Google Earth Lesson Presentation

Richard Treves writes the Google Earth Design blog where he often analyzes various Google Earth content and provides critiques and suggestions with the intent to help people understand how to improve the user experience. Richard works at the School of Geography at the University of Southampton.

Brahmaputra River lesson in Google Earth

Last year Richard began some work developing a lesson plan using GE to describe the flooding of the Brahmaputra River. Now he has upgraded the plan to use Google Earth 5′s Tour option to present the content like a 3D movie. You can watch the new version here (it uses the GE plugin, and has audio, hit the “Play” button once GE loads). I think his new version greatly improves the presentation of the lesson content. The way he presents content for how water reaches the river is well done, and easy to follow. I like the use of placemarks which change to illustrate points. He also is using Dropbox to host the content, which is a pretty cool way to share GE content.
[UPDATE: Richard has updated his lesson to reflect the suggestions I made below.]
Since Richard likes to critique content, I have a few tips for him: 1) I think the first thing that should appear in his tour is a title screen overlay for the lesson (not just a voice intro). 2) He might want to mention on the title screen to turn on your speakers. 3) The embedded player should be set up with “Autoplay” rather than forcing the user to hit “Play”. 4) Alternatively, his web page could also provide some pointers such as turning on audio/speakers, title, etc. 5) The video at the end could be embedded in the placemark or shown on the same web page.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was released. He worked in 3D graphics for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank left in 2009 to circumnavigate the earth by sailboat as part of the Tahina Expedition.



Comments

  1. I criticise others so only fair I get feedback, also its the best way of learning in a novel area like this. Up to now its only been me who has made critical suggestions about my materials http://bit.ly/u6xZa :)
    “I think his new version greatly improves the presentation of the lesson content. The way he presents content for how water reaches the river is well done, and easy to follow. I like the use of placemarks which change to illustrate points.”
    Thanks.
    “He also is using Dropbox to host the content, which is a pretty cool way to share GE content.”
    Yup. Simplest way to get materials online IMHO.
    1) I think the first thing that should appear in his tour is a title screen overlay for the lesson (not just a voice intro).
    Good point. For a ‘quick and dirty’ tour its not strictly necessary but for something that’s taken a long time, like this, its worth it.
    2) He might want to mention on the title screen to turn on your speakers.
    Yup.
    3) The embedded player should be set up with “Autoplay” rather than forcing the user to hit “Play”.
    I used to use autoplay on tours within my blog but it means when you search within my blog you get multiple posts coming up. This includes old tours which then start playing even though they’re not visible on screen, most annoying. So I stopped using autoplay. However, in this case I put the tour in a separate page because of size issues so autoplay is sensible.
    4) Alternatively, his web page could also provide some pointers such as turning on audio/speakers, title, etc.
    I do describe it as an audio tour in the text but its not very explicit. I prefer your idea of intro screen as the way to do this.
    5) The video at the end could be embedded in the placemark or shown on the same web page.
    Actually the video was embedded in the placemark but didn’t seem to work in the plugin. Have you got videos working in placemarks in GE plugins? Putting it in the post is a good idea.
    Did you have a look at the tours within the lesson plan itself? I think the way I’ve done it works well when using GE in presentations.
    Will get those suggestions done soon.

  2. Richard Treves says:

    P.S. Forgot to say thanks for doing this!

  3. @Richard
    it’s major problem with embed videoes and GE5 plugin. I have some KMLs with YouTube videos. They works fine in Google Earth software but not in the plugin. I have even tried to insert the embed code of the videos in a CDDATA element … but that is not working. Seems like the GE 5 plugin have a problem with Flash objects from a KML file.
    I hope Google fixed this bug

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