Google EarthAwesome news from Alexandre and Evgeniy at Wikimapia: They have created a Google Earth layer that will allow you to see Wikimapia places! Wikimapia now has more than 1.5 million places marked with new ones being added all the time! This new merging will allow you to see them all! [UPDATE: Sorry if things are slow around here, I am poor so don’t have expensive servers and the Digg Effect has caused some slowdown and outages (I don’t think the problem is with bandwidth, I think it is with the amount of SQL queries). Please be patient!]

As I noted in my Wikimapia vs. Google Earth post, one of the cool things about Google Earth is its very flixible navigation. Like Google Maps, Wikimapia is limiated to N/S, E/W movement (with North always at the top) and a perpendicular orientation. Google Earth allows users to have free range of motion (not to mention easy zooming). Now, by loading Wikimapia’s Google Earth kml (Keyhole Markup Language) file you can add the Wikimapia information layer to Google Earth!

Now Wikimapia can take advantage of Google Earth’s added functionality. Aside from the flexible navigation, user added layers (often with higher resolution images or other interesting information) can be used alongside Wikimapia.

Ready to try it out? Good! (Images are clickable for larger versions.) First, you need to open your Google Earth program (unless of course you need to download it first). Second, you need to open the Wikimapia kml file for Google Earth. Clicking the above link will give you the option of saving the file (which you could then save to your desktop and open it from there) or will let you “Open with Google Earth”.

Google Earth

Here you can see the Google Earth application with the Wikimapia layer listed in “Temporary Places”. In order for this to stay in the application, it needs to be added to “My Places”.

Adding Wikimapia in Google Earth

In the side bar, right click “Wikimapia” and in the menu select “Save to My Places”. This will allow you to access the Wikimapia layer at any time. It can be turned on and off by checking or un-checking the box next to Wikimapia in your My Places folder. Now we need to try it out!

Wikimapia in Google Earth

This is the Itaipu Dam located at the border between Brazil and Paraguay on the Paraná River. With the Wikimapia layer turned on we can see the characteristic Wikimapia boxes (seen easier in the larger image) with the addition of a Google Earth icon along side the Wikimapia place name in the upper left of the box.

Wikimapia in Google Earth

A closer view. Clicking the Google Earth icon will pull up this box for the Wikimapia place. Clicking the link that says “View or modify place description at Wikimapia!” will open Wikimapia up to the appropriate location with that place’s information box opened (the location will either open in Google Earth’s internal browser or in your own external default brower depending on your settings in Google Earth).

Wikimapia in Google Earth

And here is the location opened up at Wikimapia in the new browser window.

Wikimapia in Google Earth

And again with the information box closed (and zoomed in).

Wikimapia in Google Earth

This shows the combination of the Wikimapia layer with Google Earth’s flexible navigation: we aren’t limited to North being up and viewing it from directly above.

Visit the Itaipu dam at Wikimapia.

Alexandre and Evgeniy have done a wonderful job with Wikimapia and this is just another cool feature that will allow you to go back and forth between Google Earth and Wikimapia. As with other features, this is brand new and may still have a few bugs. If you have suggestions or see any problems, be sure to let them know or view their FAQ (in the “Wikimapia” menu).

Your task now is to go find a cool Wikimapia place in Google Earth!

Other blogs talking about this:
Google Earth Blog: Wikimapia Does Google Earth!
Ogle Earth: Quality Content Update: Wikimapia as a network link; new global poverty maps
Wikimapia Blog (official): Wikimapia Now Feeds Google Earth
Micro Persuasion: Wikis Come to Google Earth