Follow a Book, Check Aeronautical Charts in Google Earth Plugin

A couple of new applications of the new Google Earth API plugin have caught my attention. The Google Earth plugin lets you run a special version of Google Earth in a browser, but works on Windows only at the moment and is supported on Internet Explorer and Mozilla/Firefox browsers (see more details about it). Mac and Linux version will hopefully be released soon.
Here are the two new Earth plugin applications I found interesting:

  1. Follow a Book – A new book by Clyde W. Ford called “Precious Cargo” is being promoted with online map information at his web site which point out locations described in the book. Clyde has developed a mapping interface, which he calls OnScene (note: Windows only, and you need to install both Virtual Earth and the GE API plugin if you haven’t already), which lets you view the maps of the book in either Virtual Earth or the Google Earth plugin. The author chose to support both 3D plugins because in some locations one or the other maps has better imagery or 3D building data. Look for the “Location Index” on the right at the OnScene site. I found it a little annoying that after viewing a few of the placemarks, you are forced to register with his site if you want to continue. But, I have to admire the application of the technology, and the entrepreneurial intent to capitalize on a book, and add geospatial context to a story, in an innovative new way.

  2. Check Aeronautical Charts – ‘Forkboy2’ (whose real name is Matt Fox) has posted a new Earth API application showing a super-overlay composite of aeronautical charts of the US . As you zoom in, the charts become clearer so you can see the details which pilots use to understand the terrain and navigational information related to flying. There are also options below for 3D airspace models and Terminal Aera charts. The same file is available as a KML for viewing in the normal Google Earth from Matt’s web site Google Earth Library

See also the easy to use Earth API application called EarthSwoop which GearthHacks and GEB developed together. EarthSwoop lets you view and share places on the Earth. Check out the Beijing Olympics for example.

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. You can thank the WorldWind forum member nlneilson for all his hard work ( in gathering the maps and processing them and letting other use his work.

  2. Shame the supporting website (follow a book) doesn’t work in FF3 for follow a book. I also think a track following the story would be better than an index of placemarks – why not put the links in the text too? (or have I just not seen enough pages to see the links?)

  3. @Richard: The book applications works just fine for me on Firefox 3. Does Virtual Earth 3D work for you? Google made a fix a few weeks ago to support FF3 with the Earth API that didn’t require a download.

  4. Like Richard I had some trouble with the book applicationn using Firefox 3

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