Mar 30 2011

Holy Cow! Earth arrives in Google Maps – with obliques

Published by at 1549h under google earth,Google SketchUp,Marin County

Months ago I’d noticed some cool oblique aerials showing up in Google Maps in the vicinity of Mountain View.  So nice to imagine a world with Pictometry-type imagery that was not just in Bing Maps.


Well, today I saw that Marin county, and at least Berkeley, CA and Gettysburg, PA now have oblique imagery in Google Maps, somewhere between the vertical aerial scales and the StreetView Scales.  It’s great to see, but that’s not all I noticed.

As I poked around, I hovered near the Maps button and Traffic view, and out pops an Earth button.  Have I seen this before?  I tried it out and whoosh!  I got the Google Earth plugin going with no effort.  Almost made me glad to be using Windows ;^)


Google Earth view of Berkeley, with 3D Warehouse buildings—as part of Google Maps (in Windows)


The interface tweaks to Earth in Maps are brilliant IMHO.  There is a hyperbolic path that brings people in from a vertical view to something reasonably horizontal.  All the keyboard navigation controls are there, and the two buttons to modify look direction and look location are exquisite.  Props to the Earth plugin team!

It’s pheonomenal to have both excellent-quality obliques and seamless Earth integration show up all at once.  I hope that the folks at Cal GIS 2011 in Fresno find out about this in time to collectively digest it all.  Here at Marin, we’re recognizing a big jump in the importance of having decent building masses uploaded for public consumption.

Update:  Yes, I have realized that Google Maps Earth View was announced way back in 2010.04, nearly a year ago.  I guess that it’s a measure of how much time I’ve spent in Unbutu Linux or on Android that I haven’t realized it — because Earth View still hasn’t arrived in those platforms!

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