Google Earth 6 Mixing In 3D Elements adds integrated Street View, 3D trees

Google Earth version 6 was released Monday giving new meaning to up close and personal. The upgrade adds integrated Street Views into Google Earth along with a new emphasis on trees. More than 50 species of trees have been added to Google Earth’s 3D models of places.

Also with this latest version of Earth, Google has added a new character to the software’s repertoire, Pegman. Similar to the way Google Maps works, when looking at an aerial view of a location, areas with Street Views available are outlined in blue on the map. You can drag Pegman to any blue area and you’ll be immediately taken to a street level view of that location. Better yet, you can “walk” down streets by using the scroll wheel on a mouse or the cursor keys on a keyboard.

While in Street View, you can toggle to 3D view, which gives you a ground level view with 3D graphics buildings and now, 3D trees, too. “In Google Earth, while we and our users have been busy populating the globe with many thousands of 3D building models, trees have been rather hard to come by,” Google Product Manager Peter Birch explained today in the company’s Lat Long Blog. “All that is changing with Google Earth 6, which includes beautifully detailed, 3D models for dozens of species of trees, from the Japanese Maple to the East African Cordia to my personal favorite, the cacao tree.”

With 3D trees you can see tree species in places like parks, neighborhoods and forests. Some 80 million trees have been “planted” so far by Google Earth in places like San Francisco, Tokyo, Athens and Chicago, as well as the Surui Forest in South America and Kahigaini, Kenya.

Google has also added a time machine of sorts to the new version of Earth. If you view an area where historical imagery of it is available, the date of the oldest imagery will appear in the status bar at the bottom of the screen. Click on that date and you’ll be transported back in time to see imagery about that place at that time.

Whether you’re using the desktop version of Google Earth or its browser plug-in, the new features add a personal dimension to viewing places both familiar and far away that’s the next best thing to being there.

Google released version 6 of its desktop-based 3D mapping tool, Google Earth. The update adds integrated Street View, 3D trees, and an easier way to access historical imagery.

The features, while not likely to matter in the short term to Google’s ad-driven revenues, signal the Web search giant’s intent to stay on the cutting edge of mapping technology as it expands into the potentially lucrative market for local, geographically targeted search.

Most notably, Google’s Street View, which looks to digitize much of the world’s accessible areas through photos from its 360-degree camera-equipped van, has been fully integrated in the new version and allows users to zoom-in from outer space right to someone’s door step in one swish. The feature previously required users to click on Street View icons in available regions.

Additionally, for nature-lovers among us, Earth 6 boasts the introduction of 80 million 3D trees in Athens, Berlin, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Tokyo, which have been “digitally planted” using models of dozens of species of trees. The company also plans to work with environmental outreach programs such as Africa’s Green Belt Movement, Brazil’s Amazon Conservation Team, and Mexico’s Conabio to help model the planet’s threatened forests.

The ability to browse historical imagery on a location has also been made more easily accessible. Whenever there is a historical image of a location — allowing you to see how it looked back in time — a status bar will now be shown at the bottom.

The tool was previously updated back in June with version 5.2, adding an integrated Web browser and visualization of walking and biking tracks.

Google today introduced its latest – and very souped-up – version of Google Earth, the company’s interactive digital atlas. According to the company, the next version will take “realism in the virtual globe to the next level with two new features: a truly integrated Street View experience and 3D trees. We’ve also made it even easier to browse historical imagery.”

According to Google, the new features will enhance your user experience, and allow you to “explore your childhood home, visit distant lands or scope out your next vacation spot with even more realistic tools.”

Wait…3D trees? Yes, 80 million little green trees, all created digitally by Google, just for you.

It’s hard to resist checking the new version out, and what you’ll find are “virtual world” images that begin to remind you of science fiction movies, or Star Trek’s “Holodeck,” as a New York Times blogger pointed out.

In addition to mixing up the images with enhancements from Google Street View and include those three-dimensional trees, the new Google Earth is also making it easier to browse historical images and maps on the platform. With the Street View photos layer added to the experience, users can sort of “fly into” 3-D version of Google Earth and find a more realistic depiction of locations near and far.

The “swooping in” feature is not new to Google Earth – that was added in 2008 – but the swooping into Street View is more than a little cool. “In Google Earth 6, the Street View experience is now fully integrated, so you can journey from outer space right to your doorstep in one seamless flight.”

There are apparently more new features to come with the new and improved Google Earth, but Google is releasing them slowly. Said the company on its blog, “Over the next several days on our LatLong blog, we’ll be digging deeper into these great new features, but here’s an overview to whet your appetite.”

And DO check out the 3-D trees.

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply