Michael Kosowsky, who’s behind HeyWhatsThat (the website for generating panoramas from digital elevation models that I gushed about a few months ago) was invited to give a Tech Talk at the Googleplex a month ago. Michael writes:
It’s the best summary I’ve got of what HeyWhatsThat is and how it got to be that way. If you aren’t inclined to watch the whole thing, I think the Andrew Wiles joke at the very beginning is pretty good.
Here is the Google Video:
What more news? This post pretty much write itself: Michael says:
Have just spent a few weeks doing what we call “refactoring,” which in this case means rewriting almost every single line of code with absolutely no change in functionality. Well, not quite; contours are now available at every zoom level at the main site and the Path Profiler (you used to have to zoom in fairly close to get the ‘Contours’ button to appear; now you can see contours while viewing the entire world) and profiles that traverse large portions of the globe will be drawn as quickly as short ones.
I’ve also created a pair of “Mapplets” for Google Maps: Elevation Contours and Path Profiler. To see what I’m talking about, start at
Hit “Add Content” on the left near the top. As of press time my mapplets haven’t appeared in their directory, so hit “Add by URL” and enter
Hit “Back to Google Maps” in the top left and you’re off.
The result is stunning, and really shows off the power of mapplets: