Finally South Africa has been added to the list of cities with their own layer on Google Earth!
The pitch on the website is fairly simple, now you can explore SA and plan trips around the country flying through the air on Google Earth.
The site says that there are 3 steps you need to complete, but there really is only one; download Google Earth.
Other things being punted involved a step by step on planning your trip across the country or to a specific destination.
The entire concept seems to be very tourism based which I think is a fantastic idea considering how important tourism is to our economy.
The site looks great and feels simple enough to use.
I’ve downloaded Google Earth and given the SA layer a test run.
Here are my thoughts on the old features:
Typing in “Johannesburg, South Africa” will take you directly to the JHB CBD. Smack bang in the middle of town. My previous experiences of Google Earth have been fantastic, everywhere but in SA. You could look at Manhatten in NY or any other major city. Finally JHB is being taken seriously.
There is a massive social aspect to the SA layer on Google Earth. Little turquoise dots will allow you to see things like a panorama view of JHB CBD, you can then comment on that photo or upload your own to that venue or area. Brilliant stuff.
Moving on to Oxford street you see a very up-to-date image of the Hyatt in Rosebank and to the left of that the Gautrain construction site (just to prove that things are fresh!).
I found the Carlton Centre in the CBD and clicked on the little dot and bam, up popped a Wikipedia entry about the Carlton Centre. Fantastic. This is learning by experience in a pseudo-experiential sort of way. I even managed to get a view from the top of the centre. Incredible stuff.
Moving to Cape Town will allow you to activate the 3D buildings option on the right hand side of the key grid. Typing in and flying to Cape Town will take you straight to the city centre and right to the Absa building amongst others that have been mapped in 3D.
You can also activate the Roads and maps option to “drive” yourself around the area you are in.
The new layer:
Now everything above that I’ve just mentioned is what you can do WITHOUT visiting the Google Earth SA website and DOWNLOADING the SA layer map from the site.
The file is immediately opened by Google Earth and this is what you see:
The map is VERY 2010 centric and seems to be a marketing tool for the Soccer World Cup. If you ask me, it’s a brilliant move that will spark MAJOR interest in our country. It looks magnificent and there is so much to see that I could honestly blog all day about this. But I wont.
I will ask that you go and download Google Earth and the SA app file and get searching for places of interest. You will be astounded. There is so much to see, so much to do and so much to feel positive about by just looking at a map.
By the way, I was given a heads up for this post by the one, the only, the scott. It’s always great to get a lead or a scoop so if, like Scott you have a lead for me, send it through!
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