GIS News

Explore the hidden worlds of the National Parks

Aug 24 2016 [Archived Version] □ Published at Maps under tags  arts & culture maps

In the Kenai Fjords, the ice is so dense it forms blues brighter than the clear Alaskan sky above. The molten rock around the (very) active Kīlauea Volcano appears to swirl and move — and sometimes it really does! At Bryce Canyon, one of the darkest places in North America, you can see the massive Milky Way glittering across the night sky.

The U.S. National Parks are full of wonders, but most people don’t get the chance to visit in person. While nothing beats the real thing, for this month’s 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service, we wanted to see if we could use Google’s technology to help share the parks with everyone.


Starting today anyone can take a virtual tour of some of our most breathtaking National Parks, no matter where you are, with Google’s The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks.

Explore the Hidden Worlds of the National Parks

This Google Arts & Culture exhibit and interactive documentary in honor of this month’s NPS Centennial is available on the web and in the Google Arts & Culture App oniOS/Android. You can immerse yourself in 360-degree video tours through some of the most remote and breathtaking places in five different National Parks. And if you want to learn more about what you’re seeing, you can browse the fascinating archive of artifacts from the National Parks’ many museums.

At each park, a local ranger guides you through places most people never get to go — spelunking through ancient caves at Carlsbad Caverns, flying above active volcanoes in Hawai’i, and swimming through the coral reefs of the Dry Tortugas in Florida.

Behind the scenes of The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks

We’ve also created the Hidden Worlds Expedition for educators to help open up new learning opportunities and share these experiences with even more people. The Expedition can be accessed on the Expeditions App (available on Google Play in the U.S.).

Google Doodle Celebrating U.S. National Parks

Today's Doodle celebrating U.S. National Parks & monuments. More info at google.com/doodles.

The National Parks are American treasures, and everyone should see what they have to offer. We hope that by making it easy for people to get a taste of the wilderness, we can encourage a new generation of parks goers to head out and explore in person. Get ready for an adventure!


Explore the hidden worlds of the National Parks

Aug 24 2016 [Archived Version] □ Published at Maps under tags  arts & culture maps

In the Kenai Fjords, the ice is so dense it forms blues brighter than the clear Alaskan sky above. The molten rock around the (very) active Kīlauea Volcano appears to swirl and move — and sometimes it really does! At Bryce Canyon, one of the darkest places in North America, you can see the massive Milky Way glittering across the night sky.

The U.S. National Parks are full of wonders, but most people don’t get the chance to visit in person. While nothing beats the real thing, for this month’s 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service, we wanted to see if we could use Google’s technology to help share the parks with everyone.


Starting today anyone can take a virtual tour of some of our most breathtaking National Parks, no matter where you are, with Google’s The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks.

Explore the Hidden Worlds of the National Parks

This Google Arts & Culture exhibit and interactive documentary in honor of this month’s NPS Centennial is available on the web and in the Google Arts & Culture App oniOS/Android. You can immerse yourself in 360-degree video tours through some of the most remote and breathtaking places in five different National Parks. And if you want to learn more about what you’re seeing, you can browse the fascinating archive of artifacts from the National Parks’ many museums.

At each park, a local ranger guides you through places most people never get to go — spelunking through ancient caves at Carlsbad Caverns, flying above active volcanoes in Hawai’i, and swimming through the coral reefs of the Dry Tortugas in Florida.

Behind the scenes of The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks

We’ve also created the Hidden Worlds Expedition for educators to help open up new learning opportunities and share these experiences with even more people. The Expedition can be accessed on the Expeditions App (available on Google Play in the U.S.).

Google Doodle Celebrating U.S. National Parks

Today's Doodle celebrating U.S. National Parks & monuments. More info at google.com/doodles.

The National Parks are American treasures, and everyone should see what they have to offer. We hope that by making it easy for people to get a taste of the wilderness, we can encourage a new generation of parks goers to head out and explore in person. Get ready for an adventure!


Five trending roadside attractions for your end of summer road trip

Aug 18 2016 [Archived Version] □ Published at Maps under tags  maps

Summer just isn’t complete without a road trip. Whether you cruise Route 66 from coast to coast or take a short drive out of the city, there are plenty of quirky attractions along the way. We looked at Google Maps data from the past few years to uncover which weird and wonderful roadside attractions are searched for more during the summer months than during the rest of the year. Here’s a curated list of some trending roadside gems across the country.

Roadtrippers leaving California for the beautiful Oregon landscape shouldn’t miss the Trees of Mystery attraction just 36 miles south of the Oregon border. Despite the name, the true showstoppers are the 49-foot-tall statue of Paul Bunyan and the 35-foot-tall Babe the Blue Ox – both of which are visible from Highway 101.

Downtown Seattle sports a notoriously sticky tourist attraction: a wall covered in gum. Although the wall was scrubbed clean back in 2015, it returned to all its glory in no time. Road trippers who find themselves at the famous Pike Place Market need only wander downstairs to Post Alley to behold the man-made (or chewed) marvel.

Just off Route 66, weary travelers can take a break to picnic, swim, or fish at the small lake that’s home to a big Blue Whale. To cool off from their long drives visitors fling themselves off his tail, slide down his fins and pose for photos in his open jaws.

Fewer than 30 minutes from Atlantic City, travelers can take in another larger than life creation – Lucy the Elephant. Lucy is a 132-year-old elephant-shaped building that towers six-stories tall. Visitors can enter the structure and climb up to the howdah (the carriage positioned on the back of an elephant) for a picturesque view of the beach below.

Take a short detour off I-95 in Connecticut to take a trip back in time to the Jurassic period. Northeastern roadtrippers will find 40 life-sized dinosaur figures on a 1.5-mile nature trail in The Dinosaur Place. And the best part is that they don’t have to worry about any real-life velociraptors.


Next time you’re on a road trip, remember to take a break and explore the roadside attractions along your route. Google Maps can help you do just that with a variety of features like offline maps, the ability to search for places along your route, and the option to create multi-stop trips (now available on Android and iOS). After all, the journey can be just as much fun as the destination.


Five trending roadside attractions for your end of summer road trip

Aug 18 2016 [Archived Version] □ Published at Maps under tags  maps

Summer just isn’t complete without a road trip. Whether you cruise Route 66 from coast to coast or take a short drive out of the city, there are plenty of quirky attractions along the way. We looked at Google Maps data from the past few years to uncover which weird and wonderful roadside attractions are searched for more during the summer months than during the rest of the year. Here’s a curated list of some trending roadside gems across the country.

Roadtrippers leaving California for the beautiful Oregon landscape shouldn’t miss the Trees of Mystery attraction just 36 miles south of the Oregon border. Despite the name, the true showstoppers are the 49-foot-tall statue of Paul Bunyan and the 35-foot-tall Babe the Blue Ox – both of which are visible from Highway 101.

Downtown Seattle sports a notoriously sticky tourist attraction: a wall covered in gum. Although the wall was scrubbed clean back in 2015, it returned to all its glory in no time. Road trippers who find themselves at the famous Pike Place Market need only wander downstairs to Post Alley to behold the man-made (or chewed) marvel.

Just off Route 66, weary travelers can take a break to picnic, swim, or fish at the small lake that’s home to a big Blue Whale. To cool off from their long drives visitors fling themselves off his tail, slide down his fins and pose for photos in his open jaws.

Fewer than 30 minutes from Atlantic City, travelers can take in another larger than life creation – Lucy the Elephant. Lucy is a 132-year-old elephant-shaped building that towers six-stories tall. Visitors can enter the structure and climb up to the howdah (the carriage positioned on the back of an elephant) for a picturesque view of the beach below.

Take a short detour off I-95 in Connecticut to take a trip back in time to the Jurassic period. Northeastern roadtrippers will find 40 life-sized dinosaur figures on a 1.5-mile nature trail in The Dinosaur Place. And the best part is that they don’t have to worry about any real-life velociraptors.


Next time you’re on a road trip, remember to take a break and explore the roadside attractions along your route. Google Maps can help you do just that with a variety of features like offline maps, the ability to search for places along your route, and the option to create multi-stop trips (now available on Android and iOS). After all, the journey can be just as much fun as the destination.


Dragons and turtles, and fish, oh hi!

Aug 08 2016 [Archived Version] □ Published at Maps under tags  google in asia maps

The Indonesian Island of Komodo is home to the world's largest living lizard — the Komodo Dragon. Now you can see these carnivorous reptiles from the comfort (and safety!) of home with the launch of new Street View imagery from the Komodo islands

Beyond taking a virtual walk with dragons, you can also explore the rich marine life surrounding Komodo Island, with the launch of 11 new underwater sites from Indonesia, thanks to XL Catlin Seaview Survey and The Ocean Agency.

•   Home to a kaleidoscope of corals and fish, sites like Batu Bolong and Raja Ampat attract scuba divers from around the world. Now you can take a dip with turtles, go swimming with sweetlips, and inspect colorful corals all without having to put on a wetsuit. All you need is Google Maps, to see and appreciate these unique and beautiful sites (available on iOS or Android).

•   Bunaken National Park in the Coral Triangle is another top destination for aquanauts, as it has some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world and is home to many reef fish and turtles.

•   To really get schooled in the marine diversity of Indonesia, head over to the Drop-off in Bali where you’ll encounter Giant Trevally, Big Eye Trevally and Yellowstripe Scad aplenty.

•   To capture all this stunning underwater imagery, the XL Catlin Seaview Survey team use a panoramic camera system, mounted on an underwater scooter piloted by a diver. The crystal clear images are produced by the camera cruising along at around 4kms per hour taking rapid-fire 360 degree pictures every 3 seconds. This imagery is part of a unique global study dedicated to monitoring the change of the ocean’s corals and revealing that change to the world.

Once you’re finished exploring the sea, come up for some air and take in the sights on land at Komodo village.  

Komodo Village.png
Enjoy the views above water too from Komodo Village

We hope you enjoy exploring Indonesia’s stunning natural beauty, above and below the water with Google Street View.


Dragons and turtles, and fish, oh hi!

Aug 08 2016 [Archived Version] □ Published at Maps under tags  google in asia maps

The Indonesian Island of Komodo is home to the world's largest living lizard — the Komodo Dragon. Now you can see these carnivorous reptiles from the comfort (and safety!) of home with the launch of new Street View imagery from the Komodo islands

Beyond taking a virtual walk with dragons, you can also explore the rich marine life surrounding Komodo Island, with the launch of 11 new underwater sites from Indonesia, thanks to XL Catlin Seaview Survey and The Ocean Agency.

•   Home to a kaleidoscope of corals and fish, sites like Batu Bolong and Raja Ampat attract scuba divers from around the world. Now you can take a dip with turtles, go swimming with sweetlips, and inspect colorful corals all without having to put on a wetsuit. All you need is Google Maps, to see and appreciate these unique and beautiful sites (available on iOS or Android).

•   Bunaken National Park in the Coral Triangle is another top destination for aquanauts, as it has some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world and is home to many reef fish and turtles.

•   To really get schooled in the marine diversity of Indonesia, head over to the Drop-off in Bali where you’ll encounter Giant Trevally, Big Eye Trevally and Yellowstripe Scad aplenty.

•   To capture all this stunning underwater imagery, the XL Catlin Seaview Survey team use a panoramic camera system, mounted on an underwater scooter piloted by a diver. The crystal clear images are produced by the camera cruising along at around 4kms per hour taking rapid-fire 360 degree pictures every 3 seconds. This imagery is part of a unique global study dedicated to monitoring the change of the ocean’s corals and revealing that change to the world.

Once you’re finished exploring the sea, come up for some air and take in the sights on land at Komodo village.  

Komodo Village.png
Enjoy the views above water too from Komodo Village

We hope you enjoy exploring Indonesia’s stunning natural beauty, above and below the water with Google Street View.


Get around town a little easier with new offline features and ride service options

Aug 08 2016 [Archived Version] □ Published at Maps under tags  maps

Starting today it just got a little easier to get around town with Google Maps – even when you run into some of the most frustrating travel scenarios around.

Scenario 1: You live or are traveling around a place with expensive data or spotty service


We’ve all been through this — whether in our own backyard or a different country. You need to get directions, but you don’t have service. Or you do have service – but it’s spotty – so you find yourself staring at the map in a perpetual state of loading while you sit in your car waiting to find out which way to go. Now, when you know you’ll have spotty service or just want to save on data, you can toggle to “Wi-fi only” to use Google Maps entirely offline on Android. And the best part is that you can still use other apps and the rest of your phone as you normally would. You might even save on battery life too.

Maps_-_08_08_-_Get_Around_Town_1.png

Scenario 2: You’re running out of storage


Entry-level smartphones come with internal storage capacities as low as 4GB, while higher-end models range between 8GB and 32GB. For many of us, that’s not enough for all the videos, music, apps, and photos we cram onto our beloved smartphones. To ensure that Google Maps users with any storage capacity can download and use offline areas when they need them most, we’ve added the ability to download your offline areas to an external SD card (if your device supports them) on Google Maps for Android. Now you’ll never have to choose between snapping more food photos or the ability to navigate offline.

Scenario 3: You just want someone else to do the driving


Sometimes you just need to get somewhere fast and don't want to drive, walk, or take public transportation. In March, we introduced a dedicated mode where users can easily compare ride service options without having to open multiple apps. In addition to showing options from Uber, we're now showing GO-JEK rides in three cities in Indonesia with ten more cities coming soon (Android, rolling out on iOS) and Grab rides in 24 cities throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand (Android, rolling out on iOS). We've also expanded the availability of GettHailo, and MyTaxi in select cities across Ireland, Poland, Italy, Austria, Russia, and Israel (Android, iOS).

Maps_-_08_08_-_Get_Around_Town_2.png

Commuting around your own city can be a battle and navigating around a foreign land can be ten times tougher. Using Google Maps offline and comparing between ride service options help make it a little easier so you can spend more time living and less time figuring out how to get places.


Spatialite and GeoPackage

Aug 20 2013 [Archived Version] □ Published at Into The Pudding under tags  geospatial

So I’d like to talk about some of the decisions we made in GeoPackage, as much work went in to discussing alternatives and possibilities that is not obvious from the current document. And I’m interested in opening up the dialog around specification development. This is all written as a private individual, not representing any organization […]


Githubbing the GeoPackage specification

Aug 12 2013 [Archived Version] □ Published at Into The Pudding under tags  geospatial geospatial web

In the past few months one of the main things I’ve spent time on is the new GeoPackage specification being worked on within the OGC. I was involved in the very early days of the conception, before it was picked up for the OWS-9 testbed, as I feel it has the potential to fill a big […]


Opening Esri

May 14 2013 [Archived Version] □ Published at Into The Pudding under tags  architectures of participation geospatial

So I’ve been meaning to write a post on this ever since I had a great talk with Andrew Turner, who recently joined Esri. He was expressing a good bit of optimism over Esri’s willingness to embrace ‘open’. My worry is that they would embrace the language of open, but not actually do the key […]