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Posts Tagged ‘Google Earth 5’

Google Earth 5, World Time Zone Clock – Javascript and KML

February 5th, 2009 19 comments

World Time Zone Clock in Google Earth 5

World Time Zone Clock in Google Earth 5

Here’s a KML and Javascript(!) hack for the new Google Earth 5.

It overlays a time zone map and allows you to click anywhere on the globe to see a running clock with the current time for that location.

Grab the KML file here:

World Clock

This uses normal KML to display a balloon when a polygon is clicked. Each balloon description has its own bit of Javascript to automatically calculate and display the time for the associated time zone.

More Info
In addition to running javascript, this hooks into a couple of other implementation changes in the new GE 5.

  • Polygons are now directly clickable. Previously you had to click on them in combination with a key press to make their description bubbles appear.
  • Stylemap highlight styles are triggered by mouseovers on polygons and lines instead of just placemark icons.

The polygons in this file are drawn from Valery‘s KML Timezone map, posted on the Keyhole BBS a few years ago.

#uksnow Twitter Animation – Google Earth 5

February 3rd, 2009 8 comments

A much more significant event than the release of Google Earth 5.0 yesterday was the fact the much of Britain (particularly S. England) was covered by a sprinkling of snow. 😉

As a knock-on of this there’s been a large amount of media buzz about the use of Twitter as a mob-sourced geo-mashup generator to show snowfall.

Twitter users have been posting the first half of their postcode, plus the amount of snow in their location. 0 = no snow, 10 = bucket loads. ie: “#uksnow W12 9/10”

Developers have been mashing-up that data. Check out Ben Marsh’s neat, live Google Map mashup of this: #uksnow Tweets

Google Earth 5.0, Twitter uksnow

#uksnow Twitter Animation, Google Earth 5

Now that the flurry (sorry) of activity has died down, I’ve trawled the Twitter API for the past few days of #uksnow hash tags (2200 so far) and put them into a KML time animation tailored to run in Google Earth 5:

#uksnow Tweet Timeline (40kB)

Download the kml file, and use the time slider at the top left of the screen to play it back.

Couple of new techy things to notice if you have the new Google Earth version.

  • I’ve used the KML gx:TimeSpan element in my Document level lookAt so that by default the time slider displays one hours worth of Tweets. Notice how GE flys back in time after the KML loads.
  • The icons expanding and contracting during playback is a built-in feature of the new version of GE.

Google Earth 5.0

February 3rd, 2009 No comments

Latest version of Google Earth, 5.0 is now out. This is a massive ugrade to Google Earth, which takes the application forwards in lots of new ways. For sheer scope and range of new features easily the biggest update yet.

Headline features are Historic satellite images, 3D Ocean terrain, Google Mars!, and powerful new touring capability

Download the new version from the official download site here: Google Earth 5.0

A few observations:

  • Historical Imagery – For me the single most impressive and unexpected addition is the ability to see historic aerial and satellite imagery. Including stuff going back to the 1940s! Previously Google Earth only allowed the display of one image of any place taken at one particular time. Most other new features were predicted in one way or anther – this came out of the blue. Really excited about this. Must be costing Google a packet to acquire all this data.
  • Ocean – Displays 3d underwater terrain (bathymetry), with a neat wave effect for the ocean surface. Less excited by the possiblities of this than other people seem to be, but admittedly does look cool.
  • Mars – A complete 3D terrain model. Very impressive. Pretty much every conceivable layer provided – different types of imagery, space probe landing sites etc. The Mars rover tracks look ripe for time animation!
  • Touring – Provides the ability to record and play back tours. Especially like the fact recorded tours are stored as kml files. Makes it possible to share them, automatically generate them through scripts – e.g. as a black box recording from a flight simulator, and in future (hopefully) play them in the browser plugin.

Some User interface changes:

  • Time slider has some new features – zoom buttons which change the playback length between a minute, hour, day, week, month, year. Further options to set start and end times
  • Overview map – new location bottom left of screen, some options to change the size and zoom ratio.
  • The Ruler displays a compass heading in addition to distance.
  • Placemarks bounce when the mouse hovers over them.

Couple of niggles – might be due to my PC, internet connection or maybe just the number of people trying to use the application.

  • The new version took a very, very long time to install.
  • Imagery is being pulled in very slowly at times

Development Stuff

The KML changes are listed in the KML Reference. And a post on the devlopers blog here.

Some very tight control of touring is possible through the new kml extensions. Ability to set the satellite imagery date and sun position time in a lookAt or camera view. Hopefully this new provision for UI control will eventually be extended to things like toggling off individual 3d buildings in the layers.

On a side note, none of these new dev features have been rolled out in the Google Earth plugin yet. But a couple of the changes in GE 5 were effectively already in the browser version – the Javascript/CSS support in balloons, and the clickability of polygons and lines.