Now with trees: Google Earth 6 update brings foliage to 3D streets
Google has launched a new update to its Google Earth application which includes 3D trees and even closer integration with its Street View service.
Google Earth 6 also includes a big update to its popular historical imagery feature which means that viewers can find out when old photographs of the place you are visiting are available to view.
Earlier versions of Google Earth already showed buildings in 3D, but version 6.0 now adds 3D trees to the landscape. These roughly approximate the areas where trees appear in real life and the update includes highly detailed models for dozens of different species of trees.
Google Earth 6.0 view of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, complete with new 3D trees
Google has already 'planted' 80 million trees in Athens, Berlin, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Tokyo.
Peter Birch, Google Earth Product Manager, said: ‘I think we can all agree that our planet without trees would be a pretty desolate place. Besides the ever-important task of providing us with the oxygen we breathe, trees are an integral part of the landscape around us.
‘In Google Earth, while we and our users have been busy populating the globe with many thousands of 3D building models, trees have been rather hard to come by.
‘All that is changing with Google Earth 6, which includes beautifully detailed, 3D models for dozens of species of trees, from the Japanese Maple to the East African Cordia to my personal favourite, the cacao tree.’
The 3D buildings layer must be on to view the 3D trees. In some cases, trees have been modeled individually in a handful of locations, such as Disney World and the Eiffel Tower.
Elsewhere the right types of trees are used to represent what exists in real life, so palm trees dot San Francisco's front and olive trees cling to the Acropolis in Athens.
The new iteration of Google Earth colours roads in blue when the user is able to fly down to use Google Street View
'Pegman', the character who is used to move around Street View, is now available to drag onto Google Earth images
A more subtle change to the application is the deeper integration with Google’s other popular service, Street View. In 2008, Google Earth included Street View for the first time which let users ‘fly’ down from the bird’s eye view to ground level.
Now where StreetView data is available the roads are coloured blue, allowing users to fly directly from space to their own street in one journey.
The familiar ‘Pegman’ character from Google Street View now appears on the screen and can be picked up and placed wherever a blue road appears. The update also makes moving in the Street View layer easier to do by using the mouse to ‘walk’ along roads.
Users who want to visit somewhere further away can click the “exit” button and return to an aerial view where they can easily fly to your next destination.
The new feature now includes 3D trees to sit alongside the 3D buildings
The update to the popular historical imagery feature makes it easier to know what dates are stored for the area you are visiting.
The feature, first introduced in Google Earth 5, enables users to visually go back in time to see such things as Warsaw in 1935, London in 1945, and Port-au-Prince Haiti before and after the devastating earthquake of January 2010.
When you are looking at an area where historical imagery is available an icon will say what the oldest time period for that area is. Click on the date and users are instantly taken back in time to view imagery from that era.
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