Google Earth 4.3

Well I have been missing all the fun by being ill again it seems, I was looking forward to bashing GE as usual, especially after reading Chad’s review Non-Google Fanboy Look at Google Earth 4.3, I was actually surprised though, I kind of like the new style and features.

Chad is right GE is and always will be the AOL of the GIS world, it is aimed at the general public, and unlike WorldWind and other open source virtual globes, it’s main reason for existing is to make Google richer, this is why there are so many annoying layers on by default and for the prominence of the business search.  Before people start complaining and pointing out that Google has great educational layers and brings attention to current political crises, yes it does and I applaud them for that, but where are the links to the kml’s so other software can spread the word too?  If Google really want to help they need to share and not lock up this information, yes all the other GIS teams could approach the companies and organisations Google get their data from, but why would they devote resources (which may be limited) to giving out the data again?  It is already in GE, lets not go into the other reasons for not sharing such as pressure from Google, as it will just start a flamewar.

Back to 4.3, I love the smooth sun shading startup, the control widgets look much cooler than the old ones, and are easy to use.  They finally added sun shading (only a year or so after WorldWind first got it), and I’m pretty impressed, it isn’t as control able as WorldWind’s, but its very pretty and if I had a dev free with some directx skills I’d get ours tweaked a bit, our GPU sun rendering is pretty poor, and although CPU rendering is very nice, it could also do with improvements such as colour shading the terrain dynamically.

All in all a nice update, but I won’t say any more as I feel dirty, and almost sound like a fanboy, darn you Google!

1 thought on “Google Earth 4.3

  • I agree with you assesment on many levels. I love that they finally got atmospheric fragment shaders, however they need to use a better algorithm or tweak the settings. The MIE component of the scattering equations (those are the heavy particles that give us a reddish sunset) is too underrepresented, or perhaps absent.

    I have been searching how I could put some of the nice layers like National Geographic and some of the current humanitarian projects with layers on GE into EarthBrowser, but they are not available. I guess an open format is great for them, but are these non-profit companies being compelled to give Google an exclusive right to distribute or are they just so underfunded that they don’t have the website resources to distribute their own data in the open KML format

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