Archive for the ‘Google Earth’ Category

Google Earth: Flight Simulator GPS Arrow

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

Behold a new network link from

Google Earth GPS

Once you have chosen a destination point, a small arrow will be shown in the bottom right of your Google Earth window, which points towards your destination! Ideal for use in the flight simulator, where you can play follow the arrow.

Note it only updates every 5 seconds, and comes with all sorts of disclaimers such as don’t use in life or death situations.

Thats a mighty long way!

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Google have recently added walking directions to the Directions feature on Google Maps.

This is a nice addition, and of course its early days, but does throw up some interesting results. The post says “If you’re going 10 km or less (some call this 6.2 miles)”, but if you want to test it out on longer routes, just add &dirflg=w to the url (use the “Link to this Page” link to get a link for the current map), and it does work!

Luckily it knows to avoid using the Motorway (phew!), but it still does favour bigger roads as noted here. Hopefully with time it can pickup on the shortest route rather than the ‘quickest’ which is generally what is used for driving.

I wonder if we will ever get to the point that it includes public footpaths here in the UK? (maybe it will via OSM?) – and as a refinement it could favour known ‘long distance footpaths’ …

Update: GEarthBlog also points out that can use my multi direction to KML tool, to view walking directions in Google Earth! Thanks Frank!

Letting your KML loose

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

I think I have mentioned this before, but have a page that helps share your KML file via various Google services.

Following a post on the Maps help group, realised could update it with some other ways to use the KML (even non Google!)

So view the latest page at

Publishing your KML for Google Earth, Google Maps and Beyond

suggestions for other links welcome in the comments!

Stereoscopic (3D) Earth

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Alerted by ogleearth to an interesting mashup with the new Google Earth Plugin, that promises Stereo viewing of earth I couldnt wait to get home to try on my windows machine….

However try as a I might I could not cross my eyes enough to see it in all its glory. So I copied* the code and made the size of of the globes configurable (well I first tried just changing the hardcoded value), and the result is:


I found I can get it to work on 200pixels, any bigger and just couldnt manage it, but try it yourself (change the numbers in the url).

Another tip: press F11 to remove distracting screen clutter.

* The original Google demo is under the Apache licence, so assume the Stereoscopic version is too, so this one is also, although the PHP is rather boring.

Google Earth – the API

Friday, May 30th, 2008

I’ve been following the blogosphere re the recent introduction of the Google Earth API. Which is a slightly lightweight version of Google Earth packaged in a browser, but with a quite rich Javascript/KML hybrid scripting interface.

There has (IMHO) been some misconceptions about exactly what this is, the hype (and I partly fell into the same trap) seems to surround its bringing Google Earth (aka 3D) to the browser – which it certainly does, but as Ed Parsons notes:
“in that context it should become clear that the big announcement of the Google Earth plug-in, is more about adding a API to earth, than bringing 3D functionality to the browser.”
its not the biggest thing – its that it opens Google Earth to scripting!

And being browser based brings reasonably familiar, and cross platform, Javascript to the table, effectively obsoleting the unsupported COM API (and ActionScript?).

As many blogs note 3D in the browser is not that new, LiveMaps (or what ever it called now. virtual earth?) has had it for a while, not to mention WorldWind (java), and the myriad of other 3D globes.

(however the one area this is good on the web, is it allows much larger datasets to be displayed and intereacted with – in already existing Google Maps API mashups – with little work)

Google Earth in the Browser

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Google has just announced a new Google Earth API – which allows embedding and fully functional Google Earth in just about any webpage. Even is easily intergratable with Google Maps API mashups – with very little extra code. (takes a number of seconds for that news to sink in!)

Be sure to checkout the samples, (particularly the milktruck demo!), I’ve also started trying it out with a few demos of my own

…Windows only btw…

Expect A LOT MORE from this very flexible looking API – the JS interface can quickly interact with objects (API is based around KML) and gets pretty good control of interface options.

Update: mentioned on which is a good introduction about what this is and what its not!

Update2: and to show it can basically be added to a ‘real world’ Gmaps mashup, in a few lines of code, see here

GE4.3 Compass Star

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Compass While playing with the new navigation in Google Earth 4.3, noticed its not always easy to get your bearings (bad pun), also been wanting to play in PSP today, so set to do something about both. The result? A ScreenOverlay showing a compass star on the navigation control.

Google Earth Overlay . GE Compass Star (without numbers)

Note: I do also have a network link that shows the more exact bearing as a placemark label.

(part inspired by)

Updated to add: This has inspired a similar compass that rotates, nice work Gerardo64!

GE 4.3 first impressions…

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

First – User Based Navigation – without a Special Controller, FINALLY! GEarthBlog has more details of the new navigation controls – quite different – and lots of options now, but first impressions – it works well.

But actually downloading it? I followed a tip here, to the older download page. Not been in the US, never heard of the Updater thing they talk about, but that’s another story. Anyway that page offered to download me the old version, but poking around in the source leads to the latest. Of course by the time you read this it should be live for everyone anyway!


  • Still no Space Navigator support inside the photoviewer – why, oh WHY?
  • The Overview map is still broken :( But at least it doesn’t give error messages now – just big Red X’s!
  • Not a biggy, but a quirk, the new ‘Sunshine’ – or rather the shadow doesn’t affect 3d Models :p (but the screenshot on GEB seems to have lighting – video driver?) [Update: it seems some do, but not all, possibly the new photorealistic ones that dont...]

But to end on positive note, the new buildings and streetview look good – even if not available here. Oh and the photoviewer hasnt managed to crash GE yet!

Update: Just noticed they fixed the bug with truncation in the Properties dialog when entering lat/long :)

GE: Wales in Hi-Res!

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

Google Earth has just had its latest update, following tradition the Google LatLong blog releases a cryptic set of clues to the areas effected.

2) jumped out at me considering had to learn that name for school, and being reasonably local. However even more excitedly I notice that pretty much the whole of Wales looks distinctly uniform from far away – suggesting that this update covers pretty much the whole Country :) – the parts in the distant south not included seems to mostly in high res already – being the most populous!

Doesn’t Snowdonia look pretty now? (and the rest of Wales too!)

(Update: follow this post on for other updates)

Where in the world are people looking? part 2

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

Following part 1 yesterday, have now plotted some maps per individual service.

Flash Earth Layer


  1. Google Earth does request a link for the initial view on startup – that point in the Atlantic.
  2. I guess North American installs have two slightly different default placemarks; has it changed, or maybe Canada gets a different one?
  3. But that doesnt explain the lines from there – people must have their links set to periodically refresh?
  4. Germany likes FlashEarth (or rather people like looking at Germany with FlashEarth link enabled)
  5. Many people leave the links open even when not in use – e.g. the British Isles links show worldwide usage, notably over Russia.
  6. MGRS notably has high usage in two areas.
  7. The Far east likes to know what direction they facing.

Update: In a total forehead slapping momont realised these unprojected whole world images, are exactly what is used in GroundOverlays, so the the pages now include links to view the higher resolution images directly in Google Earth, duh!

Example: View In Google Earth (don’t forget to try adjusting the tranparency slider!) [Update, to fix broken link, sorry!]