News roundup: KML for Drupal, OSXplanet, Geographic Google searches

  • Dan Karran’s KML module for the Drupal content management system is out. Some very pleasant surprises: You can get KML files containing posts (“nodes”) tagged with a particular term, and also KML for search results containing geospatial data… and you can order the content, to facilitate flythroughs. There’s more. Get it here.
  • For the Mac, OSXplanet hits version 1.0. It’s a free, impressive screensaver of Earth (and other bodies in the solar system), with overlays for weather, satellites, earthquakes and volcanoes. All by a 17-year old Gabriel Otte.
  • I didn’t know this. You can google “terrain of belgium” and get a direct answer back from the CIA Factbook as a first response. Google has other such geographic search shortcuts, as listed by Google Blogoscoped. Cool, but this just begets the question: Why stop there with the integration? Where is the KML overlay? Wouldn’t the best way to deliver geographic information from a Google search usually be via Google Earth or Maps?
  • Valery Hronusov has a revamped start page up that aggregates and categorizes many of the GIS and Google Earth-related projects that are on Google Earth Community, and elsewhere.
  • Display watch: A 32-inch 3D-ish monitor, as reviewed by The Register. (Via WorldCAD Access)
  • WorldWind reaches 10 million downloads on SourceForge.
  • Morocco’s ISPs’ problems with Google Earth are still not resolved, according to this user.
  • Mmm, Principal Groundwater Aquifers of the United States (at Topographic Map Archive, where there is a lot more great stuff.)
  • Not previously noticed on my radar: Hawkeye ($70) for Microsoft MapPoint syncs your view in MapPoint with the same view in Google Earth (and Virtual Earth).
  • Cool: the Nantucket Sound Ferry Scientific Environmental Monitoring System provides live positioning data and environmental data, as a network link too, of course. (Via this LiveJournal post)
  • Google Earth, art instrument to Janice Caswell, currently showing in New York.
  • Earthbrowser‘s Matt Giger has a swipe at Google Earth, faulting it for an aging codebase and a kludgy API (the KML file format) and adds:

    EarthBrowser (as primitive as it was) had the virtual globe market all to itself from 1998 to about 2002 when I first heard about Keyhole EarthViewer when someone from Keyhole offered to buy and my customer list.

    Matt also promises that the next version of EarthBrowser will have a “fully scriptable game engine”. I’d be interested to know Matt’s opinion of NASA World Wind as a competitor.

  • Valery Hronusov’s EditGrid-based path calculator with output as KML uses all of the latest EditGrid XSL features. Where is Google Spreadsheets? What is the point of collecting disparate technologies under one roof if you don’t get any benefits from it? Meanwhile, EditGrid adds RSS feeds for new spreadsheets, etc…
  • Interesting idea: “I am just testing an AppleScript from Adam Burt which takes a screenshot of google earth and posts it to a blog via ecto. Does lots of tagging and produces metadata too.” It’s for the Blojsom CMS.
  • Another GPS-to-Google-Earth tool: GPS2GoogleEarth ($20) for PocketPC.
  • Photo georeferencing tool RoboGEO is up to 4.4 ($35). It now supports Flickr’s new API.

[Update 08:59 UTC: One more thing: The British Airways layer that is getting so much press attention and its own TV commercial doesn’t work (for me) if I use the Mac version of Google Earth v4 beta. Specifically, the “price clouds” are white rectangles rather than transparent numbers. Yes, it’s beta, but I wouldn’t encourage a mainstream company to use cutting edge versions of software if it means that a significant portion of its users won’t get what’s intended.]

4 thoughts on “News roundup: KML for Drupal, OSXplanet, Geographic Google searches”

  1. I think that WorldWind is a great product and is going to really give Google Earth a run for it’s money in the visualization area. I’m excited to see their atmospheric scattering shaders, EarthBrowser 3.0 will have that as well. However, like EarthBrowser, WW is probably not going to compete with the vast amounts of data that Google Earth has.

    From a programmer’s perspective, the one thing that stands out as the biggest problem with WW is the early decision to use Microsoft’s .NET framework, effectively limiting them to the Windows platform only. I heard rumors about a Java version, which I imagine would have it’s own issues, not to mention the difficulties of supporting two code bases. Early decisions in programming, especially development platforms, are so critical.

  2. I have to agree with Matt Giger (Earthbrowser) that the KML API is very limiting. There is only so much you can do with a remote KML link. Google, when will you add a real plugin API to Google Earth? Perhaps Google doesn’t want to add it because the company views itself as a network company. If so i guess we will have to wait until Microsoft releases its Earth viewer application. I am sure that Microsoft will include a plugin API, just like with Flight Simulator and many other Microsoft products. It always takes Microsoft some time to react, but once they do Google Earth could get some very serious competition.

  3. I don’t see KML as an API. KML is a markup language, and is analogous to HTML. The API is the network link, because it lets you send coordinate information alongside a refresh request to a specific URL, in effect outsourcing your computations to an external server, where the progrtammer can use their language of choice. I think adding Ruby scripting from SketchUp would be great, as presumably it would let you start manipulating objects much as you already can in Second Life.

  4. I also use the Mac version of Google Earth v4 beta but my price clouds appear as clouds or price clouds so I do not think the problem is with BA – it’s possibly with your mac set up

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