Erratic search quality on Google Earth

 by Martin Belam, 21 September 2006

Last week I was saying unkind things about the Yahoo! Maps coverage within their Flickr geotagging application. I try and be even-handed wherever possible, so I thought this week I'd gripe about Google Earth.

I find the application really easy to use, and the quality of the images of the places where I've looked at has generally been excellent, but I find the search facility painful - particularly when I'm looking for places in Crete.

The search algorithm is very unforgiving in the spelling stakes, and so to locate anywhere on Crete I generally have to labouriously spin the globe around myself, or strike it lucky as to how the Google Earth database has transliterated the Greek version of the placename.

In the case of my adopted hometown I've learnt that what everybody else refers to as Chania, Hania or Χανια is rendered by Google Earth as either Khánia or the compound "Chania Kriti".

Google Earth view of Chania

This is nowhere near as annoying though as when the application insists it can't find a place - even when you are staring right at it.

Google Earth can't find Heraklion

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