LBS and Fusion Tables and Vector Tiling

Another week has passed and we are all still alive and kicking. Humanity never fails to surprise me. Anyway, Geo

continues to roll on and keep us excited.

Read Matt’s blog and get cracking.  Bonus points for rolling TileMill and TileStache together!

Google Earth: Joplin’s tornado 3D model

Not long ago, we showed you some fresh imagery from Joplin, MO, after they were hit by that devastating tornado.

Steve Ansari from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) recently sent us an amazing file that shows debris from the tornado in a 3D model!


You can view it yourself using this KMZ file.

A report was recently released from NCDC which gives a summary on the Joplin event and includes a flash movie showing the visualization in Google Earth.

The software used to create the KMZ file is the NOAA Weather and Climate Toolkit, which is developed at NCDC.

Here is a bit more about how this works, in Steve’s words:

The Radar site conducts conical sweeps at increasing elevations off the ground and measures the ‘reflectivity’ of particles in the atmosphere. Large rain drops, hail, and in this case debris are represented as high reflectivity values and it is ‘reflectivity’ which we are most accustomed to seeing on television and internet weather maps. Each sweep is represented as a COLLADA model with the semi-transparent Reflectivity image draped on the model. In addition, several isosurfaces are created from the 3D reflectivity volume and represented as polygons in the KML. A tour is also included in the KMZ.

Visualization of Grimsvotn’s ash cloud in Google Earth

Last April we showed you a variety of imagery and tools related to the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption in Iceland, as it caused some major travel delays across the globe.

This year, the nearby Grimsvotn volcano is the one erupting and causing issues, though it’s on a much smaller scale than Eyjafajallajokull’s was. To show the extent of the ash cloud from Grimsvotn, Adam Burt has built a very cool visualization in Google Earth.


Not only is it a great visualization, but it has a few extra dimensions that you wouldn’t expect; elevation and time. You can fly through the visualization to see how the ash spreads differently at different elevations, and you can also animate the entire cloud to see it in motion.

To try it for yourself, simply download this KMZ file. For more, check out the post over on Ogle Earth.