being used by my local government.

My former next door neighbor wanted to start a home based business, so she went to get a local business license. One of the city clerks asked her if she had any business signs on her property. My neighbor answered no, but how would you know if I was telling the truth? The clerk supposedly said, Because I'm looking at your property right now, and showed my neighbor everything on her property including the pool in her back yard.

If city clerks who process business license's have the capacity, imagen who else does.

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yeah - unsurprisingly they seem not to have gone into an enormous amount of detail over Antartica in this Beta version. :D

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yeah - unsurprisingly they seem not to have gone into an enormous amount of detail over Antartica in this Beta version. :D

The fuzzy area I referred to was actually in the city in which I live, a city with over 100,000 residents. It's alarming to discover that your world is actually fuzzy! :D

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This program looks great, but what's with the areas that are fuzzy and never become clear? Does this indicate a lack of data?

Publicly available (i.e. free) geographic data varies widely in quality and resolution. There are many different kinds of data - terrain (usually referred to as DEM, for digital elevation map, providing height as a function of a 2D surface coordinate), aircraft photos, satellite visible light, satellite infrared, land use/land cover, roads, boundaries, etc. Much of it is available from the US Geological Survey. The entire U.S. terrain map in 3 arc-second resolution (in latitude/longitude) has been available for a number of years now, which I used in a 3D train simulator project. I think there's even higher resolution now available, 1 arc second or less.

The reason for the weird quiltwork look is that some areas have better publicly available data than others - it might be higher resolution/better quality terrain data, higher resolution satellite data, availability of aircraft photos (orthoimagery), etc.

Two good sites for this stuff are:

http://www.geodata.gov/gos

and

http://vterrain.org/

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