Thursday, July 31, 2008

Eye Candy with the Sun

The release of Google Earth version 4.3 gave you the ability to view dramatic, beautiful scenes that involve shadow and light.

To create these views, I always navigate first to hilly or mountainous terrain. The more colorful, the better. I click the sun icon in the 3D viewer, then move the time slider to create the appropriate shadows. Make sure you turn on atmosphere (View > Atmosphere).

Here are a few images that I was able to create using this process. Click each one to make it larger. Truth be told, I retouched each a bit (Brightness/Contrast) in Adobe Fireworks. From top to bottom, they are Swiss Alps; Mounument Valley, AZ and Big Sur, California.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Collaborating on Maps

Did you know that you can collaborate with others as you create a custom online map? Google Earth Outreach offers a tutorial that describes exactly how to do this in Google Maps. Once you and your colleagues have created your map, you can export it to KML and view it in Google Earth.

My local mountain bike club is using this feature set to create a list of trailwork projects. Our collaborative map will show the location of needed trailwork and potential new trails we hope to build. I hope to share this soon with everyone, including the Forest Service.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Geotagging on Linux

Fellow Googler and GPS geek extraordinaire Marc Merlin has created a guide to geotagging photos and GPS tracks using gps visualizer and gpsPhoto. This is a technical, hands-on guide that describes how to create very compelling geo mashups.

Whether or not you follow this guide, it is worth checking out Marc's presentation. He cleverly uses Google Maps, photos and GPS data to describe details of a multiday trip on Northern California's Lost Coast Trail (one of my favorite places).

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Posting to the YouTube Layer

Frank Taylor of Google Earth Blog reminds me to mention how to post to the YouTube layer.

It works like this: when you post a video on YouTube, you can assign a location to your video (see Date and Maps Options). You also need to allow the YouTube video to be embedded in other web pages (see Sharing Options).

Once you have done this, the video becomes part of the YouTube layer in Google Earth.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Embedding Videos

If you used Google Earth enough, you've probably seen videos embedded in placemark balloons. But did you know how ridiculously easy it is to create these youself? Try this one minute tutorial:
  1. Go to YouTube and find your favorite video.
  2. In the Embed field (right of the video), select and copy the code.
  3. In Google Earth, navigate to the appropriate location and create a placemark. For example, for a video filmed in a New York neighborhood, create your placemark in that location.
  4. In the Edit Placemark dialog box, in the Description tab and field, paste the YouTube code. Click OK.
Done. Click the placemark to view your video. Of course you can now share and publish this placemark.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Geo Photo Tools

Here are some third party tools that enable you to automatically assign locations to your photos in Google Earth:

KML2KML - Windows only. The Photo Track feature of this application allows you to arrange photos on track according to GeoEXIF or GPS data. Check out this example.

gpicsync - This enables you to automatically geocode pictures from your camera and GPS tracks.

HoudahGeo - Mac OS only. Assign photos to locations. You can also export you data to EXIF/XMP.

Additional tools - Robert Lipe has collected this list of photo geo taggers.

Of course you can manually assign locations to photos in Picasa and publish them to Earth. Learn more.