- Gamasutra has a wonderful exposition of how to make a game using Google Earth as the interface, written by an Intel dev team (I thought they made chips?). The game itself is pretty similar to other scavenger-hunt type games we’ve seen on Google Earth before, but the article breaks the php code into manageable chunks, and provides the source code as well. This should be enough to let any enterprising person make their own geographic quizzes. (Via Digg)
- The Washington Post has an interesting article about virtual-world business models. Most of it is about Second Life, but the article also touches about some possible legal implications of the kind of in situ advertising Microsoft Virtual Earth does:
Meanwhile, as mapping technologies rapidly improve, companies are increasingly able to transfer the real world to the online world. But are property rights any clearer in such a “real” virtual world?
Microsoft, for instance, launched an online service last month called Virtual Earth that features highly detailed three-dimensional photographic maps of American cities. Microsoft plans to make money by selling advertising billboards in this virtual depiction of urban America.
But the company’s lawyers and advertising executives are still grappling with the question of whether those who own the property depicted in Microsoft’s 3-D images have any control over how their depicted property is used online. For instance, does Federal Express have the right to object if an ad for its competitor DHL is posted in the parking lot at virtual FedEx Field?
“We haven’t fully delineated all the guidelines for do’s and don’ts,” said Bobby Figueroa, a director of product management at Microsoft.
- Oh, look, the actual XML Schema Definition (XSD) for KML 2.1 (via new Google employee Gregor Rothfuss’s Del.icio.us links)
- Swedish tabloids never fail to get a Google Earth story wrong. Aftonbladet a few days ago made a huge deal about how it “revealed” back in April that a secret Swedish spy base was visible on Google Earth. (The story was in fact broken on April 4 by Realtid.se, and carried by Aftonbladet two days later in mangled form.)
Then Aftonbladet claims that a cloud was suddenly found over the base in Google Earth’s imagery the day after its “exposé”. (In actual fact, I still got a snapshot of the base on April 10. It’s the dataset update from April 19 that obscured the base with a cloud, as you can verify here. And there isn’t anything suspicious about this: The immediate result was wider coverage around Stockholm, albeit with a slightly cloudier image.)
Finally, Aftonbladet announces that once again the base is visible — this on an article dated Dec 25, at least two dataset updates after the cloudless base data returned to Google Earth. My own theory is that it was quiet nightshift on Christmas eve, and that somebody on duty was surfing Google Earth until s/he got desperate for a story.
- Engadget linked to a system for manipulating 3D shapes called Imaginality Unleased, using nothing more than a webcam and some printed cutouts, by New Zealand’s MindSpace Solutions. it’s free to download and play with, and comes with its own virtual globe demo. (Haven’t tested it, sorry, I’m printer-free.)
- Not the first, but still rare enough to mention: A new GPS data logger by GlobalSat that outputs KML as well. Looks cute, so it could be a hit if the price is right.
- Got LabVIEW, that data acquisition and instrument control application, and do you have georeferenced data? In that case, somebody’s already done most of the work to help you visualize that data in Google Earth. Check out this thread.
- Google Earth Blog has a reminder that georeferenced Wikipedia articles are also available in languages other than English, just no as a default layer. Get them here.
- Wow, Nintendo’s Wii recently got a built-in “weather channel” with forecasts splayed across an actual moving virtual globe. Details here. Note to ESRI ArcGIS Explorer and Microsoft Virtual Earth: Even Wii manages to make the labels face the viewer rather than align with North.
- SketchUp is #15 on PC World’s list of the 20 most innovative products of the year. Even though it first became free last year:-)
- Finally, a quirky article in Germany’s Spiegel Online has their correspondent visiting the Google Earth team at the Google complex and getting an introduction to the application from general manager John Hanke, perceptively described as “the 40-year-old man”. The last part is especially interesting, however: The article accurately describes the differing 3D content strategies of Google and Microsoft, citing the pros and cons of each — if that’s the result of an off-the-record Google debriefing (the analysis isn’t sourced, suddenly), it would be the first clear indication that Google is indeed thinking along these lines.