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Old 05.11.2006, 14:42
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Swiss sightseeing via satellite

There are many beautiful places in Switzerland; have you ever wondered what some of them look like from high above? The most wide-ranging satellite imagery online is at Google maps. Unfortunately, Google does not have a huge amount of Switzerland covered with high resolution images. Currently, the areas with high-res are around: Geneva, Zurich, Biel/Bienne, Lugano, an area west of Lausanne, and an area east of Fribourg, and a bit near Andermatt. But that list grows every couple of months as Google extends its coverage.

However, there is a great alternative for Switzerland, because map.search.ch has the whole country covered in high-resolution imagery: just type in the address or manually zoom in to anywhere you want.

Instead of viewing the images in your web browser, you may also download the Google Earth program. You can use that to fly around the images and view them from any angle, including flying up Alpine valleys (the interface control takes some getting used to - try not to fly into the mountains ).

I'd therefore like to make this thread similar to websites like Googlesightseeing.com, but devoted to Swiss sights. Please suggest places that are interesting to look at from up high. Please include the link to the satellite image and a bit of info explaining what we are looking at, a Wikipedia link on the subject is also useful. Obviously, you can use either Google maps, map.search.ch, or any other satellite image website you know of.

To provide a link to a specific location in Google maps, once you have found the place, click on the "Link to this page" button at the top-right corner of the map, then copy the address from the address bar of your browser and put it as a link in your post. Using map.search.ch, you need to enter the address of the place you are looking at into the "search address" box, then hit the "search" button, then copy the address from your browser's address bar. Unfortunately, this doesn't work so well if you are not looking at a built-up area, but there is an example of a way around this below.

I'll kick the thread off with some of my favorite sights, please add yours. I've taken a page out of Googlesightseeing's book and included thumbnails of the satellite images that you can click on to view them in more detail, but if you want to add your own post then this is not absolutely necessary.

The Wikipedia reference-linkAletschglacier is the largest glacier in the Alps, running from the Jungfrau region down towards Brig, in Valais/Wallis. It can be seen well in Google maps (link to map) even without high resolution.



GoogleSightseeing has posted one sight within Switzerland, Geneva's Jet d'Eau (GoogleSightseeing link), which is the world's largest fountain.



Although most mountains don't look like as special when viewed from above as when viewed from the ground, the Wikipedia reference-linkMatterhorn casts a really impressive shadow over the valley in map.search.ch. Since the Matterhorn doesn't have an address, to find it on that site, you should go to Z'Mutt, then click 'OK', then zoom out once by right-clicking on the map and it will be on the left-hand edge of the image.

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Last edited by ChrisW; 07.12.2007 at 09:20.
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Old 26.11.2006, 16:54
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

Its a shame that no-one has responded to this thread yet, although I noticed that it has had a reasonable number of views, so I thought that I would add a couple more sights, particularly since there now seems to be even more areas in high-res.

First is the Rhine Falls (map link). They are located just outside of the city of Schaffhausen (about 40km north of Zurich). At 150 m wide and 23 m high, they are the highest falls in Europe. Here is the homepage of the Falls.



Second is the entrance to the central access shaft to the Gotthard base tunnel. The Wikipedia reference-linkGotthard_Base_Tunnel will be a 57km long train tunnel and is expected to be completed in 2015 (or probably later). Because of the length of the tunnel, they decided to not only drill in from both ends, but to also bore down into the mountain and start working from the middle! The access to the central shaft near Sedrun, Graubunden, is what is in high resolution in this satellite image.



All of the rock that they are extracting needs to be put somewhere, so they are literally filling up a valley with the stuff; here is the satellite image of the now partly-filled valley and here is a view that gives you a better perspective of the filling process.

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Last edited by ChrisW; 07.12.2007 at 09:21. Reason: typos
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Old 27.11.2006, 10:57
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

I agree, it's a pity that nobody has responded yet, since it's a great idea. Although I don't have any links to point to right now (I'm in the office... ) I would say that one of the best views I've had so far is from the middle cable station Gaffia, in Pizol. From the hillside you have an outstanding view of Chur, Sargans all the way to the Liechtenstein valley. Will look for some images as I do remember (agreeing with your statement) that Google Earth misses high-quality images of Eastern Switzerland.
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Old 30.11.2006, 07:51
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

Swiss flag on Googlesightseeing.com!

I've spotted what is possibly the largest Swiss flag in the world painted on the roof of a building just west of Morges! I submitted this to Googlesightseeing.com, as I have done for many sights I've found during the past year or so, and for the first time they have actually posted one of my submissions on their site! You can read the Googlesightseeing posting here .



BTW, the painted building belongs to Friderici transport, and it doesn't look nearly so interesting from ground level.



So, I encourage you to get looking for those interesting Swiss satellite images because it might lead to international fame for you as it has now done for me . (There are currently ZERO places in the german-speaking part of Switzerland on Googlesightseeing, but now three in the french-speaking part: index for Switzerland)

PS. In addition to the places that I listed in the first post in this thread, there is now also high-res imagery at Google Maps for most of the Switzerland-Germany border because nearly all of Germany is in high-res, and the area included spills over into Switzerland for a few kms.


Post update: Someone over at Googlesightseeing made a comment that there is a far larger Swiss flag, over 500 metres wide! It is painted on a cliff face in an area to the east of Luzern, where there is unfortunately no high-res imagery at the moment. However, it is the red area in the centre of this thumbnail and here is the Google maps link.



Update 2: When Google added high-res images for the whole of Switzerland (see posts below), they used images that were older than the low-res versions that the thumbnail above is based on. Therefore, the flag on the cliff face is now not visible at all because it had not been painted when the images were taken.
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Last edited by ChrisW; 07.12.2007 at 09:13. Reason: see post
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Old 06.12.2006, 08:52
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

Time for more sights! Today, we're visiting the nation's capital: Wikipedia reference-linkBern.

Our first stop is the Swiss government building or federal palace (Bundeshaus / Palais fédéral / Palazzo federale). The building is just over 100 years old and consists of the central "Hall of the Dome", and a chamber off to each side: the National Council and the Council of States.



Here are Wikipedia links on the building: Wikipedia reference-linkCuria_Confoederationis_Helveticae, where you can find some photos of the interior and exterior, and on the Swiss government in general.

The mediaeval part of Bern is certainly the nicest part, and has even been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.



The story is that Bern got its name because the Duke who founded the city in 1191 killed a bear on his first hunting trip in the region. The city honors this memory by keeping some bears in a pit, but when I saw them, the bears didn't appear to be too keen to be honored in this way. Here is the link to the satellite image of the bear pits, but it is difficult to tell what is a bear and what is a large tree stump.

Bern is reasonably small as far as international capitals go (the 4th largest city in Switzerland, with about 140,000 people, according to Wikipedia), and so the farmlands are not too far away. Just across the Fribourg cantonal border are these cool looking fields, or is it a giant barcode that tells us how much Switzerland is worth?

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Last edited by ChrisW; 07.12.2007 at 09:23.
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Old 06.12.2006, 08:57
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

Thanks Chris, I think what you are posting is really great. I found my old apartement building in Bern! There has been talk of moving the bears from the pit as far back as when I lived in Bern which is almost 10 years ago, looks like they are still there though .
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Old 23.01.2007, 08:30
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

Zurich Transport

Time for another installment in this fun thread. Even if you don't live in Zurich, you probably know the airport and train station well, so today we're going to take a quick look at those.

First up is the airport, or Flughafen Wikipedia reference-linkZurich_Airport. The thumbnail is of the midfield terminal that was opened in 2003.



There are three runways at the airport, ranging between 2.5km and 3.7km in length. At the end of the main runway is a plane waiting for clearance to take off:



According to the airport's website: "Zurich Airport is a destination in its own right: see aeroplanes from all over the world take off and land, watch all the special-purpose vehicles go about their business... a fascinating airport world awaits you." Apparently, you can even book a behind-the-scenes tour (see their website).

Underneath the airport is a train station, from where you can catch a train to the Zurich mainstation, Better known as Zürich Hauptbahnhof (map link). According to Wikipedia, the station handles up to 3,000 trains per day and 360,000 passengers. It is a mulit-level station, with 20 platforms at ground level (numbered 3-18 and 51-54). Most of the regional trains use the underground platforms, two one floor below (numbered 1 & 2) and four a further floor below (21-24).

Moving all of those trains to all of those platforms takes a serious amount of track and organization. Just outside the station is where the trains get channelled onto the correct track and get sent off to the right corner of the country. It's not quite as crazy as are some road spaghetti junctions, but this rail spaghetti junction doesn't look far off.

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Old 01.03.2007, 09:42
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

Quote:
Unfortunately, Google does not have a huge amount of Switzerland covered with high resolution images.
I think that changed in the last day or so. Nearly all of Switzerland is now in much higher detail than before, although perhaps not nearly as high as the highest detail I have seen. At least now I can find my house..
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Old 01.03.2007, 09:49
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

Quote:
I think that changed in the last day or so. Nearly all of Switzerland is now in much higher detail than before, although perhaps not nearly as high as the highest detail I have seen. At least now I can find my house..
Yep. the Swiss maps are much clearer - but they are not up to date. Our house, completed in 1997, is just an empty plot...
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Old 01.03.2007, 10:03
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

yep, the maps are definitely old. but better a clear old map than a blurry new one.

I am wondering if this has anything to do with the new Google European HQ in Zürich?
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Old 01.03.2007, 20:16
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

We acquired Endoxon, the makers of map.search.ch - it's now a part of Google. Merging their imagery database with ours was the first step, there will be others. So the same pictures are now on both map.search.ch and Google Maps/Earth.

You'll also find that geocoding now works properly in Switzerland as well. For instance try searching for "Freigutstrasse 12, Zurich" on Google Maps to see the exact location. In the past this didn't work properly.

One other thing to play with. Google Earth now has hi resolution terrain data for Switzerland. Try searching for "Matterhorn, Switzerland" in the viewer program to see a pretty 3D recreation of the Alps.
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Old 06.03.2007, 14:30
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

It's great that Switzerland is now completely high-res! I highly recommend flying around and over the Alps using Google Earth - absolutely incredible. Googlesightseeing.com also recently announced this, and included this awesome shot of the Matterhorn:


Those clever folks at Google even appear to have found a better way to correct some of the distortion that occurs from turning a 2D flat image into a 3D surface in Google Earth - it looks so real. They've also stopped adding a haze effect to the images. Previously, when they added haze, I could sometimes see further in real life on a very clear day than Google Earth would allow me to see - that problem now appears to have been fixed too. Once again, kudos to Google.

I did notice that all of the images are from the same source as map.search.ch uses because all of these images have a slightly different coloring than the images that normally appear in Google maps. Because the high-res images are older than the previous low-res versions, the 500-metre wide Swiss flag near Luzern that I included in a previous post (see above) is no longer visible. But I'm with litespeed on this one, high-res old images are way better than low-res new ones.

If you find cool stuff in the new images (there must be loads of things to see now) then please post about them here.
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Old 17.05.2007, 00:16
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

I do not like Matterhorn or Jungfraujoch, I like Swiss babes and Einstein.
How can I co ordinate the two worlds?
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Old 17.05.2007, 03:00
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

Easy dear William, grow your own
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Old 10.06.2007, 17:18
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

fantastic satellite maps!!!!!
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Old 12.06.2007, 19:41
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

For any keen hikers out there, here's a Google Earth kmz file of the Alpine Trail, from Sargans to Montreux.

En guete!

alpine_pass_route.zip
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Old 18.07.2007, 13:04
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

Noticed the other day that some new 3D buildings have started popping up in switzerland, there are a few around Zurich and Bern as I remember.

You may need to update your Google Earth to see them.
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Old 18.07.2007, 13:52
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

Quote:
View Post
Thanks Chris, I think what you are posting is really great. I found my old apartement building in Bern! There has been talk of moving the bears from the pit as far back as when I lived in Bern which is almost 10 years ago, looks like they are still there though .
at least they have now drawn plans up & have found a site in Dälholzli next to the zoo : http://www.baerenpark-bern.ch/index.php
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Old 04.09.2007, 16:06
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

The latest version of Google earth was released a couple of weeks ago, you can now switch to a flight sim mode and view the earth from a plane of your choise (F16 or an SR22)

windows CTRL + ALT + A

Mac Command+Option+A

Nick
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Old 04.09.2007, 21:39
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Re: Swiss sightseeing via satellite

Thanks Nickj. I downloaded this version about a week ago and didn't know about this.
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