Links: Russian Oil Spill, KML Screen Overlay Maker, Android Demo

  • Russian Oil Spill – Within days of the San Francisco oil spill, a huge storm struck a huge shipping area in the Kerch Strait between the Azov and Black Seas. Several ships were run aground by the storm, lives were lost, and at least one ship broke in half spilling tens of thousands of gallons of oil in the sea. Already there are reports this could be one of the worst ecological disasters in history (see BBC News story). If you look at the Kerch Strait in Google Earth , you can see many ships in the straight on just a typical day. via Google Earth Community.

  • KML Screen Overlay Maker – One of the nicer features in Google Earth for helping illustrate content is the Screen Overlay. This is the feature which can show a map legend, or put a logo on the screen for a particular KML file. But, you can’t simply select a menu choice in Google Earth to insert a Screen Overlay. You have to insert the necessary code into the KML manually. At least until now. Leszek Pawlowicz at FreeGeographyTools has developed a Windows application which helps you create a screen overlay for use with your KML content. He has written three blog posts describing the tool and how to use it. Read part 1, part 2, and part 3.

  • Android Demo – Last week Google revealed their open source Google phone operating system called Android to the world. A New York Times article discussed features they saw in a demonstration of Android including Google Earth. A bunch of people, including Stefan at OgleEarth were excited to hear about the possibility of Google Earth on a phone. But, I was doubtful – and in fact I contacted the NYT writers and they said they weren’t sure it was GE. Now Google has released a demonstration video of Android and it turns out there is a 3D globe application called “Global Time” in the phone software (at 3:55 in the video), but not Google Earth. See Stefan’s new analysis. I agree that it is possible Google Earth could be made available on the OS, but until more phones have the necessary 3D performance capability – it won’t be commonplace to see GE running on them. However, I do believe Google will have a GE-related application – possibly a scaled-down version of GE – available on Android for those phones which can run it.

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.


  1. Jiro Shirota says:

    I have this thing called “Super Overlay Generator”. 16MB max please!
    I don’t know how long I’ll keep this URL.

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