Virtual Tourism

Virtual tourism, google maps mashup, google video

Night Sky Video Map

The Antennae Galaxies
There are two small additions today. The first is a wonderful animation of the collision of the two galaxies that now form The Antennae. The animation shows how gas and stars ejected by the collision of the two galaxies helped to form what we now see when we look at The Antennae.

View the animation in the Night Sky Video Map

The other of today's additions is the slightly less prosaic figure of a green frog above a restaurant in Chicago. This, to my mind unappetising, restaurant figurine has been added to the Streetview Gallery.

Pula Arena, Croatia

Pula Arena
Regular readers of this blog will know of our love for Roman amphitheatres. The Pula Arena is the latest addition to our collection of videos. The Pula Arena is one of the world's best preserved amphitheatres. It is the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have four side towers and with all three Roman architectural orders entirely preserved.

It is the sixth largest surviving Roman arena and is also the best preserved ancient monument in Croatia.

View a video of Pula Arena on Google Maps

Here are few more:
Nimes Amphitheatre
El Djem Amphitheatre
The Colosseum
Verona Arena

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Live Search Maps

I have been getting some traffic from Microsoft's Live Search Maps to this blog and have been wondering how and why. I have finally worked it out.

Live Search Maps has a 'collections' section that allows users to search for places in kmls. Microsoft has added the Worldwide Video Map kml that I created for Google Earth to their 'collections'. That means if someone searches for a place in the collections they might be directed to the Worldwide Video Map kml

The great thing is you can now view the places featured in Live Search Maps amazing 'bird's eye view'. Or you can view the 3d models of the featured places. Unfortunately Live Search Maps doesn't show the videos.

If you want to see the videos you will either have to open the Worldwide Video Map kml in Google Earth or view it in Google Maps.

Stromboli, Italy

The island of Stromboli is an active volcano in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the north coast of Sicily.

The volcano has been active for at least the last 2,000 years. Explosions occur at the summit craters with mild to moderate eruptions of incandescent volcanic bombs at intervals ranging from minutes to hours.

These mildly explosive eruptions are also occasionally punctuated by much larger eruptions. The largest eruption of the last hundred years occurred in 1930, and resulted in the deaths of several people and the destruction of a number of houses by flying volcanic bombs.

View a video of Stromboli on Google Maps

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Mausoleum of Augustus, Rome

Mausoleum of Augustus
The Mausoleum of Augustus is a large tomb built by the Roman Emperor Augustus in 28 BC on the Campus Martius in Rome. Unfortunately the mausoleum has been sadly neglected and is no longer open to tourists. It remains however one of the many impressive sights in Rome.

In the 19th century, the ruins were used for bullfights, and later as a concert hall. The site of the mausoleum is very close to the Ara Pacis which has recently had a Richard Meier building constructed to house and protect it. Let's hope that some money can now be found to conserve the Mausoleum Augustus as well.

View a video of the Mausoleum of Augustus in Google Maps

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Night Sky Video Map

By popular demand we have added an information tab to each of the videos featured on the Night Sky Video Map. Now each star, nebula and supernova has some accompanying information.

Warning: There is a bug in Google Sky so the map does begin to act very strangely if you zoom in too far. Hopefully Google will get around to fixing this soon.

Google Sky

Night Sky
This year I was one of the first visitors to the new planetarium at Greenwich Observatory. The planetarium features Europe's first digital planetarium projector. You can have a peak view of the show on their website, although watching a flash movie doesn't really compare to seeing the stars projected onto the ceiling above you.

Our Night Sky Video Map is a poor imitation of the real thing but is quite engaging nonetheless. We have added a few more videos to the map today so it is worth a visit.

Warning: Google still haven't fixed the bug in Google Sky so the map does begin to act very strangely if you zoom in too far. Hopefully they will get around to fixing this soon.

Sakurajima, Japan

Mount Sakurajima at Sunset
Sakurajima volcano in Japan is currently one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The city of Kagoshima is just a few kilometers from the volcano and the city regularly carries out evacuation drills in order to be prepared for a major eruption.

Sakurajima was once an island but the lava flows from a huge eruption in 1914 swallowed up a number of nearby islands and Sakurajima eventually became connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus.

View a video of the volcano on Google Maps

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Google Earth Update

The Google LatLong blog has announced the answers to their latest Where in the World quiz and provided details of the latest image update to Google Earth.

Here's a list of the imagery updates:

New high resolution:
- Canada: Significant amount of British Columbia
- USA: Jefferson City (MO), Central Virginia, Tioga County (NY), Cayuga County (NY),
Jefferson County (NY), Broome County (NY),
- Brazil: Uberlandia
- Colombia: Cali, Pasto
- Mexico: Veracruz

Europe, Middle East and Africa:
- France: Le Havre, Dunkerque
- Poland: Poznan
- Russia: Yaroslavl, Ivanovo, Vladikavkaz, Volzhskiy, Barnaul
- Ukraine: Rivne, Odesa
- Morocco: Agadir
- Nigeria: Abuja
- Egypt: 2.5m imagery for eastern half of the country

Asia & Oceania:
- Japan: Kagoshima, Hamamatsu
- New Zealand: Manawatu Wanganui Province, Thames-Coromandel Province
- China: Guiyang, Zhaoqing, Zhongshan, Neijang, Anshun, Zhuzhou, Changde,
Jiaoijang, Sashi, Qinhuangdao, Mudanjiang
- Indonesia: Sukabumi, Surakarta

2.5m imagery for the eastern half of Egypt.

Updated Imagery:
- Canada: Calgary
- USA: Bend (OR), Reno (NV), Googleplex (CA), San Miguel (CA), Paso
Robles (CA), Buellton (CA), Thousand Oaks (CA), Los Angeles (CA), Orange
County (CA), Denver (CO), Saint Louis (MO), Knoxville (TN), Chattanooga (GA),
Dayton (CA), Atlanta (GA), Desoto County (FL), Onondaga County (NY), Cayuga
County (NY), McAllen (TX), Sanger (CA), Bellevue (WA)

Europe, Middle East and Africa:
- France: Nantes, Lyon
- Germany: Sindelfingen, Ausburg, Leipzig, Aachen
- Denmark: Entire country
- Niger: Niamey
- Zimbabwe: Harare
- South Africa: Johannesburg
- Iran: Tehran

- Japan: Tokyo, Osaka, Nagano
- Thailand: Bangkok
- Vietnam: Hanoi

Antarctica: new 15m imagery

Updated Terrain:

Via: Google LatLong: Where in the world is... (Answers)

Google Sky

Google Sky, which until now has only been available via Google Earth, is now available to Google Maps developers. I've begun to put together a video map of the night sky. At the moment the map is in the early stages of development.

Hopefully I'll be adding a lot more videos over the next few days and at some point I'll be improving the design of the page. Also there is a bug in the Google Maps implementation of the Sky imagery that means strange things sometimes happen when you zoom in too close on the map. Hopefully Google will get around to fixing that in the next few days.

View the video map of the night sky.

Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne

Château des Ducs de Bretagne
Part of Google Earth's imagery update today is more recent imagery of Nantes in France. Google Maps doesn't normally get the new imagery until a week or two later. You can see this clearly in this satellite view of Château des Ducs de Bretagne in Nantes, France.

In Google Maps the château is clearly undergoing some kind of renovation and in the new imagery in Google Earth all the buildings are gleaming white. In fact the château was closed for three years whilst it underwent restoration and was reopened to the public again in February of this year.

View a video of the Château des Ducs de Bretagne in Google Maps

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Where in the world is ...

The Google LatLong blog has announced another huge update to the Google Earth imagery. As is Google's way they have released a number of clues as to which areas have been updated.

Here are the clues:

1) A young boy living in this town designed the Alaska state flag 32 years prior to Alaska gaining statehood.

2) The incredible ruins of an old medieval castle, believed damaged during the Swedish invasion of 1655, are now visible in Google Earth.

3) On July 3, 1810, this city declared independence from Spain.

4) This city's metropolitan area is the most populous in the world, with over 35 million people.

5) Known as the City of Peace for hosting many peace conferences, this city is a popular tourist destination.

6) The oldest Polish cathedral, this burial site of many famous Polish leaders is now high res.

7) This Jersey city is now high res.

8) Lawrence of Arabia and Cleopatra were both filmed at this famous studio.

9) This city is also Ukraine's largest port.

10) Though completely destroyed in an 1868 fire, this gold rush town was completely restored by the government of British Columbia to act as a tourist attraction.

11) This was the final port of call for the Titanic before it's ill-fated transatlantic journey.

12) Bach, 38 at the time, was appointed the cantor for St Thomas' Church in this city.

13) This deep-water port was constructed far offshore and is connected to the mainland by the third longest bridge in the world.

14) The element Hafnium is named after this city's Latin name.

15) The picturesque port in this city has been painted many times over, and helped inspire the Impressionist movement.

16) Famous as the site where Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral landed in Brazil, this city is now a tourist destination.

17) The imagery above the headquarters of my favorite search engine has been upgraded!

Via: Google LatLong: Where in the world is ...

Apollo Moon Landings 2.0

Just a small update today. I have prettified the design of the Apollo Moon Landings map and added a little information about the Google Lunar X Prize (if you don't know what it is then look at the map).

Apollo Moon Landings Map

This is a bit of a departure for a blog that usually concentrates on tourist destinations but they do say that space tourism is the next big thing.

Anyway here is a Google Map of all the Apollo Moon Landings, with videos of each mission.


Google Promises the Moon

Google Moon and Google Mars are now available to map developers via the Google Maps API. Map developers can also use Google Earth's Sky imagery.

For example here is where the Beagle 2 Lander failed in its Mars descent:

Click on the red tab to watch a (fictionalised) account of its disappearance.

Here is the site of the Apollo 11 moon landing (with video):

And here is the Crab Nebulae in Google Sky (with a video animation of it exploding):

Via: Official Google Maps API Blog: Maps from another world

Google Maps Now Returns Videos From Search

Searches in Google Maps can now return photos from Panoramio and videos from YouTube.

The Google LatLong blog gives the two following examples Google Geyser and Base jumping in Rio.

Via Google LatLong: Confessions of a search box

New Streetviews Has Some High Definition Imagery

Streetviewr found this image of some idiots protesting outside a Planned Parenthood clinic.

View Larger Map

After I got over the shock that these people haven't got better things to protest about I noticed that the image was higher definition than all the other images I'd seen in this week's streetview update. If you move in either of the three directions from this shot the images become lower definition again.

At first I thought that Google obviously wanted these people to be named and shamed over the Internet. However I soon realised if you move to any of the junctions of two roads in this area the streetview becomes higher definition just at the junction.

I can't understand why Google would only show the junctions in high definition.

Google Streetview Helping Police With Enquiries

According to The Age Google Streetview is being used to try and find the cause of death of a woman in Victoria, Australia. The woman's body had been wrapped in plastic bags and then abandoned in the garden of an empty house.

"During forensic work at the crime scene on Wednesday, police were approached by a Google Earth operator who had been tracking the area by satellite for the past week.

The operator may have picked up some vital clues in his work and police are now going through footage to see if they can detect any activity around the house late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning."

The Age mentions a Google Earth van so I assume it was a Google Streetview van and streetview images rather than Google Earth satellite images being used.

Even More Streetviews

It seems Google are doing some night streetviews now:

These streetviews can now be found in the Streetview Gallery

I35W Bridge Streetviews

Google Maps streetview in Minneapolis includes the I35-W Bridge that collapsed on Wednesday, August 1, 2007. Thirteen people died in the tragedy and approximately one hundred more were injured.

According to Wikipedia "the bridge was inspected annually by Mn/DOT, although no inspection report was completed in 2007, due to the construction work." The Google streetview clearly shows the construction work on the bridge.

View Larger Map

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Some More Streetviews

These streetviews can now be found in the Streetview Gallery

My Maps With Comments

My Maps now allow users to leave comments. In conjunction with the new collaboration option this feature really moves Google Maps into the social networking area.

The LatLong blog gives the example of this collaborative My Map of European Travel Tips. Anyone can add their tips to this site and now with the comments option they can comment on the tips of others and can even discuss the organisation of the map.

Via:Google LatLong: Comments, ratings and top links for My Maps

Embeddable Streetviews

The official Google LatLong Blog has announced the new streetview cities and also announced that the streetviews are now able to be embedded in your sites.

Embeddable streetviews are now enabled.

Google LatLong: Enjoy the holidays with new Street View cities and embeddable panoramas

More Streetview Cities

Google have added eight more cities that have streetviews in Google Maps. The new cities are Detroit, Boston, Providence, Minneapolis, Dallas, Fort Worth, St. Paul and Indianapolis.

After a quick glance all seem to have low definition imagery which is a little disappointing. I hope this isn't the route Google is going to go down.

Here are some initial finds:

Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, Indiana Statehouse, War Memorial Plaza

Horse and Cart, Trinity Church, Copley Square, Massachusetts State House

Rhode Island State House

Fountain Place, Bank of America Plaza. Reunion Tower

Nile River Cruise

Sphinx Statue
Have you ever wanted to take a slow cruise down the River Nile, stopping off on the way to visit the Luxor Temple, The Temple of Isis and the Temple of Edfu? I know I have.

The latest addition to our series of great journeys is, you guessed it, a Nile River Cruise. We know it is not a patch on the real thing but our map of the cruise down the River Nile includes a number of videos so you can at least get a taste of the ancient Egyptian temples that are to be found on the river's banks.

Take a Nile River Cruise on Google Maps

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Streetviewer Resurrected

Streetviewr, which was our favourite Streetview Gallery until it joined the dead pool, has now arisen from the flames. What's more the site is better than ever.

The site features thumbnails of streetviews which when clicked open a lightbox type window of the interactive streetview. Streetviewr also has a new 'full-screen' option that is pretty awesome (I wonder how long it will be until Google adopt this option for Google Maps?".

Go to Streetviewr

Sun Sets on British Empire at 7pm Nightly

The Onion has a new Google Maps Mashup to rival Wikimapia. The Onion's map is full of interesting and useful facts. For example did you know that:

"For nearly 200 years Britain ruled over 500 million people on six continents - it was said that the sun never set on the British Empire. Today however the sun sets on the British Empire at 7 pm each night."


"Canada will never be as great as the U.S. so long as it continues to burden its citizens with universal healthcare, refuses to drill for oil in protected wildlife reserves and neglects to blindly support unilateral invasions of Middle Eastern states."

Via: Google LatLong: Area man finds onion planted in earth

Glasgow Science Centre

Glasgow Science Tower
The Glasgow Science Centre is a major visitor attraction located on the south bank of the River Clyde in Glasgow, Scotland. It is a purpose built science centre comprising of three principal buildings: a science mall with general science learning exhibits, the Glasgow Tower and an IMAX cinema.

The Glasgow Tower, previously known as the Millennium Tower, was the winning design in an international competition to design a tower for the city centre of Glasgow.[2] It stands at 127 metres high and is currently the tallest floored building in Scotland, as well as holding a Guinness World Record for being the tallest tower in the world capable of rotating 360 degrees from its base to its top.

View a video of Glasgow Science Centre on Google Maps

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Bahai Lotus Temple, Delhi

Bahai Lotus Temple
The Bahai House of Worship in Delhi, India, popularly known as the Lotus Temple, is a Bahai House of Worship and also a prominent attraction in Delhi. It was completed in 1986 and serves as the Mother Temple of the Indian subcontinent. It has won numerous architectural awards.

Inspired by the lotus flower, its design is composed of 27 free-standing marble clad "petals" arranged in clusters of three to form nine sides. The architect was an Iranian, who now lives in Canada, named Fariborz Sahba.

View a video of the Bahai Lotus Temple on Google Maps

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Streetview Gallery

We have added a number of new streetviews to the Streetview Gallery in all the categories.

The new streetviews include this covered wagon (pictured) advertising Trail Dust Town. Originally built as a movie set the 'town' now features wooden boardwalks, red brick streets and a detailed old-fashioned town square.

It is perhaps best known for its stunt shows such as the one in this video (actually shot at Trail Dust Town):

Google presents the Elections 2008 gadget

Google have released a 2008 Election gadget. The gadget includes a Google Map. The map includes candidate event trails and allows users to search by city or state to see which presidential hopeful is campaigning there.

Via: Google LatLong: Google presents the Elections 2008 gadget

Somerset House, London

Somerset House ice skating rink
Somerset House is a Neoclassical building, situated on the south side of the Strand in central London, overlooking the River Thames, just east of Waterloo Bridge. The central section was designed by architect Sir William Chambers. It was extended by classical Victorian wings to north and south.

In the winter the central courtyard is home to an open air ice rink (as shown on the satellite image and in the video). At other times an array of fountains display vertical jets of water rising to random heights. The building itself houses The Courtauld Gallery, The Gilbert Collection of decorative arts, and the Hermitage Rooms, which stage exhibitions of items loaned from the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.

View a video of Somerset House in Google Maps

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La Defense, Paris

Grande Arche, Paris
La Defense is a major business district for the city of Paris, bordering Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Around its 100 m-high Grande Arche and esplanade ("le Parvis"), this district holds many of the Paris urban area's tallest high-rises. With its 77.5 acres, its 72 glass-and-steel slick buildings including 14 high-rises above 150 m, its 150 000 daily workers and 3.5 million square meters of office space, La Defense is Europe's largest Business District.

View a video of La Defense on Google Maps

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Google to Censor Streetview

Google's senior privacy council has announced that they will airbrush faces and licence plates when Streetview comes to European cities. Our own Streetview Gallery is just one of a number of sites that have sprung up to highlight interesting Streetviews.

Hopefully there will still be enough interesting candid moments caught by the Google Streetview cameras despite the airbrushing.

Via: techcrunch