Virtual Tourism

Virtual tourism, google maps mashup, google video

US Election Map

We have added a YouTube Video Unit to our US Election Map.

The US Election Map already contained candidate videos it now contains a video unit that allows you to watch the CNN/You Tube candidate debates.

Official Tourist Videos

Egyptian Pyramids
We have finally completed the Google Earth layer of our collection of Official Tourist Videos from around the world.

The layer contains official tourist videos from 68 countries around the world. This amounts to about a quarter of the world's countries and we hope to add more as we find them.

View the tourist videos in Google Earth
View the tourist videos in Google Maps

Our Maps

In a busy day for Google Maps announcements the Google LatLong Blog informs us of yet another new feature in Google Maps, collaborative mapping. If you have created a My Map you can now let selected others contribute to the map or you can open it up to the world so anyone can contribute.

Google have got the ball rolling with this collaborative surfing map.

Via: Google LatLong: My Our Maps

Google LatLong: Explore new terrain

screengrab from Google Maps
Google Maps has a new terrain button. After pressing the terrain button Google Maps will show physical features such as mountains, valleys, and vegetation. It contains labels for even very small mountains and trails which are enhanced with subtle shading.

You can see the new terrain feature in action at the Grand Canyon.

Via: Google LatLong: Explore new terrain

A Breath of Fresh Air

Google Earth is becoming a useful tool in the tracking and fighting of global warming. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's has created a KML file that tracks air emission sources.

The layer also shows which companies are generating air pollutants at the highest rates by selecting a given location and viewing placemarks of all of the companies in the area.

Via: Google LatLong: A breath of fresh air

The National Snow and Ice Data Center has a time animation which shows the extent of ice melting in September of each year since 1979. The animation quite clearly shows that the melting this summer is dramatically worse than in previous years.

Via: Google Earth Blog

Trafalgar Square

Nelsons Column
We have updated the Trafalgar Square video today. The new video is one of our own concoctions and a definite improvement on the old video.

Trafalgar Square itself is a square in central London that commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), a British naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars. It's most prominent feature is Nelson's Column.

View a video of Trafalgar Square on Google Maps

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Streetview Heads Overseas

According to techcrunch Google Maps Streetview is soon to appear in a number of other countries.

They claim Google Streetview cars have been spotted in Australia, Canada and the UK.

Via: techcrunch

Love Earth Google Maps

BBC Worldwide have created a website called Love Earth to promote the general release of their film 'earth'. part of the website is dedicated to tracking the movements of a number of animals.

Love Earth uses Google Maps to show the movements of some African elephants, humpback whales, polar bears, penguins and turtles. It is a great idea and one we wanted to do ourselves when the BBC tracked some whales in the Atlantic last year but we couldn't get hold of their data.

The film itself looks like it might be a visual treat. Here is the trailer,

If you can't wait for the film you could try our Safari Map where you can see a number of animals (elephants, hippos, seals, flamingo, buffalo etc.) on Google Maps.

Disneyland Castle Christmas Lights

Disneyland Castle lit up by the Christmas Lights
I can't avoid it any longer - Christmas is coming. To celebrate the festive season we bring you a video of the Christmas lights at the Disneyland Castle.

Sleeping Beauty Castle is the fairy tale structure at the centre of Disneyland Park. It is based on the incredible Schloss Neuschwanstein, which we featured recently. Opened in July 17, 1955, the castle is the oldest of all the Disney castles. It reaches a height of 77 feet (23.4696 meters).

View a video of Disneyland Castle on Google Maps

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Happy Thanksgiving

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade can be watched on a streaming webcam at EarthCam. The route of the parade can be viewed in Google Earth by downloading this KML file.

For those of you feeling energetic Thanksgiving races around North America are mapped here.

The Google Earth Blog
have created a Thanksgiving card for Google Earth. Download the KML file here.

Via Google LatLong: Armchair parade watching

El Camino de Santiago - Part 3

 Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela
We have now completed the final part of El Camino de Santiago on Google Maps, from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela. The journey now includes 23 videos of towns along the route of the Camino Frances.

View El Camino de Santiago on Google Maps

El Camino de Santiago - Part Two

Today brings part two of our pilgrimage, El Camino de Santiago on Google Maps. We have now completed the journey from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Astorga in Leon, Northern Spain.

The route we are following is the Camino Frances, which is the most popular of the routes. We will complete part three of the journey tomorrow and arrive in Santiago de Compostela.

View the El Camino de Santiago on Google Maps

KFC On Google Maps

One of the excellent features of Google Maps is that you can use it to find nearby restaurants. Not being a great fan of fast food I've never tried to find a KFC on Google Maps but this image of Colonel Saunders is a little hard to miss.

KFC laid out this image a year ago in the Nevada desert when the imagery satellites were flying overhead and the image has now made it to Google Maps.

Via Google Earth Blog

Change Your Address on Google Maps

American, Australian and Kiwi users of Google Maps can now change their address if Google Maps gets it wrong. Google Map door number addresses are often slightly off, now however users can drag the markers to the correct place.

Here is the now obligatory Google Maps video explaining the new feature:

Google LatLong: Think globally, mark locally

El Camino de Santiago

Sunset over northern Spanish hills
I love the green hills and wild seas of northern Spain and one of my dream holidays is to walk El Camino de Santiago, which runs across the top of Spain.

El Camino de Santiago, is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where legend has it that the remains of the apostle, Saint James the Great, are buried. The Camino Francés is the most popular route amongst hikers and is the route that we follow.

View the first part of El Camino de Santiago on Google Maps (Saint Jean Pied de Port - Burgos)

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Schloss Neuschwanstein

Schloss Neuschwanstein is a 19th century Bavarian palace. Located in Germany, near Hohenschwangau and Füssen in southwest Bavaria, the castle was built by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner, the King's inspiring muse. Although photography of the interior is not permitted, it is the most photographed building in Germany and is one of Germany's most popular tourist destinations.

Neuschwanstein was designed by Christian Jank, a theatrical set designer, rather than an architect. The architectural expertise, vital to such a perilously-sited building, was provided first by the Munich court architect, Eduard Riedel, and latterly by Georg Dollmann, son-in-law of Leo von Klenze.

View a video of Schloss Neuschwanstein on Google Maps

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More Tourism Videos

Today we have added another ten videos to the Tourism Video Map.

One of the new additions to the map is this video from the Switzerland Tourism Board. I went skiing in Switzerland last year and this is exactly what happened to me.

Yes I was followed down the piste by thousands of beautiful women.

Tourist Videos

a palm tree
Today's project is to map official tourist videos for all the countries on Earth. So far we've managed 53, which is about a quarter of the way there.

You can view the Tourist Map here.

You may not be surprised to find that a very high percentage of the videos start with an attractive woman (normally in a bikini), soon you will find that you are flying over palm laden beaches (even Scotland tries to sell itself as a surfer's paradise and believe me I have been - there is no way I would brave those freezing seas) and some gloriously green hills. But these countries are not just wonders of nature they are also fun places to be with lively cities full of amazing food and culture and lots of gorgeous young people.

My personal favourites are the video from Visit England (only because of the soundtrack of Paul Weller's English Rose) and the Australian video because it at least tries to have a sense of humour.

Visitors from Google Maps Mania (where we are featured today) can visit our Great Journey Maps here:

The Orient Express

The Palace on Wheels

The Glacier Express (Google Maps)

The Glacier Express (Google Earth)

The Vermonter

The Lewis & Clarke Expedition

Magellan's Expedition

Australia's Election Map Redrawn

John Howard and Kevin Rudd playing paper rock scissors
The Official Google Blog today announces some changes to the Australian Election Google Map. Google says that it has been updated so that "for all 150 House of Representatives seats, you can click on any candidate's name to see all their Google search results, or their YouTube channel. And with one click, you can now find an incredible array of information from across the Internet -- news stories, videos, personal websites, party websites, blogs, and all the rest -- about all 1,054 candidates for all 150 seats."

What Google don't tell you is that there are a number of 'Easter eggs' hidden on the map. John Howard and Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister and his opponent can be found playing around at various locations on the map. Here are instructions to find two of the Easter eggs:


Enter “Parliament” in the “My postcode or address:” box in the left column, and switch to satellite mode (button at top right of map). Zoom in to the second highest zoom level.


Enter “Queen Elizabeth Drive Bondi Beach” in the “My postcode or address:” box in the left column, and switch to satellite mode (button at top right of map). Zoom in to the second highest zoom level.

In the small box to the bottom right of the map, double click just below the “b” of “Elizabeth” - if you don’t see Johny and Kev, try scrolling a little further down and right.

Ben Balbo has some clues as to where you can find the other 'Easter eggs'.
Official Google Blog: Australia's election map redrawn

Hampton Court Palace, London

Hampton Court Palace
Today's post is inspired by The Tudors television series. This (not entirely historically accurate) portrayal of Henry VIII and Thomas Wolsey led me to visit Hampton Court yesterday.

Wolsey spent lavishly to build the finest palace in England at Hampton Court, which he was later forced to give to Henry as he began to fall from favour.

Yesterday, after escaping from Hampton Court maze, I shot some video footage in the formal gardens (free for visitors from November to March).

View a video of Hampton Court Palace on Google Maps

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Geography Awareness Week

For Geography Awareness Week Google have teamed up with My Wonderful World to produce a number of layers for Google Earth. My favourite is the Ultimate Asia Challenge, a geography tour that is also a fun quiz. You can view their other layers here.

Google LatLong: Geography Awareness Week

The Glacier Express

The Glacier Express train
We liked the Glacier Express Google Map so much that we decided to make a Google Earth layer of the route.

The layer includes videos so you will need to have installed the latest version of Google Earth (4.2).

View the Glacier Express on Google Earth

Google LatLong: How's the Weather?

The Google LatLong blog has today announced a new weather layer for the latest version of Google Earth (4.2).

The "Weather" folder contains three sub-layers ("Clouds," "Radar," and "Conditions and Forecasts") and one "Information" link that gives you some background information on the data being displayed. The "Clouds" layer depicts a global satellite mosaic of clouds created on an hourly basis. The "Radar" layer contains a near real-time Doppler radar image of the United States, updated every 15 minutes.

The "Conditions and Forecasts" layer contains observation and forecast data for nearly 50,000 cities worldwide.

Google LatLong: How's the weather?

The Palace on Wheels

 Jaipur City Palace
The Palace on Wheels is a luxury train that takes passengers on an incredible eight day journey around Rajasthan, India.

Our Google Map of the route takes you to each of the train's destinations and lets you view some of the incredible sights on video, including the Chittorgarh Fort, the Amber Fort, The Udaipur Lake Palace Hotel and the amazing Taj Mahal.

Google LatLong: Google on the Go

The Google LatLong blog today announced that Google Maps will now be available on gas pumps at Gilbarco Veeder-Root gas stations in America. This means that driving directions and local business information will be available to people at the gas pump.

Google LatLong: Google on the go

The Orient Express

The inside of a carriage on the Orient Express
The third in our series on the great train journeys of the world brings you the most famous train journey of them all The Orient Express.

The Orient Express
ran from Paris to Istanbul. The 1930s saw the zenith of Orient Express services, with three parallel services running on different routes: the Orient Express, the Simplon Orient Express, and also the Arlberg Orient Express. Our journey takes us from Paris via Strasbourg, Munich, Vienna, Budapest, Bucharest, Varna to Istanbul.

If you like this journey you might also enjoy The Glacier Express.


The Vermonter

Vermont in the autumn
Our second great railway journey map is of The Vermonter. The Vermonter is a 606-mile (975 km) passenger train service between Washington, D.C. and St. Albans, Vermont.

Whilst the start of the journey is not as beautiful as our map of The Glacier Express in Switzerland, it is worth persevering. The videos get much more interesting the further into New England you travel and the autumn / fall views of Vermont are worth the trek.

Official Google Maps API Blog: Introducing... the GoogleBar!

Google Maps developers received a new tool today from Google the GoogleBar. The Google Bar allows Google Maps Mash ups to include local search on their maps.

The map below has the GoogleBar in the bottom left corner. Press the arrow, type 'pubs' in the search bar and press search to see it in action.

Official Google Maps API Blog: Introducing... the GoogleBar!

The Glacier Express

We have made two small changes to The Glacier Express map which we think make a huge difference. We have changed the still images to relevant videos of locations along the train's route and we have changed the map view to satellite view.

Check out The Glacier Express map now and I bet later today you will be on the phone trying to book your trip on this amazing train in time for the arrival of this winter's snow.

The Glacier Express

The Glacier Express Train
The third journey in our Great Journeys series is The Glacier Express. Our first two journeys were historical expeditions but The Glacier Express is a journey that anyone can undertake.

The Glacier Express from Zermatt to St. Moritz in Switzerland is one of the great train journeys in the world. The trip is a 7½ hour railway journey across 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels and across the Oberalp Pass at 2,033 metres in altitude.

Magellan's Voyage Around the World

a palm tree at sunset
We have completed the second map in our series of Great Journeys. The first map shows the great Lewis and Clark Expedition across America. The second map illustrates Magellan's Voyage Around the World.

Of course Magellan never actually made it all the way around the world as he was killed in the Philippines. Juan Sebastián Elcano commanded the Victoria back to Spain, and so was in fact the first man to circumnavigate the world (well he and his remaining crew were the first).

The Lewis and Clarke Expedition

We have finished the Lewis and Clarke Expedition Map. The map now includes photos that we think gives the reader a better understanding of the the country through which Lewis and Clark travelled.

The Lewis and Clarke Expedition Map is the first of map of our new Great Journeys maps. Watch this space for more journeys on Google Maps soon.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition

Today we have completed the first stage of our new project Great Journeys.

In this new project we hope to map some famous journeys on Google Maps. Our first journey is a map of the great Lewis and Clark Expedition. The expedition was the first American overland journey to the Pacific coast and back (well not quite the first - native Americans had been doing it for centuries).

This is an early beta view - so the Lewis & Clarke Map still looks a little sparse.

Palais des Papes, Avignon

The Palais des Papes
Due to Google Maps' latest image update (see post below) we can now bring you a view of the amazing Palais des Papes in Avignon. The Palais is one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe.

Avignon became the residence of the Popes in 1309, when the Gascon Bertrand de Goth, as Pope Clement V, unwilling to face the violent chaos of Rome after his election (1305), moved the Papal Curia to Avignon. Clement lived as a guest in the Dominican monastery at Avignon, and his successor Pope John XXII set up a magnificent establishment there, but the reconstruction of the old bishops' palace was begun in earnest by Pope Benedict XII (1334-42) and continued by his successors to 1364.

View a video of the Palais des Papes on Google Maps

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Google Maps Image Update

the Royal Pavilion
Google Maps Mania seems to be the first to notice that last week's Google Earth image update has now been added to Google Maps.

The Google LatLong Blog has a list of all the areas that have been updated.

I have created a map that picks out some of the main sights you can now see, including the Krämerbrücke in Erfurt, Germany, which is a bridge covered with inhabited buildings. You can also see the New Castle in Stuttgart, Exeter Cathedral, the Royal Pavilion in Brighton (pictured) and the Ludwigsburg Palace.

Google Maps Mania: Google Maps News Roundup - Nov.1/07

Arundel Cathedral

Arundel Cathedral
Arundel Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral in West Sussex, England. Dedicated in 1873 as the Catholic parish church of Arundel, it was not designated a cathedral until the foundation of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton in 1965. It now serves as the seat of the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton.

The Cathedral's location, construction, design, and dedication owe much to the Howard Family, who, as Dukes of Norfolk and Earls of Arundel are the most prominent English Catholic family, and rank first (below the English royal family) in the Peerage of England.

View a video of Arundel Cathedral on Google Maps

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