Changing Planet

African Wildlife Safari in Google Earth


Frank Taylor, author of the Google Earth Blog and an avid sailor, stopped by headquarters today. Over the past four years, he’s published thousands of posts about the latest features in, and innovative uses for, Google’s 3D virtual globe. Given Frank’s ringside seat on geo-technology and the planet, I was eager to meet him!


I asked about some of his favorite finds. He told me he was a huge fan of Mike Fay’s work supporting wildlife conservation in Africa and elsewhere with a plane or on foot, a GPS, and a camera. (Me too!) He asked if I’d seen the index another fan had created of animals Fay had photographed from the sky during his Africa Megaflyover project. No…


Google painted many of Mike’s photographs right into Google Earth’s “base layer,” so that if you zoom in close enough, satellite imagery gives way to his images. Crisp detail permits identification of individual animals.


A Google Earth Community member named “Reggie98” went the extra mile and catalogued many of the creatures, so you can open an “African Animals” folder in the application and find nearly 20 different kinds all over the continent, along with animal tracks where no critters are present. Just download and install Google Earth (if you don’t already have it) and follow the instructions in Frank Taylor’s post to take yourself on a virtual safari.


Frank had plenty more favorites, but I’ll save them for future posts. Meanwhile, bring lots of water and happy exploring!

  • […] National Geographic aerial photos of  animals and people in Africa can be found in Google Earth by clicking the National Geographic icons, and there is a kmz file you can download that has the groups of animals labeled. The video above shows how it looks, but you can find them directly in Google Earth. Show the video to your class to get the idea, and then turn them loose with Google Earth in search of more animals. […]

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