The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'google earth'
Google Earth scores another scalp; thanks to its satellite imagery, a group of amateurs has been able to build up a comprehensive picture of North Korea, thwarting the hermit kingdom's hermetic borders. The picture is, as one might expect, not a pretty one:
Among the most notable findings is the site of mass graves created in the 1990s following a famine that the UN estimates killed about 2 million people. "Graves cover entire mountains," Melvin said.
The palaces housing dictator Kim Jong Il and his inner circle, clearly shown on the maps, contain Olympic-size swimming pools with giant waterslides and golf courses.The data is available as a Google Earth layer, peppered with detailed landmarks, from the project's web site. While Google Earth was crucial to it, other information sources, from sketches by defectors and escapees to the North Korean state press's own carefully circumscribed reports of the
The authors of the data have notified North Korean embassies about it but, for some reason, received no response.
Meanwhile, OpenStreetMap has actual maps of North Korea (sometimes even with labels); here, for example, is central Pyongyang.
The latest technologically-enhanced form of mischief amongst Britain's teenagers: pool crashing; i.e., using Google Earth to find swimming pools, and then using social networks to organise unauthorised parties in those pools. (Then again, the story quotes the Daily Mail, the voice of the hang'-em-and-flog-'em contingent, so for all I know this may well be a beatup.)
Another front has opened in Google's assault on Microsoft's software dominance, with it emerging that Google Maps contains a hidden flight simulator. The flight simulator is activated by pressing Command, Option and A (on a Mac) or Ctrl, Alt and A (on a PC), and gives you the choice of two planes and several runways. Instructions are here. As you can probably imagine, going anywhere other than into the ground when using a keyboard is somewhat tricky.
Google have just released a MacOS X version of their amazingily intuitive CAD package SketchUp. This program is rather nifty, and seems to use various human-interface heuristics to disambiguate what the user is trying to do, and consequently making 3D drawing a lot less painstaking than with traditional CAD/modelling programs. It also has some rather nifty rendering modes (such as pencil sketch, or precise-yet-cartoonish-looking textures), and looks good for everything from designing DIY projects to making comics. And it's free.
Also from Google: a new beta of Google Earth, now with a Linux version. (For some reason, though, the view window is all black on this machine, even though it does have OpenGL.)