Where 2.0 – Day 1 – Mid-day report

Where 2.0 LogoThis is just a quick summary of some of the other important announcements made so far today which are Google Earth-related from the Where 2.0 Day 1 events. More details will come tomorrow morning when I have a chance to report more fully.

  • Google Maps Mapplets – The announcement presentation by Google this morning was cut short, the portion of the announcement related to Mapplets was not covered fully. This new capability could be particularly significant. It allows you to compare different Maps mashups together collectively. See some details at the Google Lat Long blog. To put this in Google Earth terms – it is like adding your own layers of content on top of Google Maps (just like the layers or your own Places layers work in Google Earth). Turn them on and off selectively. Also, you can add KML files to the mix. I’ll be talking more about this soon.

  • Sounds for Google Earth – We finally got to see – actually hear – the new KML content from Wild Sanctuary. It is a file which lets you visit locations around the world and hear soundscapes collected by Bernie Kraus who has been collecting sounds for locations around the world for 40 years. He has 3500 soundscapes, and 15,000 sounds of different animals from around the world. You can now visit their new site and try it out yourself at: http://earth.wildsanctuary.com/.

  • Garmin – Garmin has announced Garmin Developer – developer.garmin.com – and a number of new services to enhance the ability to interface their GPS products with mapping applicatins. They have developed a communication API to allow software applications and mapping tools to tap into your GPS data. They are leveraging technology and talent when Garmin acquired MotionBased.com . Several people I spoke to at Where are excited about the possibilities these new development interfaces could enable.

  • Virtual Earth – Microsoft’s Eric Jorgensen shared some information about Microsoft’s Virtual Earth application and data. He said Microsoft’s objective is to offer a fully realistic representation of the entire World. The camera technology Microsoft acquired through the purchase of Vexcel is the reason they have been able to acquire high-quality aerial photography and Bird’s Eye views at such a prodigious rate. These cameras are critical for their mostly-automated 3D building creation system. They now have 100 cities in 3D, including New York City, and plan to have 500 cities by next year. Also shown were the MapCruncher for creating overlays, and the research tool Photosynth which enables 3D creation from ground-based cameras. Some pretty exciting building interior shots were shown. Their primary focus in on accuracy, realism, and scale. My initial thoughts: the more data the better! I hope this keeps the pressure on Google to create even more inspiring data themselves.

  • 3D Data Panel – I wish this panel could have been longer – On the platform were: Mike Liebhold – IFTF.org, moderator; Michael Jones – CTO of Google Earth; Steven Lawler – Microsoft Virtual Earth; Don Cooke, TeleAtlas; Jack Dangermond, ESRI; and David Colleen, Planet 9. Lots of talk about how important adding the third dimension to the GeoWeb is critical. Microsoft and Google both discussed their approach to acquiring 3D data of cities. Planet 9 announced a thing called Raygun which is their own SecondLife-like 3D world of the real world – including building interior modeling. There was discussion about the importance of being able to take the data models used by these various competing data resources and being able to share that data with other applications. Google made sure to emphasize their introduction of KML to the open standards process through the OGC, and their support of the Collada file format standard for their 3D models. Microsoft pointed out their support of a plug-in architecture will enable alternative 3D renderings to allow more realistic special effects. Unfortunately they ran out of time and the planned Q&A session didn’t happen.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.


  1. That’s good news about the Garmin developers network. It made me think of a really cool app developed by the Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources, which they call DNR Garmin. The new beta version, 5.2 (as of 5/30/07), allows you to upload/download GPS data from most Garmin GPS devices to/from GE. You can make KML files as well. I tried it with a Garmin Rino 130 and it worked great! The beta version is said to have trouble with USB connected GPS devices. I haven’t tried it yet. Check out the software at: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mis/gis/tools/arcview/extensions/DNRGarmin/DNRGarmin.html

  2. fyi- Raygun from Planet 9 Studios is built with Web3D Consortium’s ISO Standards VRML 2.0 and X3D. David Colleen was asked onto the panel to bring earth requirements on X3D into the mix. Raygun also supports COLLADA and several X3D players import COLLADA, so if earth applications support these two compatible open industry standards, interoperability, at least from the 3D model perspective, would be here tomorrow.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.