Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bring Google Earth to Your Website

Yesterday, Google released the Google Earth API (news). You can use this API to embed Google Earth and geographic content in your web pages. What really excites me is that you can also add a Google Earth view to your existing Google Maps API-enabled map by just adding small snippets of code.

To see what I mean, see below. Notice the Earth button:

See an example at

Additionally, you can also display your KML-based content in this 3D view. To see this in action, visit Virgil Zetterlind's tool that allows you to display your KML in an embedded Google Earth view. Below, I display a KML depiction of one of my favorite mountain bike rides:


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Determining Elevation

Before this weekend, I spent time trying to determine if my Memorial Day weekend mountain bike trip to Tahoe would be a bust or not. Word is that snow remains on trails above 7000'. Yet we had planned rides at or near that elevation.

To determine if we would be skunked on our ride, I launched Google Earth and navigated to the area. Simply by mousing over particular locations, I could view exact elevations at the bottom of the 3D viewer (see image).

In the end, we aborted our Tahoe trip and stuck to lower elevation rides. This was unfortunate, but certainly not as bad as wasting hours of driving only to find a wall of snow across our favorite trails.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Catching Air

OK, here is a different kind of tip:

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Geo Education

Google has launched a Geo Education site for educators who are hoping to include Google Earth, Maps, Sky or SketchUp as part of lesson plans. There are some great classroom ideas on how to use these products to help your students understand geography, geology, history and more.

If you are new to these products, check out the getting started guides. You can also connect with other educators in the Google for Educators discussion group.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Movie Maker Tips

Google Earth Pro users may be happy to learn that the user guide has a section devoted to movie maker tips. By following these suggestions, you can make outstanding movies with much less hassle.

Perhaps the most important thing to do before recording is to maximize the performance of your computer. You can do this by closing all other applications, unchecking all layers in Google Earth except terrain (and 3D buildings if necessary) and downloading the latest video driver for your computer. You can also try adjusting texture quality as this can affect both performance and visual quality of your video.

If you are still have questions, try the Google Earth Pro group.