GETools – Brian Flood – author of the excellent Arc2Earth tools for GIS folks, is working on some new tools for working with Google Earth. He’s working to turn the tools into a product which he’s calling GETools. He has been developing various ways to interact with Google Earth through its little-known API (which also hasn’t seen a lot of development by Google). Based on some demonstration videos he has released, the tools will enable some pretty cool functions. My favorite is the implementation allowing draggable directions to work inside Google Earth (I believe he’s leveraging the Google Maps API to perform the same function in Google Earth – which Google hasn’t done themselves!). I’m looking forward to seeing these tools released Brian!
Microsoft Maps KML Better Than Google Maps – KML was recently approved as an international standard by OGC. But, KML is already reaching wide acceptance in the geospatial visualization world. In fact, it appears Microsoft’s implementation for KML in their 2D version of Virtual Earth is better than Google Maps’ implementaiton of KML. And, it’s true. I’ve tested it myself. Google Maps does not show large KML files with lots of vector data. But, Microsoft’s recent update to Virtual Earth handles them just fine. Google thinks this is a good thing because they are excited to see KML reach broader implementations.
3D Bridges – Gerardo Paz of Buenos Aires, Argentina (who translates GEB to Spanish) is also a 3D modeler, and he has posted some excellent 3D models of bridges in Argentina. Notice how he has even edited the underlying imagery to remove the aerial photo of the bridges while replacing them with 3D. You can see all four bridges here in GE. Here’s a collection of other bridges found in 3D Warehouse.
Royal Australian 3D – The Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) has released a layer featuring hundreds of unique buildings and structures in Australia. This is similar to the layer for GE released last year by the American Institute of Architects. In the RAIA layer , each placemark contains photos and details of each site and links to more information. In addition, they have modeled 60 of their favorite structures and uploaded them to the Google 3D Warehouse, so you can easily choose and download them for viewing in Google Earth. I do wish their layer of placemarks highlighted the locations with the 3D models with a different placemark icon and provided a link in the placemarks to download the models. In fact, I sent that as a suggestion. See the Google post about this new content, and the RAIA web page.
EPA Award – The US Environmental Protection Agency has given an environmental award to Terradex for its development of a Google Earth network link called AirWatch that dynamically shows air quality for the US (and the UK, China, and Mexico City – see post). This work inspired the development of the EPA’s AirNow application for Google Earth. See details from Google about the award announcement.