Archive for the ‘Google Earth’ Category

Google Earth as a browser!

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Just noticed the KML documentation website has been updated to reflect the KML extensions :)

But most interestingly note the <description> tag of balloons are now rendered by a webkit browser, one that supports JavaScript and iFrames!

WOW. Now goto to go and play with this, this could open up GE for more interactive content (like the plugin sort of offers) …

Update: also new: List of ‘GX’ extensions…
Other than the obvious touring language (which can even open balloons!), note it adds a new <gx:altitudeMode> to cope with underwater data (links with last post) , and even <gx:LatLonQuad> to cope with non rectangluar GroundOverlays!

Underwater Google Earth cables…

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Besides the layers included in the new Earth Version 5 for Ocean data, I’ve just found this impressive collection:

Google Maps & Google Earth as visualization tools for marine data

Looks like much of this should load pretty well, one particully interesting (for me!) layer is “Submarine cables“. These load well in the new version, I’m guessing they will be updated in the future to work directly in new earth, but in the meantime you can change the data to underwater now!

  • Load a Layer as normal
  • Right click the top most folder of the layer eg “FT Submarine cables”, and slect Properties
  • Click the ‘Style, Color’ tab
  • Click ‘Share style’ button
  • Click the ‘Altitude’ tab
  • Change the dropdown to ‘Clamped to sea floor’ 
  • Press OK. 
and then zoom down to view the cables laying on the sea floor!
You can see how the cable routes do actully follow the underwater tarrain… :)

GE5. The Ocean – Time Machine – Tour Recorder – oh and Mars

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Seems reports that Google Ocean where pretty accurate, Google have just released Google Earth v5, which besides the extra Sea floor data we saw last week, it actully makes the sea transparent so you can fly underwater… (not to mention a new ‘Ocean’ set of layers)

But thats not all, there are a wealth of other features…

  • Historic data, – you can now turn back time, and view older imagary. The data base is pretty comprensive – and quick! – but I guess (hope!) that more data will be added too…. 
  • Touring – From a couple of quick plays, GE5 has a new tour recording mode. Very easy to use, and seems to even capture changes to places (found by accident, correction: its “places” only, doesnt capture “layers” :( ), and even changes to the time slider
  • Planetry Bodies – The old ‘sky’ button is now a dropdown – with the addition of Mars. Its been possible to view mars imagry for a while, but its now in glorious 3D! (and gets its own set of layers) 
  • Update: Richer HTML balloons – now balloons are rendered by a webkit browser, with Javascript and iFrames support! (more in a later post)

other minor changes…

  • More sun – the sun works for not just the past 24 hours now it seems. 
  • New Timeslider – To ammonodate the new imargy and sun, the slider has been redesigned and moved. It even glows showing historic imagery, but its little difficult to get to grip – (update: not too bad with some practice! – perhaps it was just slow before…)
  • Overview Map moved – its now behind the Google Logo! Guess that saves space….
  • Update: Support for non rectangular groundoverlys. (more)
  • KML Extensions - When copying KML out of the client it starts with:

<kml xmlns=”″ xmlns:gx=”″ xmlns:kml=”″ xmlns:atom=””>

so it looks like extra stuff there – the new tours seems to be the main thing added in the gx namespace. Find out more about the Google Extensions Namespace: (more in a later post). Looks like this is going to be the way Google specific updates to KML is going to be handled now KML is controlled by OGC. 


re KML namespace: making a few play tours and copying out the KML, the ‘touring language’ seems very comprehensive, recorsds small changes to view as a bunch of <Camera>, and pauses. Also only just noticed a ‘mic’ button, gonna have to dig out a microphone to try it… (I guess it can record a soundtrack for the tour)

Oh of course, there are plenty of further readings… GearthBlog 1 2, Google LatLong, Offical Google Blog. Offical site 1, 2. Oh more about the gx extension namespace: Brian Flood

Looking at the screenshots on gearthblog, my sea doesnt look like that its all static , I guess I need a better graphics card….

Google Sea Bed :: Useful? but not pretty!

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

UPDATE: JULY 2010, petition: Google Earth should make the sea floor rendering optional

Frank, just alerted me to the new rendering Google have released for Google Earth of the Ocean Floor. Strangely I keep wanting to shout FAIL! Sure at the broadest sense – viewing the globe as a whole it looks quite nice, if a little fuzzy, but once start zooming into coastline, the matching is just a mess. The new lighter blue just sort of fades out the old darker blue. Have to say even Frank doesn’t seem convinced…

Admittedly I not really into ocean travel so the probably higher resolution doesn’t really interest me, so that puts it at a disadvantage from my point of view. Hopefully they can vastly improve the edge matching, aka the coastline, then I wont mind.

Ok so it wasn’t perfect before, having a greenish area – but it just looks like algae. But the new doesn’t look natural somehow.

Another issue (oh dear), is the new lighter blue around the UK, is a closer to shade of land. And in the overview map – example below, I can’t even see Wales, and most of England and France etc is pretty indistinct – making the overview map fairly worthless. (disclaimer: I am red/green colour blind)

Overall: E- (sorry)

MGRS coordinate entry

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Prompted by one of those infernal* posts on a Google Maps group, have finally been inspired to cobble together a MGRS -> Lat/Long conversion. It seems trvial, the UTM->MGRS conversion is quite simple, but there are a few gotchas!, so after much puzzleing over some C code from GeoTrans (and Trial&Error for good measure!), I think** have something working.

Anyway try it out here: 

Coordinate Flyto for Google Earth/Maps

also added today is a tickbox to open the result direct in Google Maps (rather than Google Earth). 

I’ll tidy it up and post the code, which is based on the PHPcoord conversion class, incase others have a use. I’ll also add it to the API – and possibly even back port it into Perl for use on the on site coordinate covertor. 

Finally possibly of interest is the realisation that the MGRS Google Earth Gridlines layer, will actully load directly in Google Maps, so:

MGRS Gridlines in Google Maps

the lines should update a few seconds after dragging/zooming. Ideally will suppress the big blue pins (which are show as numbers in GE) , but not tonight…



* in the nicest possible sence!

** I tested it by converting utm->mgrs->utm globally on a worldwide 1 degree grid – all check out with absolute precision.

Content on Google somehere, somehow?

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

I don’t know if anyone is interested in this stuff, but have been for a long time being trying to make sence of the various ‘geo’ properties operated by Google and quite a bit on how to get indexed and exposure for your content.

Update: There has been some misconception about what this diagram represents – it is only intended to cover getting content in KML/KMZ files on your website listed and indexed in Google Properties. It’s sort of murky in that content you submit to other websites are sort of included to show they end up in various indexes. It does not cover business listings at all which for the most part is sepetate totally. 


GeoIndex Overview Diagram

GeoIndex Overview Diagram

Links for the purple circles:


probably incomprehensible, but hopefully useful to someone? Questions or feedback welcome.

Update: notable perhaps for its exclusion, is Outreach – Oops, version 2 perhaps?

Edit your MyMap container

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

Small update to the My Maps support in GoKML, announced a few days ago; you can now edit the links contained in the file. Just goto your secret admin page, generated for your link.

People viewing your file in Google Maps will see the update soon, Google Maps caches it for a while.

People viewing in Google Earth however will not, as they downloaded a static file, which brings onto another point, if want them to auto update as well, could create a network link to your Container, using the standard GoKML form, (enter the url your container and choose appriate refresh period).

My Maps Container

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

When using the Google’s My Maps feature you can display multiple maps at once simply by ticking the boxes, however the ‘Link to this Map’ will only ever include 1 map, so you can’t easily send a group of maps to someone.

… So a new script – this time under the banner – for creating a ‘container’ KML that simply opens a bunch of maps at once – this KML is openabe in Google Earth, but also you can share the link so others can see your batch of My Maps at once in Google Maps.

Create a KML container for a group of My Maps

As a total aside I notice My Maps, now sport a (Geo)RSS feed :)

Google Earth 4.3: Magnetic Compass

Friday, August 1st, 2008

A while ago released a Compass Overlay, which (hopefully) makes reading directions of the navigation control easier. Well this new version does the same, but its (mostly) correct for the Magnetic Direction!

Magnetic Compass correct link this time!!

Note: its positioned to fit the navigation control of Google Earth 4.3, not the separate compass, which has only recently begun working for me… Updates a few seconds after stopping moving.

Now have a way to determine the magnetic variation at a location have some other ideas for using this in Google Earth, eg magnetic bearing along a line, but this is a starting point. For example in the uk the variation is often too small to be really seen on the tiny control.

Thanks to for the pointer to a webservice that gives the variation.

Update: Rather embarrassingly just noticed the link above was wrong! It was to a static compass. The link above has been updated, and it should now rotate! Sorry for confusion… (always wondered why this didnt get much traffic!)

Google Earth: Chart Plotter

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Did someone mention a chart plotter? If so have a look-see:

Google Earth: Map Plotter

Its hot off the presses so don’t know what options it will need yet, just used three example zooms levels – other options would include the mobile map style. (You can change it by altering the link in Properties)

Also its standard Google Maps, as that is all the API offers. Ideally would be proper flight plan data, but would need a Static Map API to work.

Note: The map is centered on the camera position (so is ideal for the Flight Simulator) – and while it can be used in other modes it wont make much sense. If interest could make one that shows the center of the view itself.

Disclaimer: this is entering the gray area of what is possible with the Static Maps API, so might get pulled, etc.

More flight sim tools