He said that the government had photography so detailed, that they could find a golf ball on a golf course, and even tell you what brand of golf ball it is.
TL;DR is that satellites have a 9 cm resolution at best. That's not enough to see a golf ball (4 cm diameter), and far away from discovering a producer's imprint on it.
With drones you can get an order of magnitude better, but that's still only barely enough to find said golf ball, and not enough to read fine print.
> He was explaining that the satellite maps provided to the public
That does not imply satellite maps.
Please refrain from baseless accusations. Thank you.
Speaking of which, GeoGuessr  is a great example of how to enjoy Google Maps. You start at some random streetview and try to figure out where in the world you are by walking around (and hoping to see a sign or two)! A lot of times you end up in dirt roads in small countries, and it's really cool to see what it looks like there.
I wonder if this tool stays free, lots of site owners are complaining about paying much more with the new pricing.
But that seems to be Enterprise level only.
They seem to have already updated for the new level. They also have advertisements and are a profitable business.
My guess is that they "Contacted Sales" like the Gaming API asks you to do and have a very agreeable discounted rate.
(eagerly hanging out for orbit view milky way, but probably not in my lifetime)
Granted, nothing compares to actually experiencing the culture and places in person, but street view makes for a completely different, incredible experience.
Nowadays, you can build or buy a Liquid Galaxy to get a better experience than the Origin's, at a fraction of the price: http://liquidgalaxy.org/
I'm actually quite annoyed that Google took away the visible option to disabled the 3D aerial view. It's such a resource hog, and my work's internet is often quite slow, and 3D has far more data to retrieve.
That said, prior to knowing this trick I was stuck with the effectively unmaintained Google Earth instead of the web view primarily because of the web maps insistence on the 3D rendering mode. The attempt to conform buildings and, most annoyingly, trees to the elevation data makes the imagery almost useless at close zoom levels, as all the actual detail disappears into clutter artificially introduced by the edges on the elevation data. It significantly reduces the amount of spatial resolution you can get out of areas where they have very good images.
Earth still has tools that web view doesn't have, but often I'm not even that interested in measurements and just want to be able to carefully inspect the image. This doesn't seem to be something Google wants to support any more!
Honestly, I feel like this makes the situation even more indefensible, because I get that collecting high-quality DEM is very expensive and so trying to use it comes with a lot of compromises. But if they're just substituting in models of "similar trees" like one person on Quora suggests it seems almost embarrassing for them that they're making the user experience more frustrating in order to deliver a 3D street-level experience that's still so bad as to be useless.
You definitely can't use Street View data alone for objects not at ground level. Actually, sometimes there is no Street View data for a place, at all. E.g. check the planes on the runways at airports like SFO, AUS and JFK. Incidentally, the varying quality at different airports is also a hint of how easy it is to fly over each of them at the ideal altitude(s) and how often one can get the necessary permits to refresh imagery.
I think it's all fantastic, extremely fast, smooth, love the inertia on spin, the camera movement or simulation of is great, occlusion of objects nicely done.
Would like to see an example with clustering.
Is it possible to add elevation data ?
Is it possible to access this mode in the API to use the webgl version ?
Just give me the satellite or the Street View photos.
TBH Bing's "Bird's Eye" view was far more useful that the shitty resolution (mandated by law BTW) satellite photos.
Of course, Microsoft killed it :(
Um, no it's not. TechCrunch needs better editors. You just need to use a non-Mercator projection.
Anyone who uses the Gall-Peters projection is a cop.
You can if you don't mind having a non-rectangular map border.
Edit: better Dymaxion link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dymaxion_map It's made of triangles that you can rearrange, which isn't really shown in the xkcd.
Given the behavior of the poles (they're not viewable; the south is also a black hole…), I suspect that there's a very smoothly done transition to web mercator for the higher zoom levels.
Can you imagine the distortion on a map of a small town located at the pole if Mercator was used?
In general an orthographic projection is a poor choice. The thing going for it is that it is easy to understand by analogy to a physical globe, and human spatial understanding can partially compensate for the distortion by imagining a sphere.
But there are also disadvantages, for example on an orthographic projection north is not always vertical, latitude and longitude lines are neither perpendicular nor straight, shapes and areas can be very dramatically distorted near the edge of the map, there are dramatic distance errors between far away points or points not in the center of view, it is impossible to view more than half of the planet’s surface in one view, etc.
There are many other choices of map projections, and for any particular purpose, some other projection is usually better.
Here is what North America looks like on this new map:
This is not a good projection to use if you want to see all of North America. There is dramatically more distortion than necessary, and shapes near the edges get very squished (the west coast of the US is okay), but it is not at all obvious to a naïve viewer what kind of distortions are involved, and past experience looking at soccer balls or whatever isn’t going to fix it.
(Note: a Mercator projection is also not a good choice for this. On a Mercator projection sizes are dramatically bloated as you go north.)
What projection would you say would be good for that view?
There are many choices. An orthographic projection is generally one of the worst except insofar as it gives the impression of a physical sphere when you zoom all the way out.
For many types of mapping use cases, orthographic projections are substantially worse than other possible choices.
Sometimes physical spheres (or virtual representations of spheres as dynamic orthographic or perspective projections) are nice. That’s why I spent a whole bunch of time building myself a spherical chalkboard, for example. But they aren’t the best choice for any purpose. Personally I don’t think they make a very good choice for a general-purpose world map. They are better as a supplement to flat maps.
A map is a visualization tool. The goal is not to reflect reality as accurately as possible. The goal is to communicate data and spatial relationships. Projections are part of that. There is not a "best" projection. Orthographic with some animations is a nice visual tool for some purposes and terrible for others.
How could pointing this out be controversial? A bar graph is not a perfect representation of a group of numbers, but it's a very useful visualization. A map is no different than any other visualization.
I think it's neat to see that the route is along a great circle -- that wasn't clear at all before this change.
Hope they can update this, which would make international flights seem even more impressive than they already do.
This isn't right. It is impossible to represent both relative position and relative size accurately. Gall-Peters and other equal-area projections accurately represent relative sizes.
Peters was a charlatan who knew very little geography (he didn't even want to give credit to the geographer who discovered his map), and the Gall-Peters projection is Mercator for old-school hippies who think they can promote equality by making Africa taller.
An article from "The Map Room"  on the argument about Boston public schools having adopted that map, which really dominates Google results right now I guess, but even within the lens of that topic it hits the major points.
And here's a "New Internationalist" article about Arno Peters  -- it sounds like he was fine as a historian, and I even agree with his motivation for not wanting to plot historical events on a Mercator map, but it sure would have been great if he had learned about the equal-area alternatives to Mercator that Gall and Mollweide and Eckert and other geographers had already made.
It's not that I'm against making a map projection to "question Western imperalism". I take more issue with Peters' questioning of basic geometry -- he claimed his map preserves angles, which is clearly false (imagine a NW-SE road meeting a NE-SW road in Ecuador and what that right angle would look like in Gall-Peters), and he claimed that it was the "only" equal-area projection.
And I don't think it actually advances the conversation about equality to make a map that looks right in Europe and stretches Africa and South America like taffy.
EDIT: left out the links
Korea looms large in people's imaginations for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with its occupied land mass size, and a lot to do with their history and cultural and economic power.
The same can't be said about if Sudan was united again, Sudan would not be magically punching above India, Russia and Germany in international commerce.
The world where we see the world as it is, a sphere that we can interact with and with that sphere being the default view has been a long time coming. We will look back and wonder why we got the perspective wrong for so long. There are no other objects we display in Mercator Projection et al.
If we could go back in time with what the fine people at Google have achieved and give it to navigators of the past, in the days before aeroplanes got popular, then all the hacks that 'demand Mercator' would never have arisen. Maybe we would have to teleport GPS back to this fictional past too.
The none-sphere maps make as much sense as those paintings done before perspective was worked out, we have just ended up believing them out of familiarity and due to the navigation and other hacks devised for the atlas makers of the past.
As recently as twenty years ago the idea of just showing the earth as a sphere for things like weather broadcasting would have seemed a radical and controversial idea. Thanks to Google and de-facto Maps we have made a small but important evolutionary leap in understanding our world.
I must be the only weirdo who wants the opposite: equator up. South-up in the Northern hemisphere and north-up in the Southern hemisphere.
Why? Because I want the Sun at the top of the screen (or more accurately, the sunny side of buildings/hills/anything).
W/r/t Sun angles, things are pretty weird anywhere between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
That's fascinating! I grew up in the US and I'm not sure I've ever used a world map with the US in the center. Curious where you got this impression. I can find some examples if I specifically search online, but they look very weird to me.
Every world map I grew up with has the US on the far left, presumably due to the convenience of splitting the map on the Pacific Ocean. The first example that came to my mind: https://i.imgur.com/FjBKD6k.jpg
Example of a map poster for kids: http://happylilac.net/sekaitizu-mihon.gif
Upside down and mirrored should be simple though.
Fun fact: this is called a rhumb line, ie a line of constant true bearing.
You just have to unzoom far away from earth and it'll show you a menu where you can choose where you want to go.
I had to do some funky magic to stitch square tiles in a sphere from bing maps and do reverse mercerator projection. I had to also ensure GPS coordinates would exactly align to the right pixel otherwise the 3D chart would all look weird. So there was a lot of fun math involved over a bunch of evenings and weekends.
The hard part though, was to do an animation that would unravel a spherical earth into a flat earth and vice versa.
Naive me though it would be a simple linear interpolation that would take a couple of minutes but it ended up being many many nights of crazy mathematics to get it right.
Map projections are really interesting. Much respect to their inventors.
It’s not a simple linear x0, y0, z0 -> x1, y1, z1 because you kind of want an animation like a square blanket is wrapping around a ball, stretching the right amount in different places such that it becomes a sphere.
I tried to find a single magical equation that would give a x0, y0, 0 -> x1, y1, z1 based on param t that goes from 0 - 1. I’m sure there exists one but I tried all sorts of fancy math I knew for a day or two and still had major trouble writing it down as a single equation function.
Then I thought about it in a different way after I ate a fruit and realized I need an orange analogy. What if we cut slices of orange. The ends are crescent shapes. Now it’s a matter of animating the crescents into rectangular strips where the pointy ends stretches but the middle part remains the same.
Since in computer graphics, a sphere isn’t really a true sphere, but an approximation with triangles the strip analogy works well. We just need to animate the ends of triangles.
The gotcha is the pointy end of sphere expands from 0 to length of mercerator projection (flat square) so they cut a tiny bit of the top and bottom otherwise you have infinite stretching at the end
So you have three little functions. For an x,y in a square you figure out what slice they go into and what side of the slice. The further to the poles, the more you squeeze towards the center, so you get something like this https://blenderartists.org/t/producing-a-12-petal-gores-from...
Then you have a blanket wrapping function I.e morphing a line into circle and that’s a line -> arc -> circle animation. That’s not too hard. The arc of a very large circle is almost flat. So you divide the line into two and animate the left and right segments into two hemicircle arcs that then form a proper circle. Kind of like curving the lines from the end to bend it into a circle.
Now longitudes and latitudes both go through this line to circle animation. To get the z, we take the x arc position, the y arc position, the point on crescent strip and we do matrix rotate transforms to get final x,y,z
So rather than it being one single equation (which i’m guessing is possible using super crazy maths), we take a piecemeal approach and animate lots of little segments that add up as a plane to sphere animation using simpler maths and matrix transforms.
checking maps on mobile which is on Canadian ISP, in chrome and the google maps android app, i can only see the "flat" map.
I'm unlikely to work on the globe, it's cool but we don't really need it. Maybe when OpenLayers Cesium gets support for vector tiles, so we don't have to see fuzzy, distorted raster tiles.
 https://tile.gbif.org/ui/Globe/temp-debug.html (click "Toggle" in the top right)
Also, is it just me or is zooming a bit broken at low zooms now? The globe drifts as I zoom.
Will Google support and maintain an actual maps application?
Or will they merge google earth and google maps together in an even less capable tool purely for consumers to wow at?
Castrating Google Earth with the webgl version and locking it into Chrome was bad enough. I wish this stops here.
This was especially a problem with Ingress and Pokemon Go games where you need the map to be correct where it isn't.
Even more difficult is using those apps in places like the Arctic or Antarctic, there's no way to accurately place GPS coordinates, deal with game portals or have directions other than the compass.
Greenland is the size of Congo, around 2,2 million km2 while entire Africa is around 30 million km2. Europe being around 10 and North America 24 million km2.
Annoying that techcrunch could not find that out.
If you were to take a 2D printed world map from America and compared it to a 2D printed world map, the sizes of continents wouldn't be the same, nor the centerpiece of the map itself. It would always center around that respective country first.
Now it's a Chrome browser promotion. Google Earth requires Google's browser.
One can easily also correlate why things on the pole look so big when you have evenly spaced latitudes in a sphere.
-- sermons of J Donne (as quoted by oppenheimer)
Mostly things that can be fixed in the future (except perhaps "requires multiple click-drags to go to the opposite side", where before you could see most/all of the world at once). But it still seems a bit more shiny than useful.