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RAMMB: Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch CIRA: Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere

Real-Time Google Earth Satellite Imagery

Using Google Earth, we now have the ability to view product loops at the highest resolution available, without having to transfer huge amounts of data. This is accomplished by turning the full resolution imagery into small "tiles" that are only downloaded as needed. The further you zoom in on the image, the better the resolution will become until you reach the maximum.

The following product loops are available for viewing in Google Earth, which is available for free download at http://earth.google.com/.

Before you get started, a couple very important tips:

  1. When viewing a KML (Google Earth) file that includes time information, a transparent looping control will appear in the upper left corner of Google Earth. Hovering your mouse over it will allow you to control the loop.
  2. Images are only downloaded while both the timeframe and location of the image are shown. Because of this fact, it is very important to slow down the speed of the animation. To do this, click on the small tool icon in the looping control, and set the "Animation speed" to about the middle of the slider.
  3. Please also check the "Loop animation" checkbox.
  4. If preferable, please set the time to display in UTC. Note that the times will still display with AM/PM format, but that the timezone will be that of UTC. This is simply the format Google Earth uses.
  5. Press the Play button (second from the left) to view the loop.

The script to put the imagery into Google Earth runs every 5 minutes (:03, :08, etc.), and adds any new imagery at that time. Each time it runs, data older than 48 hours is removed.