Viewing Your Neighborhood From Above As You Pilot A Plane
Using Google Earth's FREE Online Flight Simulator
I thought I would start off the inaugural MCSYD Computer Tidbits by showing something that can be fun and informative for all. So MCSYD.com family here is your chance to strap in an airplane and have some fun as you fly over points of interests to you, maybe your old neighborhood, the one you live in now, your job, or maybe some place you hope to visit one day. With the satelite view Google Earth offers to us for free, we can now use this technology to look at places from a different perspective, not on the ground, in the air. This acitivity costs you nothing but your time and maybe some patience using your computer and its hardware and software.
Can you locate the following?
1. Bay Shore High School
3. Fifth Ave Elementary School
4. Howells Rd.
5. Bay Shore Fire Department
6. Town of Islip Barn Yard
7. First Baptist Church
8. Joe Leggio's
9. Sunrise Hwy (27)
10. Rhodes Avenue
11. Second Avenue
12. Third Avenue
13. Bay Shore Post Office
14. Harrison Avenue
15. 50 West Perkal Street
The above picture was capture with Google Earth as I was flying over Bay Shore, NY, using GE Flight Simulator. How many landmarks and roads can you identify? I can see where my home on Perkal Street used to be. The imagery date can be seen on the lower left hand corner of the picture. This image was taken by the satelite on September 19, 2010.
One of Google Earth's best hidden secrets is the built in Flight Simulator that will really let you take controls of an F-16 fighter jet, or the Cirrus SR22 general aviation four seat passenger propeller driven airplane and take a real look at your neighborhood and practically any place in the world from directly above. I was born and raised in Bay Shore, Long Island, New York, and never seen it from above until I tried this simple, very easy to use "FREE" flight sim built into GOOGLE EARTH. It's fun and very informative at the same time. One could use this program to actually fly over some place they are headed to just to familiarize themself with the location before they even leave.
512MB of RAM (Random Access Memory) Today's newer computers come with at least 2GB of RAM or more, but this application will run with a minimum of 512MB. Check your RAM first. More is always better.
1.60GHZ intel Pentium 4 or better processor. Today's newer computers come with processor's running at 2.0GHZ or better. Once again faster processor will run fast and smooth.
92MB of hard drive space is needed to load the program. If your drive is fully loaded, remove something. Also make sure the drive is running properly with no headaches.
What is Google Earth? It's a free download for starters. Click the red download link if you don't have it.
Google Earth is a virtual globe, map and geographical information program that was originally called EarthViewer 3D, and was created by Keyhole, Inc, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) funded company acquired by Google in 2004 (see In-Q-Tel). It maps the Earth by the superimposition of images obtained from satellite imagery, aerial photography and GIS 3D globe. It was available under three different licenses, two currently: Google Earth, a free version with limited function; Google Earth Plus (discontinued), which included additional features; and Google Earth Pro ($399 per year), which is intended for commercial use.
The product, re-released as Google Earth in 2005, is currently available for use on personal computers running Windows 2000 and above, Mac OS X 10.3.9 and above, Linux kernel: 2.6 or later (released on June 12, 2006), and FreeBSD. Google Earth is also available as a browser plugin which was released on May 28, 2008. It was also made available for mobile viewers on the iPhone OS on October 28, 2008, as a free download from the App Store, and is available to Android users as a free app on the Android Market. In addition to releasing an updated Keyhole based client, Google also added the imagery from the Earth database to their web-based mapping software, Google Maps. The release of Google Earth in June 2005 to the public caused a more than tenfold increase in media coverage on virtual globes between 2004 and 2005, driving public interest in geospatial technologies and applications.
Let's Get Started. (I suggest you printout this page before you begin, and READ the instructions all the way through. Reading is a good thang!)
1. If you haven't downloaded Google Earth yet, click on the download link above and download and install the program.
2. Launch "Google Earth" by double-clicking the Google Earth icon on your desktop. (Blue and white stripe ball)
3. Read the Tip Window information if you like and then uncheck "Show tips at start up", and click Close. Now you should see the navigation bar on the left and the earth in the window to the right. You might want to Maximze and fill your screen by clicking on the Maximize icon located in the upper right corner of your window.
4. To start off flying from your street address, click the "Fly to" box and enter your street address. (ex: 50 West Perkal Street, Bay Shore, NY 11706) Be sure to include your zip code.
5. Click the magnify glass to the right to search for your address. Google Earth will now take you to your home. You should now see a rectangle enclosing your home with the street address label to the right, looking down from the satelite. If you have never used Google Earth before, to the upper right side of your window you will see controls that will allow you to look around, move around, and zoom in or out. If these controls are not visible, just move your mouse toward this side of the window and they will appear.
6. To enter the Flight Simulator, you will now go up to the "Tools" menu at the top of the screen, pull it down and choose "Enter Flight Simulator" or you can simply hold down the Control Key and the Alt Key and then hit the A key (ex: Ctrl+Alt+A). Learn your keyboard commands, it's faster.
Note: The Flight Simulator dialog now appears and we are ready to make some flying choices.
7. The first section of this dialog allows you to select an aircraft. By default the F-16 is chosen. I suggest strongly if you have absolutely no experience flying, select the SR22 (Note: selecting the SR22 is a slower airplane giving you more time to see things and try and control the airplane. The F-16 moves much faster, therefore the mouse or keyboard operation can be very challenging. A joystick connected to your system would be preferrable. )
8. Now it's time to select your start location. Select Current View if it is not already selected which will allow you to start flying from your address. (Note: You can also select airport and pull down the drop down box and choose from the airports provided. JFK is there for you New York folks.)
9. If you have a joystick connected make sure to select Joystick Enabled. No doubts, having a joystick will make this experience more enjoyable and a whole lot easier. (Note: If a joystick is not present then you will have to use either the keyboard commands, or the mouse. The mouse is you next best choice. To enabled the mouse, once you start flying, click the mouse button once to activate mouse control. (Note: when using the mouse the arrow pointer will change to a cross hair +). To climb, move your mouse back, to decend, move your mouse forward, to bank right, move your mouse right, to bank left, move your mouse left. (Mouse Tip: to control flight smoother and quicker, use a brushing movement with the mouse. Just like sweeping with a broom, you push the broom on the surface, then pick it up, then place it down, and and push again. Use this concept with your mouse.) Press your G key immediately to bring up your gear. Press left bracket key two times ([) to bring up the flaps. If these things are not done, it's a good chance you'll crash.
Note: If you resume flight, it's much easier to stay in the air the second time. The first time can be challenging for some.
10. At this time it might be helpful to have a printed copy of the keyboard controls and full instructions at your side. Click the "Help" button and printout the keyboard shortcuts. Click print this guide. The guide will appear again. Then print from the File Menu. When finished printing close the browser with the button "Back to Google Earth" located in the upper left side of the window.
11. To get back to the Flight Simulator, pull down the Tools Menu and choose "Enter Flight Simulator", or just used the keyboard command (Ctrl+Alt+A).
12. Check to make sure everything is set the way you want it and then hit "Start Flight". Regardless of what method you choose to fly (joystick, mouse, or keyboard), once you begin flying, bring up the landing gear by pressing the "G" key, and then bring up the flaps by pressing the left bracket key two times ( [ ) until your flaps are completely up. To adjust the throttle ( give you more speed or less speed), press the "Page Up Key" for more speed, and the "Page Down Key", for less speed. Don't go to slow or you will stall the airplane and it will CRASH.
Note: To Pause the simulator, press the space bar. Press the space bar to begin again.
If you are up to trying to land your plane, press the G key to lower your landing gear, press the ] (right bracket key) several times to lower your flaps (40% is fine), lower your speed with the Page Down Key, and put your head between your legs and pray. "Just Kidding". Have Fun!!!!!