Keir at Google Maps Mania is one of the first to actively make use of the new GE 5 Plugin for browsers to show recorded tours. Keir created a couple of recorded tours – one using the new Mars mode of GE 5 combined with a podcast by NASA about Mars , and the other of Mount Redoubt (the volcano which recently erupted in Alaska) with a narration including details from the US government about the status of the volcano.
Click the “Enter Tour” button to begin the tour. The rest of the buttons are self-explanatory. These are good examples of why I think the new GE 5 plugin will be very useful. It enables people to get 3D tours with music, narration, and interactive capabilities. For example, while these tours are playing back, you can grab the scene and look in a different direction. Or, you can pause and look around before resuming the playback.
News media and educators should definitely take note. With the new GE Plugin you can now have a snazzy 3D tour with the GE Plugin to show people a unique geographical location and add KML to illustrate key locations, add image overlays, etc. Combine that with the ability to do voice narration, and you’ve got a really powerful geospatial visualization capability anyone can use. Plus, the file size can be really small – the biggest part would be the voice narration in most cases. Even smaller than a video.