Here’s a browser based version of the (Feb 2009) UK Snowstorm Twitter activity, animated inside the Google Earth Plugin.
This mashes up 3800 Tweets over the course of a week. Users posting their location and the amount of snowfall they were seeing on a scale of 0 to 10. You can see how Twittersphere activity peaks on Monday February 2nd, the day the country ground to a halt. With sporadic outbursts every day over the following week.
Embedded, below the fold.
I’ve added a new page (in the menu on the left) to index my GE browser Plug-in projects, with three more examples to go alongside the flight simulator game and bounce! animation.
Delving into the API…
- A basic Polygon Editor. Something I plan to develop further. Use draggable pushpins to rotate, re-size and locate a single, regular polygon or circle anywhere on the globe, then export the result as a KML file. An info panel populates with values for circumference, area, radius and bearing in real time.
And a couple hooking into some of my pre-existing KML files:
- Mouseover Flight Route Maps for three European low-cost airlines: Easyjet, Ryanair and Wizzair. The information in these is several months out of date so don’t rely on it being accurate.
- A view based Hertszprung-Russell Diagram – a scatter plot of stars’ luminosity vs colour – for Sky mode (obviously). Which includes 3000 nearby stars from the Hipparcos catalogue. Built around an unusual KML hack, which I’ll write about another time.
This is a miniature, arcade-type flight simulator which runs inside the Google Earth browser plug-in. Based around a much modified version of the Google Milktruck(!) demo.
The plane hugs the terrain, and the gas pedal is permanently down. Just use Left and Right cursor keys control it.
Click the following link to play. Enjoy!
Mini Flight Sim
Note, the Google Earth Plug-in currently works in these web browsers and operating systems:
- Windows: IE 6.0+, IE 7.0+, Firefox 2.0x-3, Netscape 7.1+, Mozilla 1.4+, Flock 1.0+
- Mac OS X (Intel and PowerPC): Safari
- The airplane starts by buzzing the Googleplex.
- 3D buildings are on.
- Type any address in the location box to teleport elsewhere.
- The small window size is an attempt to keep on top of new terrain loading in.
- The plane is my own lightweight (60kB) 3D model of a Hawk training jet as used by the UK’s RAF air display team the Red Arrows.
- If you fly off the top of a mountain the plane might disappear briefly. This is a GE/model altitude display limitation – kicks in at a couple of hundred metres above ground.
- It sucks up internet bandwidth like there’s no tomorrow, so don’t forget too close the page after you’ve finished with it!
Since the new Google Earth browser plugin was released last week, I’ve been trying hard to resist the temptation to simply throw giant KML files at it 🙂 . Instead focusing on stuff which wouldn’t be practical using regular Google Earth.
Anyway, I’ve cobbled together a simple interactive animation using the API. Similar idea to my earlier (rather lame) bouncing Google Earth 3D model.
OK, it’s not very sophisticated, but the thing to note is this isn’t the Plugin running a KML time animation. Instead, its a fully scripted animation, moving a standard SketchUp model in real time. This means we can do several things which just aren’t possible in Google Earth:
- Have options to change every parameter to do with the location and physics (Just location and drop height implemented at the moment).
- Include a range of camera settings to view the animation from different frames of reference. Notably a tracking camera, and some from the point of view of the moving 3D model – very cool how well these work.
It’s a pretty flabby/messy piece of scripting at the moment, but if anyone does want re-use any part of the script please feel free.