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Installing Google-Earth on Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

Google Earth is a virtual globe, map and geographic information program that was originally called EarthViewer 3D, and was created by Keyhole, Inc, a company acquired by Google in 2004.

It maps the Earth by the superimposition of images obtained from satellite imagery, aerial photography and GIS 3D globe. It is available under three different licenses: Google Earth, a free version with limited functionality; Google Earth Plus (discontinued), which included additional features; and Google Earth Pro ($400 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: 2.4 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 on the iPhone OS on October 27, 2008, as a free download from the App Store. In addition to releasing an updated Keyhole based client, Google also added the imagery from the Earth database to their web based mapping software. The release of Google Earth in June 2005 to the public caused a more than tenfold increase in media coverage on virtual globes between 2005 and 2006,driving public interest in geospatial technologies and applications.

Most land areas are covered in satellite imagery with a resolution of about 15 m per pixel. This base imagery is 30m multispectral Landsat which is pansharpened with the 15m [panchromatic] Landsat imagery. However, Google is actively replacing this base imagery with 2.5m SPOTImage imagery and several higher resolution datasets mentioned below. Some population centers are also covered by aircraft imagery (orthophotography) with several pixels per meter. Oceans are covered at a much lower resolution, as are a number of islands; notably, the Isles of Scilly off southwest England, were at a resolution of about 500 m or less, however this has now been addressed.

Google has resolved many inaccuracies in the vector mapping since the original public release of the software, without requiring an update to the program itself. An example of this was the absence from Google Earth's map boundaries of the Nunavut territory in Canada, a territory that had been created on April 1, 1999; this mistake was corrected by one of the data updates in early 2006. Recent updates have also increased the coverage of detailed aerial photography, particularly in certain areas of western and central Europe.

The images are not all taken at the same time, but are generally current to within three years. However with the release of Google Earth 5.0, it has historical images dating back to the 1940s in some spots. Image sets are sometimes not correctly stitched together. Updates to the photographic database can occasionally be noticed when drastic changes take place in the appearance of the landscape, for example Google Earth's incomplete updates of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, or when placemarks appear to shift unexpectedly across the Earth's surface. Though the placemarks have not in fact moved, the imagery is composed and stitched differently. Such an update to London's photography in early 2006 created shifts of 15–20 metres in many areas, noticeable because the resolution is so high.

googleearth-1.png

googleearth-2.png

Installation.

There are two options to install Google Earth in Ubuntu with a package.

Medibuntu repository.

Google Earth is available packaged in the Medibuntu repository, however it might not have the latest version available.

{i} As of 14 Feb 09, Medibuntu's jaunty repository contains the latest version available from Google's website, 5.0.11337.1968. The latest available version for intrepid is 4.3.7284.3916.

Make sure you have the Medibuntu repository added to your package sources, then install the googleearth package by clicking here or using your favorite package manager (Synaptic in Gnome or Adept in KDE, for example) or type the following in a terminal:

 sudo apt-get install googleearth

make-googleearth-package

Google Earth is also available from googleearth-package. This package installs a script called make-googleearth-package, which downloads the Google Earth installer from Google and creates a package for you. You can then install and remove the created package at will. You can find the googleearth-package in the multiverse repository and, after installing the package, instructions on how to use the script can be found by running

 make-googleearth-package --help

or

 man make-googleearth-package

To have this package download the latest binary and create a .deb package on a 64-bit Ubuntu install (make sure you have the ia32-libs package installed), simply type:

 make-googleearth-package --force

Be aware that a previously downloaded copy of the binary will not be overwritten, so manually delete any GoogleEarthLinux.bin file before running this command. Once you install the created .deb package Google Earth should be available in your menus.

Alternative Installation.

  1. Download Google Earth from the Google Earth website.
    {i} The linux version will be automatically chosen when downloading from Ubuntu.

  2. Open a terminal from Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal.

  3. cd into the directory where you saved Google Earth. For example, if you saved it to the Desktop type:

     cd ~/Desktop
  4. Make it executable by typing:

     chmod +x GoogleEarthLinux.bin
  5. Run the installer by typing:

     sudo ./GoogleEarthLinux.bin
  6. Leave the default options and click Begin Install.

    googleearth-setup-1.png
  7. When installation is complete, press Quit.
    /!\ Do not press Start as this will run it as root which is never a good idea.

    googleearth-setup-2.png

{i} A file named Google-googleearth.desktop will be installed on the Desktop. This file is safe to delete.

Hints and Tips

Run Google Earth by selecting Applications -> Internet -> Google Earth.

Upgrading

Upgrading to a new version is the same as in the Installation section, except that you will not be asked where to install.

Uninstallation

Assuming you installed Google Earth according to the Installation section above, Google Earth can be uninstalled by pasting the following command in a terminal:

  • {i} This command is all on one line. Copy it and paste it in your terminal.

sudo rm -rf /opt/google-earth && sudo rm /usr/share/mime/application/vnd.google-earth.* /usr/share/mimelnk/application/vnd.google-earth.* /usr/share/applnk/Google-googleearth.desktop /usr/share/mime/packages/googleearth-mimetypes.xml /usr/share/gnome/apps/Google-googleearth.desktop /usr/share/applications/Google-googleearth.desktop /usr/local/bin/googleearth

You may also wish to remove your user preferences folder, although this is not necessary if you intend to reinstall later. This directory contains Google Earth settings and the cache:

rm -rf ~/.googleearth


Troubleshooting

Google Earth for Linux is still in beta. As such, many problems that you may encounter can be attributed to this.

Low performance with Google Earth 4.3

Users have been reporting major performance regressions after upgrading from 4.2. This is due to new atmospheric rendering effects in GE 4.3. Disable these effects if you experience this behavior. Menu>View>Atmosphere. Google Earth Help group query

Google Earth and Compiz

As with all OpenGL apps, Google Earth has issues running with Compiz. To resolve this issue, either run Google Earth in a normal GNOME session, or see this thread: http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=176636

Google Earth and ATI

Some people using the ATI fglrx driver have experienced a problem where Google Earth freezes at the splash screen and never starts up. See this post for a solution: http://n01getsout.com/blog/2006/11/21/google-earth-for-linux-freezing-with-ati

Google Earth and 3D acceleration

Ensure that you video driver has 3D acceleration enabled. Display Hardware Drivers by selecting System -> Administration -> Hardware Drivers Select the Enable checkbox next to your graphics card. This may require a system restart.

Google Earth on Ubuntu x64

If you get a "error 29", you may miss "lib32nss-mdns". Install this library like this:

sudo aptitude install lib32nss-mdns

You may also install other 32bit libraries. Note that google does not provide a 64 bit version of Google Earth. Thus installation on x64 system will take some extra efforts.

GoogleEarth 5.0.11337.1968 (beta) on Ubuntu x32

If there is a serious performance issue due to graphics overloading, do the following:

1 - System -> Preferences -> Appearance: Visual Effects tab: set to None

2 - Start GE, try to get to View: remove Atmosphere, Water Surface

3 - By now some overload reduction should allow to change other options, like

  • Tools -> Options: 3D View tab: check Graphics_Mode checkbox to Use Safe mode

Now you should be able to enjoy Google Earth and the Flight simulator.

GoogleEarth 5.0.11337.1968 (beta) on Ubuntu x64

/usr/lib32/i686/cmov/libcrypto.so.0.9.8 issue

mv ~/google-earth/libcrypto.so.0.9.8 ~/google-earth/libcrypto.so.0.9.8.bak<br />ln -s /usr/lib/libcrypto.so.0.9.8 ~/google-earth/libcrypto.so.0.9.8

Accidentally left the 'start automatically after install' checked

If the installer was started with sudo, googleearth will be started as root, but still using the home folder of the normal user (who started sudo). Thus Google Earth will place its configuration files into the user's home folders, but with root as the owner. The normal user cannot use Google Earth, because the settings cannot be saved. The display will not contain a globe, but only a black space and some settings will be grayed out. To fix this problem, delete the Google Earth configuration directory:

sudo rm -Rf .config/Google .googleearth<br /><br /><b>Links.</b><br />

source: Ubuntu Help & Wikipedia


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About Hugo Repetto

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that offers an operating system predominantly focused on desktop computers but also provides support for servers. Based on Debian GNU / Linux, Ubuntu focuses on ease of use, freedom in usage restriction, regular releases (every 6 months) and ease of installation.
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