Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Creating KML

How do you create your KML? There are different KML authoring tools available.

Generally, I edit my KML in Adobe Dreamweaver, though a text editor like Notepad works fine. I create a network link in Google Earth to the KML file so I can view how my edits appear almost as soon I create them. I also set Google Earth to show all KML errors as it reads my file as a coarse means of debugging my KML.

However, this tutorial demonstrates how you can debug your KML using a nifty tool called jEdit.

Monday, January 28, 2008

New Layer Content

Last week, Google published a lot of new layer content for Google Earth. Read about this update on Google Earth Blog and Lat Long.

I am especially fond of the new National Geographic content for Asia, Europe and South America. For me, the National Geographic layer dovetails so perfectly with Google Earth, as NG stories are all about visual and geographical context.

If you read a story about the Inca civilization ruins in Peru, Google Earth provides you with a sense of where these structures are situated, which of course makes the Incan story all the more amazing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Importing Imagery

There are three main ways you can import imagery into Google Earth:

Image overlay - (Add > Image Overlay) This is an image that is draped over the surface of the earth (though it can appear elevated as well). Among other things, this feature is useful for importing image files of maps. The picture to the left is an example of an image overlay.

Photo - (Add > Photo) This is an image placed in a geographic location that you and other users can fly into and navigate. You can see examples in the Layers panel > Gallery > Gigapxl.

GIS imagery - (Google Earth Pro only: File > Open) These are GIS-related files, such as .tif, .geotif, .ntf, .img, etc. Google Earth can display these images in the correct geographic location as specified in the original file.

The larger your image files, the more performance becomes an issue. If you are using large sets of images, consider using KML Regions.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sky Tutorial

In case you missed it, there is a self-guided Sky tutorial available with the new release of Sky. It is for those of you who are new to Sky.

To access this, first enter Sky. In the Layers panel, expand the Welcome to Sky folder. Double click Getting to Know Sky, then click the Getting to Know Sky icon in the 3D viewer.

If you have any feedback, please let me know.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Learning in Sky

Today, Google released the latest version of Sky. For a full run down of all the new features and content, visit some of the sites listed below.

My personal favorites in Sky are the Hevelius Constellations (Layers > Historical Sky Maps > Hevelius Constellations). These artistic engravings depict the constellations as an overlay in Sky. They are stunning. As a father of school-aged kids, I can't wait to share these with them. In fact, I plan to give a presentation to my daughter's class using these engravings as a starting point.

Because visually enticing an audience is so important to capturing their imagination, Sky becomes an incredible educational tool in and out of the classroom. I would love to hear stories about how Sky users have created astronomy lesson plans or presentations using this tool. Or if you are interested in using a lesson plan, what sort of subjects would you like to see addressed?

Read about the new Sky:

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Animations and the Time Slider

A talented fellow tech writer here at Google has created documentation that describes how you can create time-animated buildings in KML. As an example, she uses is the now famous London Eye ferris wheel animation (see image).

Outside of this documentation, other animation examples include the rising sea level and arctic ice melting models. Frank Taylor highlights many other animations on his blog.

Once you have downloaded such animations, you can display them in Google Earth by using the time slider. This KML content is defined along a time span. Changes animate as you move the time slider. Learn about using the time slider.