Sunday, February 12, 2006

Google Earth

I've been using Google Earth for several purposes related to soaring. I'll write separate posts about several GE topics.)

If you are not familiar with GE, it is a fairly new free program/service on the Internet. It showed up first as a program called Keyhole, and then Google bought it and has continued enhancing it. You need high-speed Internet access to make use of GE, because there's a lot of data transferred. Just go to and download the program.

It presents a view of the globe, and you can browse, zoom, and search. The images are a mixture of satellite photography and aerial photography. If you get down close to the ground level, the terrain is show in 3D. You can tilt the view so you can really see the mountains etc. as if you were at the chosen altitude. (Some buildings in major cities are shown in 3D, but they are wireframe drawings rather then photos.)

GE has become really popular and a number of companies and individuals are "layering" other information and images onto the GE service. I'll detail some of those in the next few articles.

Here's how I've found it to be useful already:

  • Flight visualization and planning
  • Previewing airports
  • Displaying GPS traces
  • Looking at airplanes and gliders in the air (just for fun)
  • Looking at airplanes flying into LAX in real time (just for fun)

Someone is writing a blog about how GE is being used by those interested in flying and airplanes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of all things, I use Google Earth to look at "glider retirement places". So far, the top-spots (based on terrain-challenge/interest, not "lift") are Invermere Canada ("valley in the Rockies") and Driggs Idaho (west edge of the Grand Tetons).

Glide the summer, ski the winter heh heh..