Google Earth Tour builder: Part 3 – Labelling

This is part 3 of our Tour Builder series where we try to develop tools to make creating Google Earth Tours easier.

When you create a tour that visits a list of locations, one thing you want to do is display the name of the location to the user. There are a number of possible ways to do this:

Basic Placemarks.
Probably the easiest method is to simply create a placemark with the appropriate name and an icon of your choice, or remove the icon altogether. You can adjust the font size and colour in the placemarks style settings, but it is has limited flexibility. In addition, if you are distributing your Google Earth Tour, labels can be affected by the settings in the user’s copy of Google Earth as well as screen shape and size.

A simple customised placemark label.

Placemark balloons.
Placemark balloons can contain HTML including css and JavaScript, which makes them very flexible. With JavaScript you can even animate the contents of the balloon. However, there are still significant limitations. Although you can get rid of the ‘directions’ row in the balloon, the border and close button cannot be customised or removed nor can the balloon be made transparent. You can position the balloon in the corner of the screen by putting the placemark off the edge of the screen, but as shown below, the balloon always leaves a margin between it and the edge of the screen.

Post-production.
If you are making your tour into a video, then the best option is probably to add most of your text using video editing tools.

Screen Overlays.
A Screen Overlay is a KML feature that allows you to place an image on screen at the location of your choosing. This is what is typically used for map keys or logos in KML files. PNG files with transparency are allowed, which is a significant advantage over placemark balloons. The main disadvantage of this technique is that it only allows images and not text or HTML so you must put your text into an image prior to creating the KML file.
It is also possible to use Google Earth Tour features to animate the image, sliding it onto the screen at the appropriate point in the Tour. You can try this tour to see it in action.

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.






PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.

Comments

  1. This is very exciting, thank you! Are there more detailed instructions on how to add the screen overlay? Many of my sites do not have detailed resolution since they are on a lake. Is there a way to add an image to the site so that shows instead of just circling water? Would the screen overlay option do this? This would be a great tool to share my research!



PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.