In part one of this blog, we covered 25 ways Google Earth is helping clarify and change our world. In this part two, we’ll cover 25 more facts about Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Street View, including a bunch of cool features that will leave you in awe!
1. You can’t see EVERYTHING on Google Maps. It’s estimated there are 51 things you aren’t allowed to see their maps for security or privacy concerns, including The White House, U.S. Capitol, certain military bases and embassies around the world, energy and nuclear sites, and even a few schools, private businesses, and certain towns are blurred.
2. Sites in hostile territories and rouge nations are often blurred out, as is the case with maps of North Korea, where you can only see low-res images of a few roads and other sites, but little in detail.
3. The owners of the satellites Google uses can choose to blur other certain areas. Additionally, Governments, businesses, municipalities, and even private parties can petition Google to blur their location.
4. Are you obsessed with movies about end of the world and a nuclear apocalypse? Using Google’s Maps framework and a bit of programming tweaks, you can watch what would happen if a nuclear bomb happened to be detonated in your city.
5. If you thought Google Earth and its affiliated applications couldn’t get any cooler, consider that Google Earth includes a flight simulator so you can cruise over the earth like a top pilot! From the tools menu, just select “Enter Flight Simulator” and then you get to choose which aircraft you want to fly in, as well as what location you want to take off from. Amazing!
6. Using Google Maps to scan a bird’s eye view, a 1,000 year old “fish trap” constructed with stones set underwater was discovered off the coast of England.
7. Copyright violators should think twice about copying Google Maps and using them for their own. In fact, Google strategically inserts fake street names and features in their maps. Called “Copyright Easter Eggs,” they make it easy for Google to prove someone pirated their map – and take legal action against the offender.
8. Want to try a cool real estate function on Google Maps? If you go on the site and search for “homes,” it will produce a map of all the homes that are for sale in your area, including their prices.
9. Likewise, type in ‘*’ in the search field on Google Maps, and all of your local businesses will show up.
10. And if you press number 3 while looking at Google street view, a cool red-cyan 3D view will appear. However, you’ll need a pair of red-cyan glasses (3D glasses) to view it in 3D.
11. Google Maps isn’t always used flawlessly around the world. In fact, Nicaraguan troops one time marched across the border into neighboring Costa Rica, burned a protected forest, dredged the San Juan river and dumped the contents, just because their commanding officer used Google Maps to plan his maneuver instead of military charts. Oops!
12. Where does the imagery for Google Maps and Google Earth? In fact, the satellite imagery for both mapping sites comes from a host of sources and third-party providers. It’s not data that’s exclusive to Google, as the imagery is actually available to anyone who wants to purchase it from these available public, government, commercial or private sector sources.
13. More than ever, Google Earth and Google Maps is an interactive experience, as you can set your own points of interest while adding your own descriptions and photographs, which will be superimposed on your map. Simply go to Create and Share Custom Google Maps to see how you can create your own fun and personal cartographic experiences.
14. In some ways, Google Earth picks up where Google Maps ends, as Google’s less popular site offers many features you can’t access on Google Maps.
15. With Google Earth, you can explore remote and isolated parts of our earth where there are no streets or cities, including the rainforests, the base camp of Mount Everest, Polar Regions and oceans.
16. Thanks to our space exploration program, you can now even explore digital satellite imagery of the Moon and Mars on Google Earth!
17. Google Maps can display up-to-the-minute traffic conditions in many part of the UK, allowing drivers to avoid busier and clogged roads. That feature is expected to expand to many more bumper-to-bumper and busy cities around the world.
18. Google’s Street View is taking their Maps and Earth programs to the next level. You can now explore world landmarks, natural wonders, and other notable spots, as well as two areas under the earth, including the subterranean ALICE caverns and Akiyoshi-do caves in Japan.
19. Google’s Street View function can document real life from a street-view, or person’s eye level perspective, with amazing detail and resolution. But what about protecting the privacy of those people who happened to be in these images? Google uses technology that automatically blurs every face in Street View, and even blurs license plate numbers on cars!
20. Street View even allows you to “enter” certain buildings, like museums, art galleries, important public buildings, libraries and restaurants, etc., and get a 360-degree view!
21. You can even take a “virtual walk” through the White House, the Palace of Versailles, the Roman Coliseum, and the tallest building in the world.
22. Google has partnered with thousands of business owners in the U.S., UK, Australia, New Zealand, France, Canada, Ireland and the Netherlands to bring you these features, and is rapidly expanding their reach.
23. In fact, you can enter 156 museums around the world, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, using the Google Art Project – without worrying about buying a ticket, long lines, or hours of operation!
24. Street View and other Google features may be revolutionizing how we document our world, but that sometimes comes with awkward situations. For instance, there are plenty of times where people are caught on camera doing illicit, inappropriate (or even illegal!) things in Google’s images.
25. Google scans for and removes as many of these occurrences as they can, but users can also report them by clicking "Report a problem" at the bottom of the image.