Tuesday, May 01, 2007

More Google Earth Fun

Google Earth continues to amaze me. It is lots of fun to play with and it's FREE. The next thing I want to try with the new GE version 4 that I recently downloaded, is to hook up my GPS receiver to my laptop and then try driving around Bonaire with live tracking of my location on the Google Earth satellite image on the computer. I have my Google Earth disk and memory caches set really big, so that I can still scroll around and view Bonaire even when I'm not connected to the Internet. Might be just the thing for finding the exact location of some of those elusive old dirt roads and donkey trails that are easy to see on the satellite image but hard to spot on the ground.

Google Earth has recently added a bunch of new Bonaire pictures from Panoramio users. They are linked to their locations on the 3d Google Earth map of Bonaire. A bunch of mine are on there too, whoo whoo!

Some of the little Panoramio icons are visible when you are looking at wide angle views of Bonaire. But you seem to have to zoom way in (like a eye level of 15,000 feet or so) before other icons, like my Kunuku Rooi Limunchi one, pop into view. That means you have to have a pretty good idea of where Rooi Limunchi is before you can see link to the picture. Or... you can enter
12.149177 -68.208545 into the search window on the Google Earth screen. :)

If you can't see the little Panoramio icons scattered around your Bonaire map on Google Earth, make the sidebar visible and go to Layers-Primary Database-Geographic Web: and check the Panoramio box.

If you don't have Google Earth on your computer yet, I highly recommend it. It is free and the images of Bonaire are amazing. Here is a link to an earlier post with the locations of the Trans World Radio facilities in it.

I have found that I can save the tracks of my bike rides and hikes, and then email that teeny tiny file to someone. They can then open it in Google Earth on their computer and see it at whatever magnification they want. Much better than e-mailing a static picture.

In fact, here is a test example. It is the route that will be used for next month's Bonaire Wellness bike tour. Actually, this is the basic route. The gonzo advanced riders will also ride a donkey trail section from Sero Largu to Sabadeco to Republic, that isn't shown here.
Download this file, and then start Google Earth. Then click "open" from the "file" menu and open this file. Let me know if it works. It worked on my other computer, but a friend's computer had issues. The ride, as it shown here begins and ends at the traffic circle near the Eden Beach fitness center.

If you can't see the outline of the ride superimposed on the map, go to that sidebar again, and the Places section. Make sure that Temporary Places-OxiExplorer Data-Bolivia Loop are all checked.

While you are at that Places part of the sidebar, you can highlight "Bolivia Loop" and hit the little "play" arrow below it and Google Earth will "fly" along the path as if you were in a helicopter. You can set all sorts of parameters for the tour from the Tools/Options/Touring drop down menu. I found that the default settings are pretty fun, but I decreased the "camera range" setting to about 750 meters to get a nice close up view. This tour feature worked on my friend's computer, even when it wouldn't display the track outline on his map.

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