For some time now developers have noticed the Windows version of Google Earth has an, until now, undocumented interface allowing control of Google Earth features. The interface uses a COM Type Library and Google has been quietly working to enhance the features. A few days ago, one of the developers of GE announced the BETA release of this interface at the Google Earth Community and the location of some documentation. What does all this technobabble mean? It means that programmers will be able to provide add-on capabilities to Google Earth enabling new unique features for controlling what you see. It means even more innovative applications of both the data and visualizations will be possible. It means you will see even more Amazing™ stuff here at this blog!
As an example of what’s possible, a programmer in Japan recently put together an application which lets you “drive” over Google Earth in a new fashion. Using his small program you can use the keyboard to move along the surface, including going up mountains or through streets in cities, and control your viewing angle and height. See his blog entry (which shows you how to install and use it – it requires Google Earth 4.0.2080 or greater). Or, for a fast look at it, watch this video:
By the way, for the Mac OS X there is also an undocumented API for Applescript. Read about it here.
My hope is that we will soon start seeing a collection of interesting add-ons to Google Earth which enable a wealth of valuable capabilities, tools, visualizations and even games. So, applications developers start your engines – its time to get innovative!