The New Google Earth 6.1

 

Google Earth 6.1 has just been released, and it comes with a handful of very nice features. You can download the new version here.

Changes to “Places”
With our ever-growing collections of saved Places in Google Earth, they’ve added a few tools to help us keep them organized. If you have a folder full of places, you can now click on that folder and sort them all from A-Z. In addition, there is now a small search bow at the bottom of your “places” window that allows you to search within your saved places to find items.

Changes to Street View
Late last year, Google added some big improvements to the Street View mode in Google Earth 6. They’ve now refined it a bit further by allowing you to single click to move to a new location (instead of requiring a double-click) and they’ve improved the zoom feature. Now you’re able to use the slider control on the right side of the screen to zoom in and out with much greater control. Street View in Google Earth also has a slightly wider field of view, similar to that found in Google Maps.

 

street-view.jpg 

New lengths in ruler
We just showed you some great ways to use the Google Earth ruler a few weeks ago, and it had a minor change with this update. When using the “line” tool, instead of just telling you the length of the line, it will show you the “map length” along with the “ground length” of the line, which can vary slightly.

 

map-length.png 

New fonts for street/place labels
It’s hard to tell exactly what they’ve done, but it appears the fonts have been reduced in thickness (un-bolded, sort of), but also increased slightly in size. In any case, they’re a bit easier to read.

Minor tweaks in the sidebar
Along with the changes to the “Places” section, they’ve revamped some of icons over there, and turned the (+) folder expansions into soft arrows, to make it look a bit less harsh.

New settings in “Tools –> Options”
You can now set the “Units of Measurement” to use your system default (rather than specifically choosing feet vs. meters)

“View –> Reset” menu option
This is still accomplished more easily with the keyboard, but you now have some options to reset your view with the menu. If you’d prefer to reset with the keyboard, you can press “n” to face north, “u” to reset to a top-down view, or “r” to reset both.

“Help –> Upgrade to Google Earth Pro…” menu option
A very minor addition; another bit of encouragement to upgrade to Google Earth Pro. Clicking this simply loads an informational page on what you’ll get in Google Earth Pro.

Updates in Google Earth Pro
Speaking of GE Pro, 6.1 has brought some nice updates to that product on top of the updates listed above including enhancements to the printing layout, movie maker and better support for proxies and SSL certificates. They also tied the elevation profile into the ruler tool, saving a step when working with paths, as shown in the screenshot here. More details about the Google Earth Pro updates can be found on the Google Enterprise Blog.

 

elvaruler61.png 

All in all, it’s a solid update. Nothing groundbreaking, but lots of little enhancements to make the Google Earth experience better for every user.

Google Lat Long Blog

The Google Earth Explorer

Paul van Dinther is at it again, with another great Google Earth script for us to play with. You’ll remember Paul from fun projects he’s built such as Ships, Helicopters, and Drive the A-Team Van.

He’s now developed GExplorer, a fun way to fly through Google Earth. It’s a physics based 3D view controller that allows precise and smooth control of the camera. It does this by combining keyboard and mouse input. Camera movement is in 6 degrees of freedom meaning you can look anywhere and go anywhere. It takes some getting used to, but works amazingly well.

It feels a bit like the controls in a first-person shooter, where you move around with the keyboard and control your view with the mouse. The feeling of smoothly gliding over the mountains as you fly around Google Earth is quite amazing.

Here’s a video showing it in action:

You can try it for yourself over on his site. Google has recently purchased GExplorer from Paul for the express purpose of making it open source. If you’d like to integrate it with a project of yours, head over to Google’s GExplorer project page to get more information.

New way to view photos in Google Earth

For more than five years, since we first learned of Panoramio, photos have been a big part of Google Earth. Being able to fly around and view geo-referenced photos in Google Earth is a great experience. Today, that experience got better.

Google has just enhanced the photos layer with clusters, making it much easier to find and browse photos on the map. To get started, make sure that you’ve enabled the Photos layer in the left layers panel, and then zoom in anywhere on earth. As you get closer, you’ll see icons begin to appear; click one, and you’ll see a screen similar to this:

cluster.png

You can then click any item int he filmstrip to quickly view it, or use the left/right arrows on your keyboard to browse through them.

As always, you can add your own photos to Google Earth by simply uploading them at Panoramio.com.