Nov 21, 2013

The 5 Most Creative Uses Of Google Earth

Peter Isaacs
Nov 21st, 2013 - 2 mins read

With today’s release of Google’s collaboration with Warner Bros “A Journey Through Middle-Earth” I thought I’d have a look at some of the most creative uses of Google Earth, starting with the former.


  1. Middle-Earth

Google has teamed up with Warner Bros for their latest experiment, which brings Middle-Earth to Google Earth. The interactive 3D render of Middle Earth is based on Tolkin’s hand drawing and allows you to zoom in from just above the clouds to reveal landmarks and clickable locations.

At the moment you can click through to Dol Guldur, Rivendell and Trollshaw with Thrandauil’s Hall, The Lonely Mountain and Lake Town to be revealed in the coming weeks. Clicking through to a location gives you a more immersive experience of the location with narration, animation, information about the area and some cool mini games at the end.

For a little bit more on the geeky side of the project, see this rather detailed post on how WebGL and HTML5 was used to render it.


  1. 787 Dreamliner Flight Tracker

The flight tracker is an excellent rendition of Google Earth, providing real-time data on all current 787 Dreamliner flights. From space you can see every single 787’s current flight path and where they are in the world.

The magic happens when you click on one of the planes letting you zoom into their current location and providing a 3D model of the aircraft (customised to each airline). Another cool feature is going onboard as a passenger with both views also providing the sound the jet engines, making the experience all that more realistic.


  1. Roschmaps

The Roschmaps is a take on the Rorschach test – a personality test which tests the subjects’ perceptions of inkblots. Rorschmaps turns Google Maps (and street view) into strange abstract visuals, reminiscent of the test. While this proves to be slightly useless for those wanting to get from A-to-B it is somewhat hypnotizing.

  1. The Terrainator

Using the Google Maps API the Terrainator lets you select your favourite geographical features and get them printed in 3D. Currently they have data for the UK, US, bits of Europe and New Zealand.


  1. Skydiving with Google Earth 

Ok so it’s not something you can actually use, but it is a little fun to watch. These guys put good use to a tarp, some spray paint an overhead projector, a fan and Google Earth to mimic skydiving.

Peter Isaacs
Nov 21st, 2013 - 2 mins read