Released in February 2014 the Google Maps Gallery is a good way to find interesting maps that are based on Google’s mapping products. The Gallery used to include maps from several Google products, including Google Maps Engine(GME) and Google My Maps.
In January of this year, Google Maps Engine was deprecated by Google and it will be turned off on January 29th, 2016. As part of this deprecation, Google initially stopped allowing GME users to publish their maps to the Google Maps Gallery, and in the last week have removed all GME maps from the Gallery.
There is a special type of KML network link that causes Google Earth to load the linked data as a layer in ‘Layers’ instead of the usual ‘Places’. Maps loaded this way cannot be copied/edited or rather annoyingly even bookmarked. This allows map publishers to let users view their maps but not easily copy them. We believe that Google Earth used OAuth 1.0 for this type of network link.
Because of the retirement of OAuth 1.0, a couple of weeks ago Google pushed out Google Earth version 7.1.5, which includes the new OAuth 2.0. Google then sent out an email to GME users stating that users wishing to view their GME maps in Google Earth will need to upgrade to version 7.1.5. As of this writing however, we are still able to open some public GME maps in older versions of Google Earth.
Last year we showed you two different ways to open maps from the Google Maps Gallery in Google Earth. At the time, clicking the “View in Google Earth” button always loaded the map via Google’s special network link that loaded the maps in ‘Layers’. However, that has now been changed so that they load as ordinary KML’s in ‘Places’.
So, what do the above changes mean to you? We do recommend upgrading to the latest version of Google Earth – find download links at the end of this post. If you have public GME maps, they are no-longer easy to find on the Gallery so, consider porting them to My Maps or finding other ways to publicise them. Google’s own ‘Imagery Updates’ maps are no-longer easy to find and even if you know where to find them it is not obvious how to view them in Google Earth. For example this map has no obvious “View in Google Earth” or “download as KML” options. However, it is possible to view it using this KML file and by looking at the format of that URL, you can view other GME maps in the same way.
Google Maps Galley, a great way to find interesting maps.
It is possible to view the Google Maps Gallery using Google Earth’s internal browser by using the “Earth Gallery” button found at the right of the “Layers” header. However, Google Earth has a tendency of crashing when viewing the Gallery this way due to its internal browser being somewhat outdated. We recommend either going directly to the Maps Gallery website in your browser or configuring Google Earth to open web pages in an external browser. To do this go to Tools->Options->General and tick “Show web results in external browser”.