A Google Earth memorial for Andria Ruben McCool


Last month, Google lost one of their own when Andria Ruben McCool passed away unexpectedly. Andria was around since the Keyhole days of Google Earth, and she was a a driving force behind the impressive “Crisis in Darfur” layer that Google introduced in 2007.

As a sharp-eyed GEB reader discovered recently, Google has built a simple in-Earth memorial to Andria in the form of a labeled body of water, as shown here:



You’ll need to make sure to have “Water Bodies” checked inside of your layers section (Borders and Labels –> Labels) to see the text. Here is a KMZ file to fly you to the exact location.

It’s nice to see Google honor her life like this, even if it’s a very small token. As far as I know, this the first memorial of this kind in Google Earth.

Enhancements to the mountains in Google Earth

While Google continues to add great new features and tons of new imagery to Google Earth, they want to be clear that they’re not forgetting about some of the basic layers such as the Mountains and Water bodies.

A few days ago they pushed out an update to the Mountains layer which includes some powerful new features, including a detailed information window, Panoramio photos, cross-section views of the mountain and tours that they’ve created for every mountain. For example, here is a video showing the tour of the Matterhorn:

For this feature to work, you need to enable the “Mountains” layer on the left-hand panel in Google Earth. Of course, an increasingly difficult challenge is finding the proper layers as Google continues to add more of them. For the Mountains, you’ll find it under “Borders and Labels” –> “Labels” –> “Mountains”, as shown here:


In addition to the mountain layer changes, they’ve added thousands of new labels to the “Water Bodies” layer, which can be found just below the “Mountains” layer in the image above.

Hopefully Google will continue to finesse the organization of the layers section and make it easier to find the hidden gems like this one.

Better view of mountains in Google Earth

Mountains have long been catalysts for inspiring artists and challenging the human spirit. Today, we’re adding a host of new features to the “Mountains” layer in Google Earth, to more easily appreciate their elegance and beauty. To see the layer, make sure “Mountains” is checked in the left layers panel of Google Earth.

Let’s fly to Mount Everest, the highest mountain on the planet, to see one of the latest features. A green icon () will now be visible from high up.

Click on the green icon to view information about this mountain. Below is the bubble that will appear when you click on Mount Everest.

The bubble content includes Everest’s elevation, a link to a KML tour (more on that below), a link to an article on the mountain and a slide deck of Panoramio images. Hovering over the image will reveal arrows to let you view additional photos of Everest.

In the “Elevation Profile” section, you can view elevation cross-sections of the mountain in four directions (click on the links labeled “S-N”, “W-E”, “NW-SE”, “SW-NE” to change the cross-section views in the direction of your choice). The cross section is shown as a black line on the shaded relief image of the mountain, viewed on the right-hand side.

We’re also excited to show off the tours created for each and every mountain. Click on the “Fly on a tour” link to download a KML tour. Hit the “Play” icon once the tour has downloaded and you’ll be taken to a vantage point near the peak and flown in a circle to take in the views. Below is a YouTube video showing the tour for the Matterhorn.

We’ve also added hundreds of thousands of new labels for water bodies all over the world. Click on the “Water Bodies” label just underneath “Mountains” in the layer panel to see new labels for seas, bays, lakes, and reservoirs (rivers are not yet labeled).

We hope these changes will help enhance the use of Google Earth for education, learning, and exploring.