Links: Planet Orbits, SuperOverlay 2.0, GEC 1 million, Google Social Network

  • Planet Orrery in Google Earth Sky

    Planet Orbits – James Stafford has posted at his Barnabu blog another Google Earth Sky add-on. This one goes perfectly with the Planets in Motion layer to illustrate why the planets move the way they do in our night sky. The Planets in Motion layer shows icons representing each planet and its position on a particular night. It also uses the Google Earth time slider to let you watch how the positions change from night to night. James created a planets overlay showing a diagram of the planets in their orbits (not to scale) in the upper left which also has the time data. As the time slider moves, you can see the positions of the planets relative to each other and the sun. Another one Google should ask to let them include in the layers – nice work James!

  • SuperOverlay 2.0 – Valery Hrosunov has posted a new version of his tool for inserting high resolution image overlays into Google Earth: SuperOverlay 2.0 (beta). This was the same tool that is being used to create the Burning Man 2007 aerial image overlay.

  • GEC 1 million – By the way, the Google Earth Community a few days ago crossed over 1 million posts! And, there are now over 900,000 registered members.

  • Google Social Network – Ionut Alex Chitu posted at his Google Operating System blog some information from students at Arizona State University who were given a questionnaire from a “major Internet company” that alludes to a new 3D social network world. Based on several factors, he concludes the proposed social network link is coming from Google. The questionnaire even says the product is hypothetically called “My World“. There has been a lot of speculation about Google doing something like SecondLife using Google Earth or technologies based on it. Avi Bar-Zeev picked up on this new speculation and posted at his blog, Reality Prime, some more thoughts. Avi, who helped develop software at Key Hole which eventually became Google Earth, thinks Google could add social network functions to Google Earth, or a version of Google Earth, and even let people use Google SketchUp to help add 3D objects to the world. He thinks the result would be something more like a “3D My Space” than a GE SecondLife. He doesn’t believe it is possible to use the current GE model to create a SecondLife type metaverse – and I agree.
    I also think that adding more social network functions (don’t forget, we already have the Google Earth Community layers and community built 3D Buildings in GE) inside GE would be an excellent way to continue to help build the GeoWeb. Encouraging people to help add more meaningful information tied to location and tie it back into the web is what the GeoWeb is all about. A few months ago Google started supporting KML searching by indexing KML files so you can search them. Google Earth could be an even better mechanism for creating the GeoWeb with the proper social networking interfaces – something I’ve thought about for a while now. I just hope Google comes up with a better interface for layers, because the one in Google Earth now is already difficult for people to fully grasp and properly use. Add more social networking content and things could get really messy. Google will have to turn to their knowledge of search to make working with the layers better.

Instead of “News Roundup”, I’m switching over to “Links” for these type of collective posts. The reasons being that the label is shorter, and “Links” is what more and more blogs are using for the title to posts with combined entries.

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. Super Overlay Beta 2, I finally caved and purchased Plus. It’s not bad! I’m still adopting to the settings, however, and asking Val if there’s some ways to auto-calc certain constants that I think the app could benefit from.
    I’ve been in a major SuperOverlay trial session as of late, testing out a variety of projects that I think are the most ‘intuative’ or interesting in their approach.
    MapCruncher from MS Labs, I thought I’d try-out to see how the CrunchUp2KML utility would work-out.
    The problem I instantly noticed there — was that MS MapCruncher doesn’t read-in already georeferenced imagery sources. Instead, you’re forced to generate control-points, which makes it extremely redundant and forces imagery to become even less accurate! NOT a good approach, unless you have imagery that needs rectification.
    (I also question how this tool in being used at MS, if it is, and whether it creates accuracy issues within VE/Live.)
    Another cool thing that I’ve been testing, is the GDAL2Tiles script for FWTools — from the OSGeo camp, created by Klokan Petr PÅ™idal from the Google Summer of Code project.
    That one’s extremely fast in processing — but there’s an inherent issue currently with it writing from the bottom-left corner of the image – out, which causes additional pixels to be rendered. I’m keeping my eye on this though, and I’ve already gotten it to write using GDAL’s JPEG driver instead of PNG (which is when the additional pixels were noticed).
    The nicest thing about the GDAL2Tiles project, however, is that it adheres to the TMS guidelines for file-structure, and allows you to output document structures for KML, XML (TMS), OpenLayers, and Google Maps — all the while being able to parse and write directly with your FWTools install. (It’s not dependent on additional libraries!)
    I’m probably going to keep my eye on that one the most.

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.