Wednesday, October 3, 2018

SearchResearch Challenge (10/3/18): How can I make a movie of my flight?

Last week I flew from San Francisco to Austin, Texas... 

... as usual, I had a window seat to I could see the landscape slowly rolling past the window.  In my opinion, this is one of the most wonderful things you can do: look out the window at the glorious southwestern geology.  

At some point in my flight, I saw many extraordinary things... forests, craters, mountains, brilliant white salt flats, and center-pivot irrigation systems that defined small communities in the middle of a vast loneliness.  

What I really wanted to do was to make a film that would capture all of the beauty of the country we were passing over.  Alas, I didn't think to tape my video camera to the outside of the plane.. and have it run for the 4 hour flight.  

Here's the path we took from San Francisco, over Phoenix, over El Paso and over West Texas into Austin.  

After I landed, I thought that there MUST be a way to do this with a bit of online research.  After all, we know that there's a lot of aerial imagery out there.  So... this led to this week's Challenge:  

1.  Can you make a movie that recreates the experience of flying from San Francisco to Austin?  Obviously, you don't want it to take all 4 hours.  How about a 2 minute version of the flight that just shows off the really interesting parts between Arizona and West Texas? 

This isn't an ordinary SearchResearch Challenge--this is really a Challenge about (A) How to find such a tool?  and (B) How to use the tool to create a video that follows the flight path.   (You'll get to choose your own tool, along with your altitude and camera angles.)  

Be sure to tell us how you did it (and what searches you had to do).  AND, if you would, please post your video to YouTube so we can all see what you made.  

Of course, once you've made the video, be sure to tell us what interesting and wonderful things you found along the way.  

Here's one of the things I found--a huge patch of white sand (naturally enough, this is White Sands National Monument).  It's a big white sandy beach in the southern part of New Mexico.  It's really obvious--once you see it and learn where it is, you won't be able to NOT spot it on any aerial photo of New Mexico.  

After this, you'll literally see the world differently. 

Search on!  


  1. video flying from san francisco to san antonio

  2. Clever! But what I was hoping for was a video made from high-res images looking down... not just out of the window. (But you get points for a great solution!)

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  4. Good Morning.

    Very interesting, Challenge. I don't know how to do it, so I need to think and then search. I am really happy that this can be done. I am sure when we have the answer and our posts/videos, we will enjoy a lot.

    1. 1. Can you make a movie that recreates the experience of flying from San Francisco to Austin? Obviously, you don't want it to take all 4 hours. How about a 2 minute version of the flight that just shows off the really interesting parts between Arizona and West Texas?

      [high resolution images from flight trips]

      Interesting links and a new word: Orthoimagery. So I searched with define

      In Pexels, found imagery. Searched there[Arizona to West Texas] And then started thinking, are some of those images what Dr. Russell wants? How to know if some images that we found on our searches are not part of the trip but included. That is, I don’t know the interesting parts of the trip. Therefore, need to be cautious about not picking photos wrongly tagged in my findings.

      [aerial photos from airplane trips]

      [aerial photos from airplane trips database]

      Identifying Aerial Photography Flights

      Then I thought about Dr. Russell’s comment. First, we need to find the tool. And, with that I remembered a Google Mooc, that teached to make our maps. In it, Google Flight Simulator was mentioned. I will try that and also search [Flight simulators]

      I think my first queries are wrong because searching for images one by one is not effective plus the inconvenient already mentioned there.

    2. Tried the flight simulator options and failed. Looks nice and it is very interesting both Google Earth and Geo FS. However, not helpful online versions to solve the Challenge. Then decided to try on tablet because on Chrome OS didn't have the options on Google Earth. That didn't work either.

      The option is Google Earth Pro and looks impressive. Sadly, I can't have it on my laptop.

      I share a link to create the movie, Dr. Russell wants. At least, is a solution, maybe there is more than one way.

      With [create a movie of a flight]

      Create an HD Fly-Through Video Tour in Google Earth Pro You need to create a tour and then fly.

  5. "…that defined small communities in the middle of a vast loneliness."
    perhaps you meant "of a vast longing-ness."?? my fav ;-0
    you must have had a cloudless… and no wing blockage…
    like Sanford Arbogast…
    only the right view… & 44 seconds
    did you see these?
    it's all about ATC/routing
    secondary SERP
    the moon helps ;P

  6. …not a video, but no clouds, overhead bins or peanuts to deal with… & you can detour & zoom in & out to your hearts content… and has prices…
    White Sands

    oh, so that's where that is… pretty good resolution!

  7. Its easy to find How-to instructions for doing this in Earth. I have my narrative ready. But I cannot make the transition from the various instructions into something that works in GooEarth. In fact, for me, so far, I get no results except a slight jiggling, of the image. A geologist pal asked me for this very thing a couple of years ago for a route that he often flies. Couldn't make it work then either. It seems so simple.
    Big Thanksgiving weekend here so not much time to wrestle with this. Cheers jon tu

    1. Happy Thanksgiving Jon for you and everyone in your family and friends.

      Also want to share this article with SRS Challenge DNA The mysterious origins of Finland’s true name I wonder why they don't ask for name change to ‘SUOMI.‘ btw, Lapland is so gorgeous. I hope one day being able to visit.

  8. It's not something I can actually do, but might these websites give ideas of how to create a flight-path movie using Google Earth images?

    a) Animating in Google Earth --

    b) Record & play tours:

    These site were among those found with this search: [animating images from Google Earth]