Friday, September 10, 2010

Tahina Expedition

For the ultimate Google Earth experience, we fly a kite with a special remote-controlled camera rig which dangles from the string. With this setup we take very high-resolution aerial photos and send them to Google who replaces the default imagery with our kite photos. You can see examples of the kite photos - see BBQ Island or Petite Tabac.

Who wouldn't like to explore the Earth in a sailing catamaran? This is what Frank and Karen Taylor are doing and I asked them to share the story with you (thanks Frank):

What happens when the worlds biggest fan of Google Earth goes traveling around the world by sailboat? Lots and lots of photos in Panoramio! In 2005, I began writing the (unofficial) Google Earth Blog. I didn't just write about what people and companies were doing with Google Earth, but used it nearly every day to virtually explore the Earth. In late-2009, my wife Karen and I embarked on a five year journey to circumnavigate the Earth for real in our sailing catamaran called Tahina. You can follow the journey with our blog called Tahina Expedition. We, of course, use Google Earth and Google Maps to help you follow our journey. One of my primary goals was to document our trip using photography and blogging to share the experience. All our travels are documented with GPS so you can see the places we visit.

What kind of photography are we doing, and how do we share our photos? During our trip we have taken a variety of forms of photography. We take the usual candid photos during our travels, from our boat and on shore while we do our sight seeing. And we also take underwater photos during snorkeling and diving. Many of our photos appear in Panoramio (which also has a layer in Google Earth). We try to take photos which will represent the beauty of the countries we are visiting, or unique sights worth visiting.

Link to upload to Panoramio in Picasa Web Albums

How do we get our photos in Panoramio? First, we have to make sure the photos are geotagged. We use Picasa to organize our many photos on our computer. Sometimes we use the built-in "Places" interface to map each photo. We also use a GPS to track our position while shooting photos and use software to automatically geotag our photos. We then upload a selection of our photos to photo albums using Picasa Web Albums (see Tahina's Picasa photo albums here). If you use Picasa Web Albums, you can easily select photos, that have been geotagged, to be transferred to Panoramio. When viewing a photo, just look for the link to "Upload to Panoramio" right under the map. The photo will be copied directly to your Panoramio account quickly and automatically.

We also take 360 degree spherical panoramas which you can view on our web site, through, or through - you guessed it - Google Earth (see an example and read how we do this in this blog post). Not only that but we have an underwater ROV by VideoRay which lets us explore up to 300 feet underwater with remote control from our boat with two video cameras, lights, and a small grappling hand.

We are having a great time exploring the Earth by sailboat. Hopefully you will join us by following our photos on Panoramio and reading our blog!

Captain Frank Taylor
VideoRay -
Google Earth Blog -
Tahina Expedition -