Category Archives: Process

Google Earth tools

Two Google Earth tools, courtesy of the mysterious Meils:

“1. Smooth Path takes the path you give him to chew on, performs a cubic interpolation between the successive points in it and spits out a fresh kml-file with the result.”

“2. Random Path extracts the coordinates from your placemark and generates a random path around it.”

The first one is great for avoiding those rather abrupt changes in course when flying above a typical turn in a path. This makes it much more like flying. The second one is akin to, erm, flying suicidally?

Filling in the blanks

Blogger Taylor Monacelli had a list of 1,200 zip codes with neighborhood names he would have liked mapped on Google Earth, but no coordinates. What if he made a KML file without the <point> and <coordinates> tags?

Sure enough, Google Earth opened the file and filled in the blanks for him. It found coordinates for all his neighborhoods. His post goes into the details.

Google Earth + Blogwise

Blogwise lists over 50,000 blogs in its directories for you to browse. Those blogs that have position metatags in their headers can now be browsed in Google Earth via a dynamically generated KML file that lists the 50 blogs closest to the center of your view.

If you don’t yet have Google Earth (i.e. you are a Mac user) then you can still do this via Blogwise’s Blog Maps. The advantage in using Google Earth, however, is that you can see more than one layer of data at a time. In Google Earth, you can now simultaneously see the closest Blogwise blogs, links and Flickr photos if you want (and a lot more). We’re beginning to have some serious functionality here.

So, if your blog hasn’t been submitted yet to Blogwise, perhaps now is a good time. And if your blog does not yet have positioning metadata, here is what you do: Use this souped up version of Google Maps (in Satellite mode outside the USA) to center yourself on the map, find your latitude and longitude (displayed below the map) and then use these instructions to add a position meta tag to the header of your blog.

DIY Real Time GPS Tracker

Only last week I was fantasizing about how cool it would be to map one’s GPS coordinates in real time onto Google Earth while flying across the Atlantic with Scandinavian Airlines and connecting to the internet using the onboard wifi.

This week, it would seem that we’re already almost there. Brady Davis

and Jeffrey Hicks have hacked Google Maps to bring you the DIY Real Time GPS Tracker. It currently works with Google Maps, not (yet?) Google Earth, and it isn’t for the programmatically challenged, but it is most impressive.

Given that the conversion tools from Google Maps to Google Earth already exist, tracking onto Google Earth can’t be too far away, can it?


Google Sightseeing is the first blog (that I know of) to do something I think will become ubiquitous: Provide a site KML file in addition to an RSS file, as a matter of course.

It makes most obvious sense for a site devoted to places as viewed via Google mapping technology, but all blogs that at least occasionaly post content involving locations should consider publishing KML feeds; they provide another way into the site — Google Earth users who subscribe to blogs’ KML feeds to surf geographically. A trivial example: One blogger might review one restaurant, another might review a competitor around the corner; GE makes the link explicit.