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Now you can add new placemarks much more easily

Filed under: Software Updates — by at 10:07 am on Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I built the EasyLatLon tool a while ago as a simple way for you to grab the lat/lon of any location.  It’s worked quite well for that, and it’s been rather popular, but now I’ve added some additional features to make it much more useful.

Starting now, you can add a few location to our site with just a few clicks.  Watch the video below to see how it works, and then head over to the EasyLatLon page to try it for yourself!

A timeline of Louis Zamperini’s journey

Filed under: Other Cool Stuff — by at 3:40 pm on Saturday, January 8, 2011

I just finished reading “Unbroken“, at the urging of my wife, and it was a great book!  It inspired me to create a Google Earth file that shows all of his adventures, but I was unable to find a simple timeline of his events.

By working back through the book, and using various other online resources, I came up with the following.  If you see anything that is missing or inaccurate, please leave a comment and let me know.

Update: April 26, 2011 — Thanks to David Hale, the list is now much more accurate, including dates for most of the major events.  For a full timeline, you can check out this Google Spreadsheet (or download the Excel file, if you prefer).  Thanks David!

Early Years

  • Jan 26, 1917 – Born in Olean, NY — 327 Coleman Street (thanks Alec!)
  • 1920 – Moved to Torrance, CA — 2028 Gramercy Avenue
  • Aug 26, 1929 – Louie saw the Graf Zeppelin over Torrance, CA
  • Jan, 1933 – Louie began tenth grade at Torrance High School
  • Feb, 1933 – Louis began competitive running
  • Dec, 1935 – Louie graduated from High School
  • May 22, 1936 – Track meet in USC Coliseum.  Louie finished second in the 5000.
  • July 3, 1936 – Louie left Torrance for the Olympic trials in New York.
  • Aug 7, 1936 – Ran in the Berlin Olympics
  • 1938 – Attended USC
  • Sept 29, 1941 – Louie joined the Army.

Bombardier school

  • Nov, 1941 – Houston, TX – Ellington Field
  • Aug, 1942 – Midland, TX – Midland Army Flying School


  • Aug 19, 1942 – Ephrata, WA
  • Oct, 1942 – Sioux City, IA
  • Oct, 1942 – Hamilton Field, CA (stopover to Hawaii)
  • Nov 2, 1942 – Hawaii — Hickam Field


  • Dec 23, 1942 – Wake Atoll (via Midway Island)
  • Feb, 1943 – Canton (to prep for Makin and Tarawa)
  • Feb, 1943 – Makin (in the Gilbert Islands)
  • Feb, 1943 – Tarawa (in the Gilbert Islands)
  • April 17, 1943 – Nauru, then landed in Funafuti
  • April 18, 1943 – From Funafuti, via Canton, to Palmyra Atoll
  • May 24, 1943 – Stationed at Kualoa Field, Oahu

The Crash

  • May 27, 1943 – The plane that they were searching for crashed on the way to Canton from Kualoa
  • May 27, 1943 – Heading from Kualoa to Palmyra and crashed, roughly 225 miles north of Palmyra


  • July 13, 1943 – Landed at Wotje in the Marshall Islands
  • July 16, 1943 – Kwajalein
  • Truk Atoll (stopover on the way to Yokohama)
  • Sept 15, 1943 – Yokohama, Japan (on the eastern coast of Honshu) to Ofuna
  • Sept 31, 1944 – Omori (on an artificial island in Toyko Bay)
  • March 2, 1945 – Naoetsu

Going home

  • Sept 5, 1945 – From Naoetsu to Yokohama
  • Sept 17, 1945 – Okinawa
  • Sept 18, 1945 – Laoag, Philippines
  • Sept, 1945 – Manila
  • Sept, 1945 – Stopover at Kwajalein
  • Sept, 1945 – Hawaii
  • Oct, 1945 – Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco (Pete came to visit)
  • Oct, 1945 – Long Beach airport (reunited with family)


  • May 25, 1946 – Cynthia and Louie were married.
  • Sept, 1949 – Billy Graham came to Los Angeles
  • June, 1954 – San Gabriel Mountains, CA – Louie opened the Victory Boys Camp
  • 1984 – Louie carried the Olympic torch in Los Angeles
  • Jan 22, 1998 – Louie carried the Olympic torch past the Naoetsu POW camp.
  • April, 2003 – Wantanabe died
  • July 2, 2014 – Louie died

New commenting system for files

Filed under: Software Updates — by at 9:33 am on Thursday, September 2, 2010

The system we have been using for file comment was hand-built years ago, and really it was rather crude.  To simplify things, we’ve just implemented the Comment system using the Facebook JavaScript SDK.  This system looks nicer, and should be much easier to use.  When viewing any file on the site, just scroll down and you’ll see the comment box.

Here are a few examples of it on the site.

Some test comments, so you can see how they look:

When you post, you have the option to have the comment appear on your profile.  While we certainly encourage this, you can turn it off if you’ll be leaving a lot of comments on files so that you don’t clutter up your Facebook stream:

If comments had been left for a file using the previous system, we’ve included a link to those so you can still view them:

Lastly, we know that some of you don’t use Facebook and have no desire to, and that’s perfectly fine.  If you’re not logged in to Facebook, you can still leave a comment without any problems.

So there you have it.  If you have any thoughts, questions or problems, please let us know.



Upgraded forums and “Top Submitters” in StreetView

Filed under: Site News — by at 11:00 am on Sunday, January 24, 2010

A couple of nice updates to the site:

vBulletin 4.0 — We’ve upgraded our forums to vBulletin 4.0, giving you more features and better security.

Top StreetView Submitters — We’ve had a “top submitters” list on our main site for a while, but some of you had asked for a similar list in our StreetView section.  Here you go!

If you ever have a problem with the site, or an idea for a new feature, please let us know in our “Site Issues and Questions” forum.  Thanks!

New tool for you to use: Easy LatLon

Filed under: Software Updates — by at 6:37 pm on Thursday, October 29, 2009

This is a pretty simple one.  I often find myself quickly needing to get the latitude/longitude for a particular point, and there’s not a simple way to get it.  There’s some easy ways, but none that are just simple and quick.  That’s what this fills.

Fire up Easy LatLon and browse around using the Google Earth Plug-in.  You can use the search box to find a location at the top by name or by address.  Every time the camera stops moving, the lat/lon on the left side of the page are updated.

Suppose you wanted to know the location of Yankee Stadium.  Go to Easy LatLon, type in “Yankee Stadium” at the top, and the results are there on the side.  Copy/paste them to whatever you need.

Like I said, it’s very simple.  I hope it’s helpful for you from time to time.

Over a million downloads for user ‘SpiderX22’!

Filed under: Software Updates — by at 7:14 pm on Sunday, October 25, 2009

We’ve just reached a cool milestone.  One our most prolific file submitters, SpiderX22, has now had his files downloaded over a million times! He’s submitted more than 1200 files to the site over the years, and the total downloads for those files has just passed 1,000,000.  Great work, Spider!

I also want to recognize two other big submitters — McMaster_de and sladys.  They’ve both submitted more files than Spider has, though neither has reach a million downloads yet.  McMaster is well over 900,000 and will probably reach a million pretty soon.

You can see the full list of our Top 50 Submitters on this page.

It’s worth mentioning that sladys has also been an animal with our StreetView area, adding more than 3300 locations to that database!  He’s the main reason that section of the site has grown as large as it has.  There are a lot of neat things to find in there, so be sure to check it out.

100,000 members

Filed under: Software Updates — by at 7:52 am on Saturday, July 25, 2009

Just a quick, fun note — the number of registered users in our forums has crossed the 100,000 mark.  Wow!

Thanks to all of you who have contributed over the years, and we look forward to many more!

Track new forum discussions via Twitter

Filed under: Software Updates — by at 5:26 am on Thursday, April 16, 2009

Those those of you that use our forums and use Twitter, here’s a new account for you to follow — @GEHforums.  This Twitter account simply takes any new threads in the forums and tweets out the title of the thread and a link.  It’s a good way to keep up with new discussions without having to wade through the forums each day.  If you participate in a thread, then you can just “subscribe” to the thread when you’re posting to automatically receive e-mail updates of new posts.

Also, don’t forget about the main @gearthhacks Twitter account.  It currently posts items from the blog, but soon we’ll be pushing new file uploads to it as well.



New 3D cities: some new, some ancient

Filed under: Site News — by at 5:27 pm on Friday, November 14, 2008

Google has brought out a handful of new 3D cities in the past few days.  Today saw the release of Seattle and Pittsburgh, both of which now have hundreds of full-color buildings and look excellent.  Here is a shot from Pittsburgh.


A few days ago, Google unveiled a new layer for Google Earth that has over 5700 hundred buildings from ancient Rome rebuilt in 3D.  It’s a slow-loading collection, but it is amazing.  Here is a short video introducing the new layer:

Google Earth comes to the iPhone and StreetView goes to Spain

Filed under: Site News — by at 6:00 pm on Monday, October 27, 2008

A couple of cool new things today:

Google Earth is now available as a free app for the iPhone.  Not only is it free, but it’s good!  It looks very similar to the normal Google Earth program, includes 3D terrain, Wikipedia/Panoramio icons and a few other goodies.  No 3D buildings, but that’s not a problem for now.  The interface is phenomenal, with superb gesture controls and even a bit of accelerometer support.  My wish for version 2 is that they offer some kind of KML support so we can push our own files out to it.

Google Maps StreetView is now in Spain.  They’ve added StreetView to four Spanish cities — Madrid, SevillaValencia and Barcelona. As you find cool sights in those areas, be sure to post them to our StreetView section, which now has nearly 2500 locations in it!

Version 2.2 of the iPhone firmware should be out in a few weeks and promises to have StreetView support, so that will be kind of a mesh of these two items.  Hopefully the interface on that is as good as it is in the new Google Earth application.

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