Google’s New Mapping Features
Earlier this year Google announced two major updates to Earth and Maps. First to arrive was a brand new Google Earth experience that is web-based (not an install) and will even work on Chromebooks. With this web based version you can see and experience the world like never before. Just visit https://earth.google.com/web to get started.
This latest version 9 of Google Earth puts a big focus on guided tours via the “Voyager” section, which serves as a jumping off point for YouTube videos, 360° content, Street View, and Google Earth landmarks. The tours are led by scientists and documentarians, with some content produced by well-known groups like the BBC’s Planet Earth team. For children, there’s a Sesame Street muppet section. This curated content section will be continually updated and currently, there are about 40 stories. The new version also has an “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, which will whisk you away to a random point on Earth and show you a “Knowledge card” with some information from Wikipedia. There is a bookmarks section, a new 3D button to see any place from any angle and support for Google Earth’s KML files, which allows you to easily import geographic data. This version of Google earth, which was two years in the making also has support for Mozilla Firefox.
The second update relates to Google Maps which has added a dozen planets and moons to its interface so users can explore more of space without ever leaving their home. Google recently announced that it partnered with NASA and the European Space Agency to be able to generate the new detailed maps of Venus, Pluto, and many of Saturn’s moons. One of the notable sources Google took images from was the spacecraft Cassini, which took over half a million of pictures during its 20-year lifespan and journeys to Saturn. Images are now available on Google Maps of Earth, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, and the International Space Station where you can explore images inside the ISS from the perspective of a European astronaut who spent six months there.