Nationwide Historic USGS Topo Map Scanning Project

The Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas at Austin has begun an ambitious project to scan all available pre-1945 USGS topographic maps for all US states that don’t currently have them available online.  They are starting with Texas and working their way out from there.  As of today, Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana and Arkansas are available online and more states should become available in the coming weeks and months.  The scans are available in JPG format and are public domain.

I’ve also heard rumors that the USGS may be working on a nation wide scanning project of historic USGS maps.  Unfortunately, I’ve been hearing those rumors for many years and have yet to see any results.

I hope to get these added to the Google Earth Library collection of historic USGS topographic.  But that will also be an enormous undertaking because each map has to be georeferenced, and converted into KML/KMZ format.

I’ve been playing around with the idea of organizing a group of volunteers to help with the process of georeferencing historic topo maps.  I will try to get the ball rolling on this effort. Basically, I’m looking for volunteers to download the maps, georeference them, fill out a few details about each map in a spreadsheet, and upload the georeferenced map back up to an FTP site.  The resulting georeferenced maps would remain in the public domain.  I could also really use some donated web server space (100+ gigabytes) that doesn’t have restrictions on number of files or hosting files for this purpose.

If you want to contribute, contact me through the form on this page.  If you have contacted me previously, I will be reaching out to you in the next week or so.

pcl-topo-map-scanning

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NASA Earth Observations Data

The NASA Earth Observations website has dozens of layers of global scientific data formatted for viewing with Google Earth.

The data is grouped into Ocean, Atmosphere, Energy, Land and Life categories.  The layers are too numerous to list, but they include:

  • Sea Surface Temperature
  • Chlorophyll Concentration (MODIS)
  • Snow Cover & Sea Ice Extent
  • Cloud Water Content (MODIS)
  • Total Rainfall (TRMM)
  • Water Vapor (MODIS)
  • Land Surface Temperature
  • Radiation
  • Active Fires (MODIS)
  • Land Cover Classification (MODIS)
  • Permafrost
  • Vegetation Index [NDVI] (MODIS)
  • Population Density

The layers highlighted in red above have been combined into a single network link, which can be downloaded below the screenshot.  This will give you a preview of some of the available data.  Visit the NASA Earth Observation website for the other data  overlays.

nasa-earth-observation

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Credits

NASA Earth Observations

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150 Most Unusual Buildings of the World

This database shows the locations and photographs of 150 of the most unusual buildings in the world.  Everything from a building shaped like a duck in New York to the great Arch of Defense in Paris.  From buildings made of glass to buildings made of clay or even rusty containers which need house siding to make them livable.  Of course this is a subjective list and I’m sure there are many buildings missing.  But I think you’ll find every building on this list is unique in some way.

This collection started out as a three part story on the Village of Joy blog (part1, part2, part3).  Then, Munden over at Google Earth Hacks located all the buildings and created a three part version of it for Google Earth.  I have simply combined them into a single file to be easier for viewing, and made a minor tweak or two.  Hopefully Munden won’t mind :)

most-unusual-buildings

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Credits

Village of Joy (part1part2part3

Munden at Google Earth Hacks

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Solar Eclipse Paths 2001-2100

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, and the Moon fully or partially covers the Sun as viewed from some location on Earth.

This collection of global map overlays for Google Earth shows the paths of solar eclipse predictions through 2100 as compiled by Fred Espenak of NASA’s GSFC.  Each eclipse track is identified by the calendar date at the instant of greatest eclipse (Universal Time).  The position of greatest eclipse appears an asterisk symbol near the middle section of each path.

  • A total eclipse occurs when the Sun is completely obscured by the Moon.  Total Eclipses are shown as blue paths.
  • An annular eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun.  Annular Eclipses are shown as red bath.
  • A hybrid eclipse transitions between a total and annular eclipse.  Hybrid eclipses are shown as magenta paths

Also included is an overlay showing the path of the upcoming July 11, 2010 Total Solar Eclipse that will be visible in the south Pacific Ocean.  This map was created by Jay Anderson.

solar-eclipse-paths

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Credits

Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA’s GSFC

Jay Anderson

Google Earth Library (data import into Google Earth)

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General Soil Map of the United States

The U.S. General Soil Map consists of general soil association units. It was developed by the National Cooperative Soil Survey and supersedes the State Soil Geographic (STATSGO) dataset published in 1994. It consists of a broad-based inventory of soils and non-soil areas that occur in a repeatable pattern on the landscape and that can be cartographically shown at the scale mapped.  The dataset was created by generalizing more detailed soil survey maps. Where more detailed soil survey maps were not available, data on geology, topography, vegetation, and climate were assembled, together with Land Remote Sensing Satellite (LANDSAT) images. Soils of like areas were studied, and the probable classification and extent of the soils were determined.

The Google Earth version of this Soil Map provides the locations and names of the soils.  Unfortunately, there does not seem to be an easy way to extract detailed soil characteristics for each soil type from the database created by NRCS.  If you need the characteristics of the soil, you can search for the name of the soil at this website.  If anyone knows of a better way to search for the soil characteristics, post a comment.

This is a very large dataset.  The polygon data is several 100 megabytes.  To get Google Earth to display the polygons on a national level, they have been split up into 1×1 degree tiles.  There is also an Overview map.  Simply zoom in and as you get close enough to the ground, the Overview map will automatically turn off and the detailed polygons will automatically turn on.  Click on a polygon to see the name of the soil.

US Soils

US Soils

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Credits

Google Earth Library

Natural Resources Conservation Service

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Chile Earthquake Maps

On Saturday, February 27 at 6:34:14 UTC, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake occurred near Maule, Chile. News is just starting to come in so not sure how much damage there will be from this earthquake.

I will start working on a collection of map and earthquake data overlays for Google Earth.  I will continue to add new maps as I find them in the coming days.  If you know of any other good maps or data related to the Chile Earthquake that would be good to add this collection, please post a comment.

Just click on the button below to access all of the maps and data.  A list of the data is included in the table below, along with a link to the source.

Download With Google Earth

Data / Map Layer Source
(3/7)GeoEye Satellite Imagery from 2/28 (San Javier, Santiago,
and Puerto Saavedra)
GeoEye
(3/2) Shaded Relief Map of Earthquake area (based on SRTM data) Google Earth Library
(3/2) Local SMS Reports from Ushahidi (as of 3/2) Ushahidi.com
(3/2) 10m Elevation Contours near Concepcion (based on SRTM data) Google Earth Library
(3/2) 100-m MGRS Grid Overlay for Concepcion Delta State University
(3/2) 1:25,000 Street Atlas of Concepcion Delta State University
Open Street Map
(3/1) Earthquake Affected Areas USAID
(2/29) 5 meter RapidEye satellite imagery taken February 27.  Covers coastal area between Constitucion and Concepcion.  It’s the layer called “Chile Earthquake” Google Crisis Response. Google Crisis Response
RapidEye
(2/29) 90-meter Elevation data for Earthquake Region Kings College
(2/28) Chile Earthquake Damage Reference Map Relief Web and UN OCHA
(2/28) Central Chile Land Use Map Relief Web
Geographic Survey Institute
International Steering for Global Mapping
USGS ShakeMap and Epicenter USGS
Tsunami Hazard Map GEBBS and NOAA
Tsunami Travel Times NOAA
Populations of Cities in Area of Earthquake USGS
Modified Mercalli Values (Intensity) USGS
USGS Community Internet Intensity Map USGS
Aftershock Locations (as of 3/7) USGS

(Current Map of Aftershocks)

Chile Political Map Central Intelligence Agency and PCL
Chile Shaded Relief Map Central Intelligence Agency and PCL
Chile Administrative Area Map Central Intelligence Agency and PCL

chile-earthquake

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Zillow Neighborhoods

Database of nearly 7,000 neighborhood boundaries for the largest cities in the United States created by Zillow.com.

This is my 3rd incarnation of this data set. This version does not require you to manually enable the state you wish to view.  Instead, just navigate around the US and the colored boundaries will show up automatically when you zoom in close enough.

Click on a polygon to see it’s name and the city in which it’s located.

zillow-neighborhoods

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Credits

Google Earth Library

Zillow.com

a

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Google Maps Overlay in Google Earth

This set of overlays will overlay tile sets from Google Maps onto Google Earth.  This replaces an older version that no longer works.  Includes the following tile sets.

  • Maps
  • Satellite
  • Terrain

You may get missing tiles if you try to zoom in farther than is supported by Google Maps.

Not sure why Google doesn’t just make these available in Google Earth as default layers.  Seems like a no-brainer.

google-maps

google-maps

google-maps

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Credits

GE Maniacs

Google Earth BBS

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