Early adopters: GMap-Track goes 3D

If you visit this blog via a web browser today (versus, say, a newsfeed reader) then youmay notice a difference in the upper right-hand corner of the page: If you’re visiting with a Windows machine, you’ll see that the map has gone 3D. If you don’t have the Google Earth plugin installed yet, you will be asked to install it.

What’s interesting, however, is that if you’re visiting with a non-Windows browser, then the map looks just like it always has. That’s because Cristian Streng, the developer behind the Mobile GMaps/GMap-Track sites that lets me update my position on my blog via my mobile phone, was able to use a sniffer in his Javascript code to check my operating system before deciding which kind of map to return.

That’s the way it should be from a usability point of view. Mac users like myself hate to be reminded of features they can’t install. We’ll wait patiently for a few months until the Mac version comes out, of course, but in the meantime we’d like to pretend it doesn’t exist:-).

If you’re a developer, please do the same if you’re going to start using the plugin on your site — let it degrade gracefully for Mac users. Please don’t inflict pop-up reminders on us for a Windows plugin we can’t install.

If you want to know how to add Cristian’s gracefully degrading 3D map to your site, here’s what he has to say:

In order to enable it on your website change the map change in the embedded code from mt=s to mt=e . That means you should replace the iframe line with something like this:

<iframe scrolling=”no” style=”border:0;padding:0;margin:10px;”


&zoom=13&mt=e&w=300&h=170″ width=”300″ height=”170″>

An account on GMap-Track is free, of course. My parents love it:-)

4 thoughts on “Early adopters: GMap-Track goes 3D”

  1. I have also added an option called “Earth 3D” for the map type in the “show on your website” form on gmap-track.com, it’s easier to generate the iframe code that way.

    Another thing: Google’s plugin only works on Windows in Internet Explorer (all versions) or Firefox 2.0. For all other browsers or platforms including Firefox 3.0 the satellite imagery will be shown instead in the embedded frame.

  2. Actually, I respectfully disagree. From a useability standpoint, it’s not the best thing. I am on a windows machine at work (yes, yes, I should be “working”!) using a portable firefox installation. Now, every time I visit your site (instead of through a rss reader), I get an annoying pop-up asking me to install a missing plugin, which I am unable to do as I don’t have admin rights on the machine. So… of course, this is not your fault, nor is it really Cristian’s fault. What should be done (and I don’t know if it’s even possible) is for the map to have a button for the advanced functions, which when clicked THEN gives you a popup or whatever about installing the plugin. I imagine that’s something that Google will need to look into for the API code (though I could of course be wrong).THAT’S what I’d like to see.

  3. Assuming it’s just a glitch in the Gmap side, but neither your regular nor 3D mini-map is showing up for me, and I’ve downloaded the plugin.

  4. Silly me… Just go here for the answer to me previous post. Obviously, this is what I was looking for, but not something that everyone will use, as we can see on this very page.

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