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Working Offline with Google Earth

By Wayan Vota on July 13, 2009

As we mentioned in our recent post about testing WiFi antennas across the San Francisco Bay, we at Inveneo rely heavily on Google Earth to better understand the complex wireless network projects we implement in rural and developing regions.

Google Earth is fantastic tool for understanding any project involving geospatial data on a macro as well as a micro level.  Google Earth can also help you better communicate the where component of your project to your coworkers, your partners, and your funders.

If you’re working in a remote rural region and have tried to put Google Earth to work on your project, though, chances are you’ve run into it’s one key limitation:  it relies heavily on the Internet.

I recently discovered a free tool I’m excited to try out that looks like it will play a big part in my workflow as I analyze wireless networks for Inveneo.  Google Earth Voyager allows you to automatically fill your Google Earth cache with data for a project region you define. 

You can run Voyager to fill your cache when you have a fast connection to the Internet, and have all the data you need available offline when you’re operating on your laptop out in the field.

Google Earth Voyager was developed by an Egyptian software engineer named Tamer Louis.  You’ll find the direct link to the program zip file here.  The file is currently called gev6.zip, though it looks like the filename changes with each new version Tamer rolls out.

The guys over at Google Earth Blog are also thinking about this problem, and have provided a great writeup on optimizing your cache settings for offline use.  They also link to an interesting forum discussion on saving multiple versions of your GE cache for different regions.  You’ll need to quit GE to swap the caches, basically tricking the program into thinking there’s only one cache.

We’d love to hear about any other techniques you have found useful for dealing with Google Earth in offline locations out in the field.

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Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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2 Comments to “Working Offline with Google Earth”

  1. Bill says:

    Google Earth has always seemed like a great tool, but I couldn’t use it before because I don’t have internet. I’m looking forward to giving this a shot.

  2. AnonymousA says:

    Google earth is awsome but i think its still awsome when avavilable offline