Monday, February 04, 2019

Make Your Own Google Maps Movies

Kevin McGloughlin's stunning video Epoch was made by editing together thousands of Google Maps aerial images. The video was obviously inspired by Páraic McGloughlin video Arena (Kevin and Páraic are brothers).

Both these movies took months to create. The brothers spent hours & hours scouring Google Maps searching for the thousands of aerial views that make up their movies. I'm going to show you how to make your own Google Maps movies in a matter of minutes.

1. Search Terrapattern

One of the reasons that the McGloughlin movies work so well is that they both animate through very similar aerial views of the Earth. Now you could spend months searching for similar looking images or you could use Terrapattern instead.

Terrapattern is a visual search engine for satellite imagery. The search engine uses machine learning to find locations around the world which look very similar. This means that you can use Terrapattern to find lots of locations which share a visual resemblance. For example, if you click on a baseball field on the Terrapattern map you can find other locations which also have a baseball field.

All the locations on Terrapattern are shown on Google Maps. If you click on the Google Maps logo then you can open and view the location directly on Google Maps. After opening a location on Google Maps you can screensave the image. You just need to do that for thousands of similar images (or if you only have a few minutes to spare you could just screenshot and save 20 similar aerial images instead).

2. Open Imgflip

Once you have saved all the images you want to use in your movie you are ready to create an animated GIF. If you go to Imgflip you can just upload all your images and Imgflip will create your animated GIF for you. Here's one I made last night in 30 minutes from twenty different football pitches in Berlin:

My three animated GIFs on this page are very poor imitations of the work of the McGloughlin brothers. However I think that they are a reasonable outcome for a few minutes effort. I created two of these animated images using Terrapattern in one hour last night. I took a little longer to make the volcano gif at the top of the page today. I didn't use Terrapattern for this one but just used Wikipedia to get a list of Volcanoes and Google Maps for the aerial images.

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