One of my favorite computer programs is Google Earth, the free software from the wizards at Google that lets you explore the planet from your easy chair. It has always been a fantastic program for travelers and outdoor adventurers alike, and Google keeps updating it, adding new features, and giving us more reason to love the it.
Yesterday, Google Earth 5.2 became available, and brought some excellent new features for hikers, runners, and cyclists alike. The software has been able to connect to your GPS for some time, but now it gives you more enhanced ways to look at the track from your latest hike, run, or ride, showing you a graph, directly in the program, of the profile of your last workout. It also shows your maximum slope, total elevation, average speed, and so on.
Better yet, you can now follow your track, as it's displayed in Google Earth, simply by pushing the time animation button. Those animations can be saved and shared as tours as well, so if you're hiking through Yosemite for instance, you can now send your personal hike to friends and family so they can follow along with the adventure. Pretty cool stuff.
They've also added a new web browser built directly into the software that allows you to view websites and other information without ever leaving Google Earth. That's pretty handy when you're searching for information about a business for instance or some other local point of interest.
Check out the new tracking feature in the video below, then download the latest version by clicking here. Oh! And I almost forgot, Google Earth is now available for the iPad too. You can grab it here.