Links: Homework, Google Moon, Assyrian skies

  • Fantastic story: Julian Bencito goes way beyond the call of homework duty, enlisting Google Earth’s help. And thus the virtual once again becomes real…


  • Google Moon. (Via Lat Long Blog). A version for Google Earth is on the way, says the FAQ. Bull’s Rambles argues that NASA World Wind has had this for a while. Still, Google Moon’s datasets are detailed, delicious and accessible.
  • Old Skies: We’re used to historians and archaeologists using KML to mark sites of interest. One web resource went a bit further: Knowledge and Power in the Neo-Assyrian Empire also shows you Assyrian constellations marked out for Google Sky. A bit rudimentary, but a very good idea.
  • Political PhotoOverlay: Another innovative use of Google Earth as a political tool: An iconic photo reminding us of China’s spotty human rights record presented as a KML 2.2 PhotoOverlay:


  • KML Circle: Digital Sanitation Engineering‘s Nick Galbreath has created kmlcircle, a Google Code project for generating KML that describes circles, polygons and stars.
  • gpicsync: Another Google Code project: gpicsync, for georeferencing photos using GPS tracks. (Via AnyGeo)
  • EPA chooses VE: News that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chose Microsoft Virtual Earth over Google Earth. Digital Earth Blog puzzles over EPA’s stated reasons. I wonder if the main reason wasn’t that Virtual Earth, being browser-based, is free to use by businesses, whereas Google Earth was not until recently. I myself am puzzling over why the EPA chose a specific client rather than a standard, like KML. It’s like announcing back in 1995 that you’ve decided to adopt Internet Explorer for all your web publishing, as opposed to HTML.
  • Project Kraken? Matt Giger is upset with last week’s Economist article for not mentioning his EarthBrowser as the first geobrowser. I was an early user of Earthbrowser, and while it was fun and innovative, it wasn’t a geobrowser, in that anyone can publish their own content to it. That’s what defines the geoweb, and it is what Keyhole Earth first allowed with KML.

    In the same post Matt mentions Project Kraken as his next big project, to be released in the next 30 days. “It will compete for mindshare with Google Earth” he says, but he’s not revealing much more just yet. Anyone willing to venture a guess what it might be?

  • Mars: Remember those mysterious holes on Mars? There’s a new, more revealing view of them. Here’s a closeup. (Via Astronomy Blog)

25 thoughts on “Links: Homework, Google Moon, Assyrian skies”

  1. Bull, I think you are being a tad defensive. Of course NWW is also detailed and delicious, but as for accessible — where’s the version for my Mac that’s been promised for ages? I can run Google Moon in my browser.

  2. Stefan.. “accessible” means available OUTSIDE of it’s core system. GE imagery is NOT accessible since you need GE to view it.

    That is what Bull_UK is referring too. So really, all the WW imagery can be viewed in all OSes on any application, you don’t NEED World Wind. As for a Mac, use WWJava then. :)

  3. I’m not talking about GE and NWW imagery, I am talking about GE and NWW. GE is accessible to me, as in I can use it on my computer. NWW and WWJava are not. (NWWjava is some kind of SDK, and hence no something you wish upon a schoolkid.)

  4. Sorry — should’ve have proofread the previous comment. I mean Google Moon is accessible to me, a Mac user, whereas NWW is not.

    And you’re right, Google Moon’s imagery is not available via an API (as far as I know), but Google’s Earth imagery is.

  5. Stefan…if you want a Mac version, code one up yourself or contract it out. Nothing is stopping someone from making a Mac version. I know it’s easier for someone else to do the work, while others sit back and complain.

    And frankly, there isn’t any argument about who had the Moon’s imagery out first(at least between NWW and GE). It was NWW, not Google. So not sure how one can argue when the facts show otherwise.

    It gets old, people who over tout one product over another. Especially when credit isn’t properly given or improperly taken. Which Google and Googlers seem to do the later way too much(IMHO). Google is number 1, we are the world……


  6. “It gets old, people who over tout one product over another.”

    Reread my post. I made no comparisons. The touting started in the comments.

    Re WWJ for Mac: There doesn’t have to be one, if nobody wants to make one, and I certainly don’t have the time, skill or money, but there was plenty of breast-beating by NWW boosters a year ago about how NWW for the Mac was imminent. I’m waiting.

  7. One other thing.

    Concerning human rights. I find it somewhat ironic touting GE to view human rights issues. Yet, Google(even Yahoo and MS) are guilty of helping China(maybe others) abuse or infringe people’s human rights.

    Remember the Do No Evil pledge? hahah ya right. Money talks and BS walks, as always!!


  8. Stefan….

    It isn’t just this post or even just yourself. I see too many examples of what I mentioned. I just get really tired of the “over promotion” of the product. Google isn’t the only one of over doing it, others are just as guilty.

    It gets old when Google trys to make it seem they are first or even at times the only game in town. I know its part of doing business. But ghessss.

    It could be my bias against Google overall is affecting my judgement. :)

    I can’t speak to the promises the NWW community made. But my statement still stands. Instead of waiting around, someone take the bull by the horns and make a Mac version. Isn’t that what an open source community suppose to do, not just the NWW community?


  9. I’m not attempting to speak for Stefan or anyone else regarding the differences between the apps. I’ve been involved in a couple of the other programs that were paralleled in timing along with Keyhole at one point.

    But the fact does remain, and I think we can all agree on this — that Google has made it possible for the majority of end-users to experience all the things, we as developers, have been involved in over the years.

    That is the point to accessibility that I think people like Stefan and I (and many others) have pointed out, and as realistically as possible. We even have our own little complaints when things may not be entirely worked-out, so no one can say we don’t get just as much as we give.

    It’s not about this supposed ‘fan-boy’ thing that everyone likes assume. It’s about the fact that people like us are just as much technologists who are latching onto practical innovations where we see it makes sense — and where it has the capacity to change the totality of the landscape in end-user practice.

    The reality is — that iniatives such as NWW and others are benefiting from the competitive nature that’s even being displayed here in the discussion. The reality is — that Google has taken the default market-share for use of these apps by the public, and because they are fully accessible to the public. The reality is, that because of that accessibility, and practicality, they will sustain well beyond other initiatives because they’ll be integrated into wide use by educators, scientists, production specialists, and hobbyists.

    That is something that NWW was never able to accomplish all these years — and it boggles my mind that anyone would even attempt to argue the point. NWW has been locked in the box of the world of the developer — Google busted through that and took it out of the box for everyone to use and enjoy. It’s as simple as that. They didn’t reinvent the wheel — but the community at large is innovating in its use.

    That is the reality. And whether anyone feels a little ‘burned’ or ‘offed’ by that, is absolutely silly.

  10. And the thing that I get defensive about whenever I hear these arguments, is because it doesn’t take a rocket-scientist or a road scholar to look at that picture above of Julian Bencito to come to the sum it depicts.

    It’s time everyone started growing up a little, and either be a part of the solution or a part of the overall problem in this industry — which I’ve seen play out a thousand times over. And it’s name is Ego.

  11. “It could be my bias against Google overall is affecting my judgement.”

    I think it is, frankly. I’m not a Google employee, but I’m certainly partial to Google Earth (for obvious reasons). However, I’ll point out a few flaws in your arguments:

    1. Google’s unofficial slogan is not “do no evil.” It’s “don’t be evil.” I don’t know why people can’t get this straight, but the core idea seems to be: “don’t act like MS,” not “be Ghandi.” As far as China goes, you got it backwards. Google has unfortunately censored political information to provide better overall service (note: some US forces seek to censor here concerning terrorism). Yahoo, on the other hand, has helped China arrest political activists and deserves to be sued for it, IMO. World of difference. Cisco reportedly sells equipment for spying on citizens. Microsoft, has its hands dirty as well. Censorship is the least of the human rights abuses in China.

    2. If your goal is to make NWW the best in _everyone’s_ eyes, then focus on _making_ your product the best in everyone’s eyes. Compete, don’t complain. You have to convince people, not bully or guilt them into agreeing with you.

    3. This site is called Ogle Earth, and notes a special focus on Google Earth. I don’t know what you expect (see #2), but this behavior isn’t exactly the thing that will get journalists to give you more press, at least not positive press. Perhaps you can designate the most diplomatic of your group to be the sole PR spokesperson?

  12. Avi….

    You may be right about #1. It was my understanding Google done what Yahoo and others have done, in regard to providing information. I haven’t gone back yet to re-research it. And probably won’t, given time.

    Thinking of China and MS. I’ve heard a rumor as to MS selling China Windows source code. Is that true or a urban legend?

    I was using it as a example(if correct). There are plenty of other reasons why I don’t like Google as a whole, most are along the lines of political. Especially those on the board and in the decision making process. They are not my cup of tea.(which I’m being honest and open about so people have an understanding why or where I’m coming from, not that I expect them to care. :) I don’t hide from my biases) So, time to time, I will have what people will think is a knee-jerk reaction, which it isn’t, it has a deep rooted reason.

    Also, I have a problem with one company trying to manage and/or hog all the information in the world. A one-stop shopping place. Who’s to say they won’t censor what they don’t like? They have been accused of in the past, iirr, regarding political ads and a something else which escapes me atm.

    I understand they are a private company and can do almost anything they want to do. But one can’t have it both ways. Wanting to catalogue and provide a free-flow of information to the entire world. Then on the other hand, willing to censor information because of personnel/political reasons or even to curry favor with a country.

    As for #2, I’m not involved with NWW beyond using the program and pay taxes to support NASA. So I have no goals in mind. Nor do I belong to the group. So, I don’t have to compete. :)

    And who was complaining? I see complaining about a Mac version of NWW. At least with NWW, a person can fix those complaints, unlike with GE. NWW is open sourced, so code away or pay/prod someone else to. Don’t wait on the govt to provide funds for the project, it may be a cold day in hell before that happens.

    The complaining is on both sides and goes both ways. The only thing I complain about is the unfair and unwarranted credit GE gets time to time(and sometimes the release of certain imagery or information deemed not useful; like the military base imagery in Basra). The functionality and like of GE, I don’t say a peep about. And could care less, if and when GE gets around to it. It’s free product and I can’t complain about what is there or isn’t in GE.

    When GE came out people rant and raved about the product. People acted as thou it was first and new(yes it was a new product, but not a new concept). It wasn’t anything new and that attitude still exists today. For example, look at some of the past write-ups on Google Moon. The same info and more was already available to be viewed elsewhere. Without the Google stamp mark on it, no one seemed to pay attention or even care about it. But now Google has it, stop the presses.

    Again, I expect things like that in a competitive world, a company or people toot their own horn over others. It doesn’t mean I like it or accept it.

    I will say to be fair, it is nice to have another resource out there to view geospatial content.

    Yes this blog is mainly for GE. But there are plenty of non-GE posts here as well. If Stefan(not saying he does) or others deem to not like comments, then kill the comments section.

    As for the press. Journalists have ignored NWW, even prior to the release of GE. So, I don’t expect it to change anytime in the future. And frankly, that may be good. :) Considering where NWW is being used in our govt.

    One more thing. So what, the actually phrase of Google is. Really!! It’s the same meaning. In my mind don’t be evil and do no evil are pretty much the same thing.

    Thinking of evil, I wonder what Google’s stance is on global warming, in particular the so called man-made. I don’t know off hand. I bet Goggles carbon foot-print from their corp planes and the boards planes is very, very huge. Like that nice re-fitted 767?


  13. daniel…

    Weren’t you a “tad burned or miffed” as to not being recgonized bridging the gap between neo-geographers/cartos and traditional geographers/cartos?

    At least that is how I took your comments to be.

    Everyone has a ego, if they say they don’t. They are a liar. Also remember when pointing at others, three fingers are pointing back at the same time. And yes I take my own advice and love see those fingers pointing back. :)

    And GE isn’t fully accessible to the public. Maybe you meant it another way. Try and pull images off their servers for your own use outside of GE and see what happens.

    Otherwise, I generally agree with your comments. It’s is nice to have another resource available to the public. We have to think about the children, only 10cents a day can go along way.


  14. I don’t think I was over the top in my comments, I just made an informed post on my blog showing how powerful NWW Moon is, from what I have read Google Moon uses the same data sources so it can’t be any better than NWW.

    The main difference between NWW and GE is not the quality of the products, but purely the PR money behind them, being a small gov project NWW has no PR budget, Google has a huge budget.

    What worries me is that GE will force all thier competitors to give up and then we will be left with a monopoly, run by a company who’s main aim is profit.

  15. KoS,

    I’m not exactly sure how to respond to someone who openly admits to having no clue what they’re talking about.

    Say, aren’t you the one that tried to get all smart on me at the All Points Blog, and then when asked what kind of involvement you have in any of the technologies being discussed, the answer was, “Partial”?

    Funny how that keeps playing out with you.

  16. Dan my boy….

    Sorry, if someone says they are not sure or don’t know something(not sure where you came up with this). What’s so wrong with that?

    At least I don’t think I’m a know it all or even have all the answers. If I’m wrong, I’m more than willing to admit it. I’m more than happy to learn from mistakes or otherwise. I’m more than willing to admit I don’t know things, doesn’t mean I can’t. I don’t have that kind of ego problem. Unlike you, it would seem.

    My daily dealings with imagery or associate technology(I’m more a vector man), which is what you asked in the first place. Is partial. I use imagery as a back drop and do some photo interpretation and some rectification. Maybe you should go back and re-read what I said.

    I keep up on the industry and technology. Alot of it, I don’t interact with in my daily dealings.

    Take that and smoke it. I’ve tried to be nice, but in the end I don’t suffer fools. Especially lefist fools. And I won’t fool around with you anymore. Keep the ego flowing.

    And I didn’t bother reading the linked post. I saw daily-kos in the link and don’t want to waste my time.



  17. But the important point to the entire mess we got ourselves into in this discussion — is that a young boy has become inspired by a program that was at his ready disposal.

    Which, is what I like about the story — and it’s everything that I dream about happening from the industry. To influence, to inspire, to captivate, to motivate, to spark the possibility of interest that’ll cause a next generation of geographers, cartographers, GIS analysts, scientists, environmentalists, etc. And most of all, awareness.

    If that’s lefist, so be it. I suppose I’ll place that pin on my ego moving forward.

Comments are closed.