We’ve talked about Google’s Liquid Galaxy project a number of times over the years, starting back in 2009 and showing neat things such as Paul van Dinther’s excellent A-tour along the way.
The End Point Corporation has been doing some great things with Liquid Galaxy recently, so we’ve asked their Business Technology Analyst Bianca Rodrigues to fill us in on what they’ve been doing. Her thoughts are below:
As readers here well know, the Google Earth platform provides an unparalleled exploration platform for our globe (and the Moon and Mars). At End Point, we are continuing to push this exploration platform further with the Liquid Galaxy: an interactive, panoramic system, which combines wrap-around screens and computers to create an immersive experience for the user controlled from a single SpaceNav controller, touchscreen, or Leap Motion
The Liquid Galaxy is an open source project founded by Google and further developed by End Point. It started out as a Google Earth viewer, but has evolved to become an ideal data visualization tool for operations, marketing, and research. It brings rich satellite imagery, oceanic data, and points of interest from all over the globe.
Liquid Galaxy for different industries
There are many applications, including real estate, GIS, events/hospitality, educational institutions and museums and aquariums.
With GIS, for example, End Point can take almost any data set that contains GIS coordinates and superimpose the data within Google Earth. The data visualizations—bar graphs, area heat maps, connecting lines—can then be navigated with a full spatial experience in a simulated 3D space.
Loading GIS data into Google Earth on the Liquid Galaxy as KML (one of Google Earth’s mark-up languages) helps users interact and visualize their data in a totally new way.
If you already have data in KML then it’s a no-brainer to use the Liquid Galaxy as a powerful tool to exhibit the data and to entrance audiences. If you don’t have your GIS data in KML format yet, End Point has a GIS-to-KML conversion service which can transform data to create an effective presentation in Google Earth.
This immersive multi-screen technology helps to promote a collaborative research environment. The Liquid Galaxy is perfect for an office operations center, data analysis center, civic planning, extractive industries, or equally great for an eye-catching corporate presentation at a trade show.
More Features: Interactive Spaces
Interactive Spaces is an Open Source project being developed at Google (originally in collaboration with The Rockwell Group’s Lab) for doing what it says: making physical spaces interactive. Interactive Spaces is a well-structured framework for connecting hardware peripherals (such as motion sensors, input devices, and monitor screens) with software applications (such as Google Earth, web browsers, and 3D games) to form a coherent interactive experience in a physical space.
With such a workable and robust platform available, Interactive Spaces is a natural fit for controlling the input and output events for the Liquid Galaxy. At its core the Liquid Galaxy is a multi-computer, multi-screen data interactivity platform, taking input from a touchscreen, 3D Space Navigator, or even a treadmill, and displaying different kinds of data on multiple screens: Google Earth, panoramic photos, panoramic videos, as well as non-panoramic imagery and data.
To date, End Point has been working in development and test mode on Interactive Spaces-powered Liquid Galaxies. In addition to the systems we have set up in our offices, we have set it up for testing at a couple of Google labs that have an interest in Interactive Spaces. The most visible change to the system is an overhaul of the touchscreen interface to blend the experience of Google Earth Locations and scenic Google Street View locations such as museum interiors and coral reefs.
The integration of Google Earth and Google Street View into a unified experience is one of the most exciting developments from adopting Interactive Spaces. The two applications fade into each other seamlessly, all orchestrated by an AngularJS webapp. Because every activity in the system communicates with the others, it was easy to have a map on the touchscreen follow the position of the Earth camera without the complexity of instructing different systems written in different languages to talk to each other.
Where we are taking it
We are embracing the possibilities of Interactive Spaces. As a scriptable event manager, with multiple input streams, programmable interactions, and married with the multi-screen-multi-device platform of the Liquid Galaxy, we’re excited about the new possibilities. We welcome input and conversations with other Open Source developers, shops, and end-client agencies to tax our brains on what we can make this great platform do. Got an idea? Ping End Point.
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.