Geograph SuperLayer for Google Earth

If you have Google Earth version 4 and broadband then you might be interested in clicking this link:

· Geograph SuperLayer · Geograph Superlayer - click to load into Google Earth

By opening the above link you should be able to view the whole Geograph image collection directly in Google Earth. This has been possible in a number of ways for a while, but this does so in a much more compelling way (i.e. a single small download!).

This exploits the new Region functionality of GE4 to only fetch and load detail as you zoom in, in this way the view starts depicting a course overview of the current coverage, zooming in reveals more detail until pictures themselves become visible. (the ‘Super’ is adopted from Google’s term of SuperOverlays – overlays that load via nested regions)

In particular this is all pre-compiled and compressed, so should be fairly quick to download and is friendly as possible on bandwidth. Overall the layer consists of 102,965 files at 450MB compressed so there is a lot of data available, however you will download a lot less than this, probably on the region of a couple hundred files totalling about 2MB in a typical session.

As a small refinement, when a icon represents a single photo (a camera icon) if a view direction is stored the icon will have the top point in the appropriate direction. Also once the thumbnail is visible you can double click the thumb and the View will rotate to orientate the photo correctly!

Also this is only the first version, hot off the presses, so it not perfect yet, in particular would like to use Geograph specific icons (any Graphic Designers reading???), for example to give more feedback to the user on squares with many images, and view direction – also GE sometimes gets confused at the amount of detail available – plan to experiment to see if something can do about that.

… Hopefully users of GE3 should degrade nicely to use the View-based refresh method of viewing the dataset.

Oh and yes this is the little kml project I mentioned, see also other ways of loading geograph data into Google Earth or Google Maps via KML files.

3 Responses to “Geograph SuperLayer for Google Earth”

  1. Frank Taylor says:

    Hey Barry, this is a good start. The transition between iconic symbols and the actual photos as icons is a little slow at the moment. But, when it was working it looked pretty good.

    Once you have it a little more robust, let me know and I’ll write this up at

  2. Noel Jenkins says:

    Agree with Frank – but what amazing potential for the UK classroom!

    I now realize how it was possible for Geograph to dispute the location of one of my submissions.

    Glad to have discovered your blog.

  3. Barry says:

    Hi Noel,

    One of our current goals is to develop Geograph for use in the Classroom.

    If you have some ideas on things we could do to make the site (and its collection of images :) ) more useful then please do let us know!