Links: Brainloop; Burmese junta’s perks; Infrared sky

  • Future UI: Ah, more future-UI video candy. Check out Brainloop, which lets you control Google Earth with your… brain. Is this a good moment to point out that CIC Earth in Snow Crash was controlled by the brain? Brainloop’s controls aren’t continuous (yet): You use your mind to select discrete menu options, like zoom in, pan left, etc… Still, it makes for quite a performance:

    (Thanks, Jonathan!)

  • Where the generals live in Burma: Wow. (I can’t verify this, but it looks authentic.)
  • Infrared Astronomy: Orbiting Frog builds a query for NASA’s SkyView data (containing views of the sky at various wavelengths, not just visible light) and presents it as a KML network link for Google Sky. Zoom in to a part of the sky, wait a while, and up comes the view at 100 microns, taken from the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS). He’ll make more of them if you ask nicely:-)
  • Ranking patent: How does Google decide which items to show you on Google Earth when showing all of them would lead to visual overload? Well, it has a method, and the method has now been filed with the US patent office. Quote:
    The system may permit, for example, bounding box queries in lat/lng space (generated by a graphical interface such as Google Earth or Google Maps), and may also prevent showing too many items, such as when a user is viewing a very large geography (such as an entire country). The system may also permit for the ranking of items so as to show them in a preferred order.

    Google Earth’s been doing this sort of ranking for as long as I’ve used the application, which is why it was surprising to see others come out with patents for such methods. Back in 2005, someone in the Netherlands patented “altitude ranking”, though it was deemed trivial and not original by those in the know.

    Might the same be said for Google’s patent? I don’t have the expertise to decide, and the patent document itself is not all that detailed, but Paul Ramsey thinks it isn’t worthy of a patent, on account of the innovation being “trivial”.

    (Via Russell Shaw and All Points Blog.)

  • Cool Blog: VRlog.net collects panoramas from the 360 Cities site. A nice bite-sized way into their collection, all of which is now linked to panoramas in Google Earth.
  • MDG Monitor: The UNDP’s Millenium Development Goal Monitor (MDG Monitor) is now live. As expected, it includes a Google Earth layer that georeferences the status of the goals for each country.
  • KML How-tos: Google Code gets two new how-to articles of interest to neogeographers, reports Google Maps API blog: A how-to on using time tags in KML, and another on using KML in Google Mashup Editor, by Valery Hronusov. (Via Google Earth Blog)
  • Morocco and Google Earth: More on internet censorship in Morocco, including a discussion of why Moroccan authorities might have banned Google Earth.
  • Old Singapore: Singeo complains the most recent images of Singapore are, well, not the most recent:-)