Google Earth the next tool to present surveying data? By: Jacob Dunham Ferris State University What is Google Earth • Google Earth allows your computer to become a window to anywhere on the planet, viewing high-resolution aerial and satellite imagery, elevation terrain, road and street labels, business listings, and more. Revolutionary User Interface • No need to load (open) your data files. • This files are loaded automatically by zooming-in to the location • Images and data can be retrieved on-the-fly from Google’s server Google Earth, Using Layers • The Layers feature provides the ability to select and display different themes over your viewing area. This includes points of interest as well as map, road, terrain, and even building data. • The most commonly used layers are available on the Navigation pane, and the full list of layers is available in the Layers pane. Get Google Earth at: http://earth.google.com/ • Google Earth - Free Version – View the Google images and vector databases – Enter your own images – Measure distance – Print maps with Longitude and Latitude Grid lines • Google Earth Plus - $20 – Plug in your GPS device to see your trek/location (Geographic Coordinates) – Import a spreadsheet of houses on the market. – Draw 3D objects. – Print high-resolution maps of locations • Google Earth Pro - $400 – Import Shape files – Copy and paste data Google Earth, Image Overlays – The Image Overlay feature can be used to place custom images (aerial photographs, images from the Michigan Center for Geographic Information System (at http://www.mcgi.state.mi.us/mgdl/) over the 3D view of the earth. – One can make the images partially transparent. – Use prominent features (e.g. rivers, roads) to align the image – Image overlays provide additional information about the underlying project area. For example, you can: • Use publicly available image maps (or create your own image maps) for such things as hiking trails, camping spots, theme parks, fishing locations, national park boundaries, and more. • Use imagery of a site plan and parcel boundaries to view the development stages over a particular parcel. New Image Overlay Align the image (shrink, rotate and move Google Earth, Measuring Areas and distance • Google Earth offers a number of tools that you can use to measure distances and areas. • Depending upon which version of Google Earth you are using, you have access to the following tools: – Measuring with a line or path (all Google Earth versions) – Measuring area or circle radius (Google Earth PRO) – Drawing a path or polygon shape in the 3D viewer (Google Earth PLUS and Google Earth PRO) Google Earth, import data – The Data Import feature of Google Earth can be used to import geographic data and view it over the earth imagery – Two basic kinds of data can be imported: – Vector Data: Vector data consists of points, lines, paths, and polygons. • ESRI’s shape files, Microstation (*.DGN), and generic text files. – Imagery Data: You can import imagery data such as aerial maps or topographical maps including: GeoTIFF, and Erdas – The data should be projected to Geographic coordinates (Longitude and Latitude) Google Earth, with GPS Devices • If you have a GPS (Global Position System) device, you can connect it to your computer and import your waypoint and track data into Google Earth. • Google Earth categorized your data into three possible folders: – Trackpoints: • Trackpoints are the points automatically recorded by the GPS device periodically along the recorded route. They can be imported into the Google Earth application as paths. – Waypoints: • Waypoints are points entered manually by the user and typically marked with a name, such as "home" or "turnaround point." – Routes: • Route points are those points that the GPS device uses to creating the routing, such as when you instruct the device to "go to" a recorded point from another recorded point. Route points can contain multiple connected "go to" instructions. They can be imported into the Google Earth application as paths. Google Earth • Geological and Geographical uses Mapping of: Volcanoes, earthquakes, and other important things Google Earth and DEMs • Google Earth allows for the viewing of DEMs • You can adjust the appearance of the terrain if you would like the elevation to appear more pronounced. To do this you only have to change the Elevation Exaggeration value Google Earth, 3D maps and flythroughs Conclusions • Google Earth has just came out and it is already a popular software tool. • More data and images are going to be incorporated in the free version. • More people are going to be using the tool! • Surveyors and Engineers should be familiar with the tool if only to be able to interact with their clients. • It may become the next platform for surveying and mapping data visualization.
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