Creating amazing Google Earth tours with TourMaker

Last month we showed you Paul van Dinther’s amazing “A-tour” — a nine-screen set-up that is an incredible way to view Google Earth tours.
To keep things running smooth and stable, the system actually shows various videos captured from Google Earth, which Paul loads ahead of time. The result is stunning, but building those videos has proven to be quite an effort. To help with that, Paul has created a tool called “TourMaker” that does much of the work for him. While building it, his system looks something like this:


The result is some very impressive tours, such as the one seen here:

Here’s more of what Paul had to say about it:

A cubic spline is fitted through each location but also for each camera orientation parameter such as heading, tilt and roll. The result is a silky smooth camera animation that can be fined tuned by adjusting any of the 18 views.

A spline doesn’t care how far apart each position node is so in addition to the six splines controlling the camera I may need a seventh spline that controls time but the speed can be controlled quite nicely by careful node placement.

Tourmaker is able to output KML tour data based on any duration and field of view. However, for A-tour I need 9 tour files for each display. For this the tourmaker can output a project file that can be processed by my existing proprietary tour manipulation software. Since all these are internal tools it will do the job.

The software isn’t yet available to the public, but Paul is hoping to fine-tune it and release it sometime soon. In the meantime, you can grab this KMZ file to play the Grand Canyon tour for yourself.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. Its look a great tool!

  2. So did this come out yet?

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