Short news: Time again, WMS bug reports, Picasa 2.5 out

  • Because time in Google Earth is still new: Watch the rise of the Costco store across the US. (Via this LiveJournal post) The possibilities are mind-boggling:-)
  • How to turn monthly Earth Observatory images available on the web into a time-enabled network link, by Valery Hronusov: 1) Using the EditGrid web-based spreadsheet, collect the URLs of the images in individual cells, one row for each year, one column for each month. 2) Build an XSL transformation that turns the XML version of the spreadsheet into KML. 3) When time arrives to Google Earth, just use the column and row values of the spreadsheet with XSL to create time tags in the KML. Voila, a network link that returns a playable time-lapse version of aerosol densities, snow cover, chlorophyll readings, what-have-you. Here’s Valery’s post to the Google Earth Community.
  • Some of those who regularly play with WMS for their work are finding Google Earth’s WMS support a bit rudimentary. Chris’s Tweedle posts a list of possible improvements, and commenters add some more. Adam Schneider adds a bug report here. In my own short experience, I find it can be hard to tame the image a WMS server returns to match the topography on Google Earth below it.
  • If you were wondering why Google Earth Plus and Pro’s KML output when importing GPS tracklogs looks identical to GPSBabel’s, that’s because Google Earth uses GPSBabel’s open-source code. (Thanks to Robert Lipe for the reminder.) This of course also means that you do not need to buy Google Earth Plus if all you want to do is use its GPS importing functionality — download and run GPSBabel instead. Both the Mac and PC version come with a GUI, or you can even use it as a web app, courtesy of GPSVisualizer.
  • Given the previous bullet point, why not just make GPS importing available in the free version of Google Earth?
  • Picasa 2.5, Google’s photo editing application for Windows that lets you georeference photos with Google Earth, is now available as a download (executable) for everyone, rather than just the beta group. (Via Documenting Picasa, which lists all the new features.)
  • University of Arkansas students push SketchUp to the limit and get their own press release.
  • France’s Le Monde runs a scathing article about recent French public sector attempts to launch web-based projects intended to compete with private companies such as Google. Exhibit A: GĂ©oportail vs. Google Earth. The nut graf (translated):
    The failures of GĂ©oportail caused more scorn than previous attempts. The reason is simple: the inevitable comparison with Google Earth is cruel. Launched one year before, without an ounce of publicity, Moutain View’s software has not experienced the smallest failure. After Katrina, Google even continuously updated imagery of the affected zone while millions of visitors came to consult the data several times per day. Google then apologized for an access delay to the images of… two seconds.

    The last bit about the two-second delay sounds apocryphal — I’ve certainly never heard of it. Google Earth has been down once or twice in Europe for a few hours, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of, but why let facts get in the way of a good argument?

  • Over at InfoWorld, Jon Udell fantasizes about a Google Earth-like HUD for airline travellers. As he suspects, something like that is possible now: Get Google Earth, a flight that features Connexion in-flight wifi (while it lasts), a GPS unit, a window seat, a live tracker like gps2geX for the Mac or Getrax for PC, and finally lots of semantically rich KML content like Wikipedia, nearby Flickr photos, FBOweb’s nearby flights. Plug it all in, and presto.

One thought on “Short news: Time again, WMS bug reports, Picasa 2.5 out”

  1. RE: why not just make GPS importing available in the free version of Google Earth?

    Not sure if I missing more, but I can drag a GPX file onto my Google Earth Free (4.0.2080) and it will convert it magically.

    -> although accessing a GPS device directly is not.

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