Google Earth for Mac OS X (+ 3D buildings)

When I decided back in August last year to move back to the Mac, I had chosen to move to a platform that wasn't very well supported when it came to programmes like Google Earth or NASA's Worldwind. I survived without it for a while, but you can probably imagine my excitement when in December an early Mac OS X beta version of Google Earth started making the rounds on the internet. It wasn't being released by Google officially, but I couldn't help but download it to give it a spin.

The early version seemed a little unstable at times but it had just about everything that the PC version had, and was every bit as enticing and mesmerising. Even my family agreed after I got the computer out at Christmas and opened up Earth. Fascinated for hours, we looked at places the world over, at times flying through some of the more impressive of global landmarks. Then, when I came back to work, I noticed that Google had officially launched their Mac version, leading to even more exploration.

What I hadn't seen until last week, was the number of three-dimensional buildings that are available for placing on top of the satellite imagery. In London, for example, there is a 3D UCL campus available, as well as Centre Point, the BT Tower, the Euston Tower and the London Eye - all from a guy at UCL. In Paris, you can overlay the Eiffel Tower on the map. In the middle of the Nevada Desert, you can see the outline of Area 51 buildings, or even a slightly more exotic version. It's great to be able to fly around these buildings and explore them from a desk anywhere in the world.