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Thread: How to use Google Maps 45 Degree imagery

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Munden's Avatar
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    Lightbulb How to use Google Maps 45 Degree imagery

    People are probably unfamiliar with this feature in Google Maps. Keep in mind this is NOT for Google Earth, and only for Google Maps. (this is why the help is posted here rather than in the 'Using Google Earth' forum)

    IMPORTANT NOTE: You MUST be in Satellite mode to see 45 degree imagery. If you are in Map mode, you will not see it.

    To start with, there is no way to know ahead of time if there is 45 degree imagery available. The view will flip AUTOMATICALLY as you zoom if there is imagery. See below for a way to TURN OFF the 45 degree imagery if you only want to see the flat imagery. Although Google has done a good job stitching the images together, keep in mind that these are indeed a series of very small images pieced together. This is a sample location. Looking at the building you can see that it has a shadow on both the east and west sides of the building. You can also see the power pole on the upper left has a shadow facing west, while most of the rest face the east. I use this to simply point out for you that you might see some strange things now and again because of this. (like this shadow of a T-38 Talon where the aircraft itself is across the image seam and not visible)

    For my example, let's look at the TV filming location for the TV show "Trauma" at Alameda near San Francisco. If you go there and zoom in far enough the view will eventually switch and near the intersection of runways you'll see this:

    As with any Google Maps location you can continue to zoom in and out and grab the image to slide around to new locations. If you move too far and enter an area without 45 degree imagery, the picture reverts to flat images.

    There are often FOUR different views available at each location. You can change which direction you're facing by grabbing the OUTER edge of the compass in the upper left of the image. Do NOT grab the inner white circle as this will only pan across the landscane. Again grab the outer ring, as seen below in the red circle.


    Grab the ring and then rotate it clockwise. You'll see the 'North' indicator flip to the right of the ring. Let go and the view changes.


    You can see that the scene itself has radically changed. It takes time for the aircraft to fly its pattern so frequently different views will have changes. In this view, the filming of the episode is well underway.

    You can experiment rotating the view more if you like. There is a set of images in each of the four primary directions.

    One other thing to note is that the view you see in rotating will always have 'North' facing in the direction (right, left, etc) that the indicator is facing in the compass.

    CREATING LINKS: Just like any other Google Maps and Street View link, you MUST use the 'Link' button you see in the upper right.

    Finally, if you do NOT want to see the 45 degree imagery at a certain location, you can disable it using the menu on the right. You might see a menu in the top right of the map pane that looks like this set of buttons:


    Place the mouse over the box in the upper right and you'll get menus. The menu item that says "45░" and has a checkmark. This menu item will toggle the 45 degree view on and off.

    Some people may not have a menu that looks like the previous example. You probably have one that looks like in the image below. You'll find the "45░" option under the 'Satellite' menu in the upper right. You can swap between Overhead and "45░" by clicking on the one you want in that menu. (assuming "45░" is available) Click here to see a sample image of what I mean.

    To see the areas currently covered by 45 degree imagery, download the KMZ file from the file section. Go to it by clicking here.

    Please see the first comment post for the KMZ for the text list of locations.

    I found the following link inside this Google LatLong blog post.
    This is a semi-official Google Map marking of locations. It's not as complete as my list since they only mark a few individual cities rather than huge areas. Still, it's a useful thing to keep an eye on. Here's a link to their map. I don't think it's being kept updated. Although a couple of 'newer' cities are marked, there are just far too many that aren't.
    Last edited by Munden; 10-14-2011 at 08:38 PM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Emeritus Appletom's Avatar
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    Very nicely done tutorial Munden. Thank you. Can't wait until Google Maps 45 hits my city.

    Is there a list of places where GM45 is available?

    Where can I find the shadow of the T-38 Talon you mention?

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    Super Moderator Munden's Avatar
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    I had the links incorrectly indicated as image tags. I fixed them so you can see the shadow and the building I talk about.

    I also included a mention at the bottom for people who don't have a menu that looks like my example. Firefox users, for example, see a different type of menu. I'd include a picture but we can only have 4 images per post apparently.

    Hope that helps!

    EDIT: There's no official location, but I'll try and keep a list at the bottom of the tutorial until the city list gets too large.

    EDIT: I also added a link to the spot I use for the examples so people don't have to go hunting for it.
    Last edited by Munden; 01-04-2011 at 11:12 PM.

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    Super Moderator Munden's Avatar
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    I remembered that the was a LatLong post about this earlier in the year and found it back in July. It did list a couple of cities I had missed/forgotten about. They also had a map that does seem to be updated. I don't know that it's 'official' but I linked to it from the tutorial just before the list I supply.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Munden's Avatar
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    I've added a KMZ to the main post. Please note the text right above the attachment which simply states that while the lines are reasonably accurate, they are not absolutely accurate in places. I can't go foot by foot and mark the outline or I'd never be done. I do my best to keep the shapes as accurate as I can, though.

    In the USA I have Portland and most of the California cities done. Outside of the USA I have Venice and South Africa both complete. When I have time I'll be updating the outlines and making notes in the original post by noting the date of the last update and which cities are in the file. (note the '*' by cities in the list)

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    Super Moderator Munden's Avatar
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    They just added two spots in California (Escondido and an area northeast of San Francisco they simply say is Contra Costa county) as well as St Petersburg, Florida.

    The 'Contra Costa' update includes areas more than just that county. I've got it fairly well covered by the KMZ and have also added Escondido which actually merges with the San Diego imagery.

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    Super Moderator Munden's Avatar
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    I've finished up the last of the current set of cities and the KMZ is updated. Now we'll just have to see how frequently they add cities.

    I'm sure some of the larger cities such as New York City will be slower not just because of the size, but having to stitch together pictures where it takes several of them to fully show the skyscrapers. It must be a real pain to try and adjust the images so that they look vaguely correct for that. I can imagine that's one reason Microsoft kept their images as individual tiles.

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    Super Moderator Munden's Avatar
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    More 45 degree imagery has been added. See this link for the list. (it's the same one listed in the main post)

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    Super Moderator Munden's Avatar
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    More additions. See the KMZ file. (I need to update my list)

    Rome, Italy

    USA: Honolulu, St Louis, Boulder City NV, Sausalito and Lake Forest CA, expanded coverage in Austin TX, New Orleans LA, and Norfolk VA

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    Super Moderator Munden's Avatar
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    I've found some more additions. After they commented in their last post, I made sure to check the airport in Chino, CA. It's a great place, and was sad to see it wasn't added yet.

    It's there now.
    Take a look at these airplanes for instance.
    A row of Saab Draken fighters (with a Mig 15 or 17 and a Fouga Magister.
    A restores British naval fighter. Wildcat or Hellcat perhaps.
    A large collection of airplanes being restored
    A collection including an AN-2, F-104, F-86, and an F7F-3 Tigercat

    I'll keep looking for more updates. They will probably update the map link I have in the first post tomorrow.

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    Super Moderator Munden's Avatar
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    They've added even more 45 degree imagery. You can see the vast majority of San Francisco downtown is added. The only area that hasn't been added is the area with skyscrapers. (must be a serious problem to get those to mesh up right into a single image)

    Also, much of the Los Angeles area and surrounding cities has been added over time. The areas are somewhat spotty but spread out over a very large area.

    Airbus 380 at LAX
    Party at the Playboy Mansion

    The Goodyear blimp
    747 Leaving LAX
    American Airlines on rotation as it takes off
    Air Canada aircraft taking off
    American Airlines ready for takeoff

    Edit:
    Salt Lake City has been expanded and includes surrounding area such as Hill AFB.
    C-130 and some A-10 aircraft
    A row of F-16 Falcons
    F-16 painted with the Thunderbirds scheme (they are the US Air Force aerobatic demonstration team)
    Last edited by Munden; 06-03-2011 at 04:19 AM.

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    Super Moderator Munden's Avatar
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    They updated their map file to indicate expanded San Antonio coverage, Cape Coral FL, Virginia Beach VA, and Torrance CA.

    New things I've found:
    A flock of birds over F-18 Hornets at Naval Air Station Oceana
    Omega Aerial Refueling Services tanker. One of only two civilian B707 refueling tankers.
    F-18 that just landed.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator Munden's Avatar
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    Forth Worth, Texas has 45 degree imagery now.

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    Super Moderator Munden's Avatar
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    Added their new cities to the list on the main post. I really do need to break it up into columns now.

  15. #15
    Super Moderator Munden's Avatar
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    I've begun trying to update the KML again since the Google Maps link was by someone not associated with Google and they've stopped updating it.

    For now, I've fixed some of the San Francisco outline and did quite a lot of the work in the Los Angeles area. I still need to fix the eastern most section and make sure the northern bits up past Hollywood and Burbank actually have the right shape. (they're not too far off right now, I think)

    Also, I've started to eliminate some of the California cities in the large list and combine them under a single listing where they tend to be inside the same polygon. (such as Los Angeles and the surrounding area)

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