Archive for the ‘Google Earth’ Category

Resurrecting the Google KML Embed and Tour Gadgets

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Long time since posted here, but just wanted somewhere to record links to these tools:

Fake KML Embed Gadget


Fake KML Tour Gadget

They are replicas of the KML Gadgets that Google used to offer (they disappeared with the demise of iGoogle). Was able to save the code and get them working again, if you already have embeds on your site, should just be able to make a small change to the code to get the gadgets working again – more detailed instructions the above pages.

Preservation of the Google Maps Directory

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Recently Google deprecated Mapplets, which are little applications that ran on Google Maps. They have also now removed the Google Maps Directory.

However its still possible to run mapplets by a dedicated page (well at least for as long as V2 of the Google Maps API exists) – but no listing of mapplets available within Google Maps.

But fear not, I captured a copy of the mapplet list, and created a small crawler to fetch the details from the mapplets, and present them in a little searchable application:

Replacement Mapplet Directory

Admittedly the quality of the applications in the directory where always kinda variable, but there is some real gems in there, so at least preserving a listing I think is worthwhile, so they can be accessed if needbe.

Historic OS Maps in Google Earth

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Thanks to the people at, who have taken the Historic 1940s OS Maps available at, I hearby present:

Historic OS Map layer for Google Earth.

This loads up a layer of Historic New Popular Edition (mainly) maps, onto the 3D Google Earth globe. This is made possible because the original maps are over 50 years old and hence the Crown Copyright has expired.

The WMS service only includes (Most of) England and Wales, no Scotland.

The scans themselves are (c) and licenced under this Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial Licence 2.5.

(Don’t forget to select the ‘OS Map’ layer, and drag the transparency slider!)

Google Earth should make the sea floor rendering optional?

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Way back when, I wrote a rather scathing review of the then new “sea floor” imagery. This takes the form of a rendering supposed to represent the ’3Dness’ of the sea floor, persumably to improve the feel when exploring under the water surface.

Indeed it would look off, to ‘fly’ under the sea, and then see surface imagry projected onto the both bottom.

Alas that comes at a high price, namely that this imagery is ‘allways on’, so you see it even when not exploring the oceans. This has the effect of obscuring valuable imagry in shallow water areas (where real features are visible in the imagry), with the low resolution rendering.

But also where the ‘switch’ happens between the aerial imagry and the subsurface rendering is somewhat arbitary, and results in a ugly join when viewed at close range. At a distance the colour differential between the shallow sea and the greenish land is greatly reduced (to my colour blind eyes at least), leaving the land boundaries very hard to discern.

So, if you agree, please see:

Petition: Google Earth should make the sea floor rendering optional

Extra note: Of course anothe benefit of bing a ‘optional’ layer, Google Earth could even be made to automatically turn the layer when fly below the water surface, but above the surface its off.

Sea Floor: [X] Off, [ ] On, [ ] Show when under the water serface

UK Onshore geology maps 1:50 000 scale in Google Earth

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

The BGS recently publised the Geology of Britain website, which makes available a Geological map of Great Britain online in an interactive Map Viewer. They make available a 1:625 000 scale layer for Google Earth, and a the 1:50 000 scale version via WMS only.

Unfortunatly the WMS doesnt play nicely in Google Earth for some reason, so here is a hand tuned Google Earth layer to display the 1:50 000 scale Geological Maps:


The Google Earth/Maps Terms of Service

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Slashgeo has been for the last few months running a poll on users acceptance of the Google Earth/Maps TOS. The poll has now been closed and the results published.

Pretty interesting, aside from the tidbit that most people don’t read the TOS, the number of people actively put off by them is quite high!

I think most of the ‘issue’ comes from the fact that the Universal Terms applies to users, use of both products. In part 11.1. it says “By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.

- which to my non-legal mind means Google can take a copy of any data you display in Google Earth or Google Maps – and do what they like with it. It’s irrevocable remember.

On the whole don’t have an issue with this for Google Maps – you pretty much understand you posting public data there. But for Google Earth – which is an application on your own computer – you expect data you display there to NOT be shared with Google and its partners.

Now I am not saying Google will invoke this right and take a copy of your data, its questionable if they would want to, as the data probably lacks context, and there is probably a large amount of it. But they could if the wanted to. And the fact they chosen not to revoke this right, suggests they wanting to leave their options open.

(The Google Maps API has a different TOS, which doesnt encompass the universal terms, so a developer doesnt have to give up a copy of their data unless they choose to)

via Slashgeo

Google Earth – sans GoogleUpdate!

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

I not sure how new this is, but something I only just noticed…

Google now (officially) offers to install Google Earth without the dreaded GoogleUpdate!

It’s only offered when clicking the small ‘advanced setup‘ link on the main Download Earth page. But I think that is ok, using the updater is probably a sensible default, most people will get along just fine with auto-updating. What I have long bemoaned is there was no official way to opt out for people needing or wishing to.

Here’s that link again just in case:

Advanced Google Setup

Thank You Google!

Geocube Geograph Clusters in Google Earth – part 2

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Now ready with the next version of the Geograph Google Earth Clusters layer mentioned yesterday.

Google Earth Layer Geograph Google Earth Clusters

It’s the same download link, if you already have a copy, just right click and select Refresh on the “Geograph Google Earth Clusters” feature.

This has a number of advancements:

  • Filterable – click the main title in the Places panel to open configuration options in the popup balloon. Includes options to filter by keyword or Geograph contributor. (Requires Google Earth version 5)
  • Cubes/Cloud – Geocubes offers two clustering options, can how choose between then on the same popup as above
  • Thumbnails – Now shows a image thumbnail in the placemark balloons.
  • Shows a few coarse clusters when not zoomed on the British Isles
  • Source code available! Download the GPL licenced PHP source code here

But its not all rosey – this version seems to suffer from an annoying bug, when first loads sometimes the layer ‘freezes’ and doesnt automatically update as you move around. If that happens right click on the ‘Clusters’ feature in ‘Places’ and select Refresh, doing that once seems to fix it!

Thanks to Geocubes to the amazing service that powers this – highly recommended if you have larger numbers of features to display!

Geocube Geograph Clusters in Google Earth

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

It’s about time did some Google Earth hacking, so thanks to the people at Geocubes, have made a new interactive layer for Google Earth.

Geograph Google Earth Clusters

This works in a similar way to the Geograph SuperLayer, by showing coverage overview, and then zooming in to reveal more detail. The Geocubes layer has the advantage that the clusters work into a closer zoom, and updates to the geograph database make it into the layer within hours. The SuperLayer is slower updating (weeks), but navigating should be much quicker being as its based on KML regions.

You can view also a Google Maps based version of the layer, using the Geocubes API directly.

This is only version 0.1 – there is more to be done – including being able to filter the results based on words and contributor, but this is exciting enough on its own. Once done a bit of work on tidying up the code plan to release it so others can use the geocubes service to create their own layer like this :) Watch this space!

Flight Simulator Recorder! (for real)

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

The new tour recording function introduced in Google Earth version 5, actually makes the ‘black box recorder’ I created a while ago, obsolete now :)

While in Flight Sim mode, hold down Ctrl and Alt and press B. Then right click somewhere in places and goto ‘Add’ and choose Tour. Then you can hide the sidebar by pressing the same combination again. Now press the record button and fly away!

Click the Record button to stop recording – dont forget to click the little disk icon if want to save the recording to Places. 

Tip. Right click the Tour in your places tree, and select Copy. Then paste into a texteditor (eg Notepad) and you can see the raw KML recording. 


If you have any recordings from my Recorder. You should be able to download the linestring, and click the little Tour icond beside the opacity slider, to playback. And while playing you can be recording it into a real ‘Tour’ for.

I’m just shamefaced I’m not a good enough pilot to feel confident in posting any of my recordings…. 


(I think this is probably the last post I will make for now, this is the fourth about the new version 5!)