A Hawkes eye view in Google Earth

Friday, July 20, 2012 at 1:00 AM


While some children spend their youth fascinated by model cars and legos, I was always more interested in aerial photography. For years I amassed a collection of books capturing this unique perspective of the world, and it was obvious from looking through my personal library that British aerial photographer Jason Hawkes was a huge influence and hero of mine. Last year, Jason came to the Google office in London to give a Tech Talk, and I was finally able to meet him in person. He mentioned being a big fan of Google Earth, using it to put together virtual flight plans for his trips.

After Jason’s visit, we decided to collaborate on an effort to bring geographic context to his work with Google Earth. By creating a KML file showcasing some of his most beautiful images, we were able to truly capture a “Hawkes eye view” of locations all around the world.

The English coastline, near Sittingbourne, Kent captured by Jason Hawkes

While Jason hails from the United Kingdom, his work spans the globe. Simply open the KML in Google Earth, and you’ll feel like you’ve taken a seat right next to him as he flies over the United Kingdom, New York, Las Vegas, Hong Kong, Budapest and Minorca.

The Great Sphinx at Luxor in Las Vegas, Nevada

Given the excitement around London this summer, we included a variety of photographs that bring the changing face of the city to life, from the addition of The Shard skyscraper to the massive redevelopment taking place in Stratford for the Olympic games.

The Shard and River Thames in London, England

The Olympic Park in London, England

When viewing the KML in Google Earth, make sure the “3D Buildings” layer is enabled in the left hand panel to enjoy a 3D experience of famous buildings. Happy flying!