Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Map Your Own Theme

I've been playing with the Thematic Mapping Engine, which is a web-based tool that allows you to generate visually compelling KML based on statics such as those available at UNdata. The less tech savy will be excited to note that this tool requires no coding skills whatsoever. So go ahead and impress your friends. Or check out these examples.

The resulting presentations are pretty darned nifty and you can control many aspects of how this information is displayed in both Google Earth and the Google Earth browser plugin.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Geothermal Presentation

Google.org launched some incredible KML recently that describes potential geothermal energy resources in the United States. This presentation utilizes the Google Chart API. Read about this effort or view this presentation in Google Earth.

This KML is both very slick and very effective. Be sure to play with the settings in the Places panel to see 3D depictions, energy resource depth and animations. Each chart icon opens a placemark balloon that provides additional information about geothermal resources in the given state.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Imagery Dates

I am not sure why, but it seems that many Google Earth users are not aware that you can determine approximate imagery dates in version 4.3. Perhaps the other 4.3 features such as sunlight overshadowed (har har) this feature.

From the user guide: "Google Earth displays the approximate date of displayed imagery in the status bar at the bottom in the 3D viewer. As you mouse over a location, this information depicts the date of the imagery. Note that this date is only approximate."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Gigapan Panoramas

As you may know, you can view Gigapan high resolution photos in Google Earth by enabling this layer (Layers > Gallery > Gigapan). But you can also view many other great Gigapan panoramas that are not published in this layer by visiting the Gigapan website.

Not all photos on this website have been geolocated and thus cannot be displayed in Google Earth. On each image page, look on the right side of the page for a link indicating that you can view the image in Google Earth 4.2 or later. Be forewarned that this site is highly addictive.

Learn more about viewing and navigating photos in Google Earth.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Editing Imported GPS Tracks

Some GPS devices (particularly older ones) can record inaccurate data in the field. You may notice this after you import and view GPS data in Google Earth Pro or Plus. This can be disappointing to say the least. Often when I import GPS tracks from my mountain bike rides or hikes, I clean up the data in Google Earth by editing these tracks manually.

To do this, in My Places, expand the GPS data folder > Tracks > (appropriate track folder). Select the path and choose Edit > Properties. Now you can can edit the track as you would any path in Google Earth. You can move around, add and delete path points and change the appearance of the path. Learn about using paths and polygons.

As for waypoints, you can use a similar process to edit these as you would placemarks.