Over the years we’ve seen a few services that help to put your social activities into Google Earth, but none that have done a very effective job of it. That’s where Junctions (jnctns.com) comes in, with a very innovative iPhone app that can help build maps of your social actions.
The service automatically builds “exMaps” (experience maps), which are 3D interactive maps of your social activity. Real-world interactions are noted in exMaps as crossable intersections called “junctions”. Users can dynamically browse all content based on location, time and/or people.
For now, the system requires that you use their iPhone app, but that will be changing in the future. Soon you’ll be able to add tweets to it with the #exMap hashtag, and they have other plans in mind as well. Personally, I’d love to be able to just feed it my full Twitter and FourSquare accounts and let it just parse the data from them. It seems like this is the direction they’re heading, so it’ll be fun to watch them progress.
To try it for yourself you can visit their website, which includes a sample exMap that you can play with, and you can download their free iPhone app here.
For more, check out the video below:
The United States Green Building Council recently renovated their 75,000 square foot headquarters, located in Washington, D.C. The building is loaded with the latest energy efficient features and has earned a LEED Platinum rating.
The building offers live tours, but not many of us are able to travel there for a tour. To help show off the building to the rest of us, they’ve created an incredible 3D tour of the building using the Google Earth Plug-in.
The tour gives a brief look at the outside of the building, but spends most of the time inside, where the level of detail is quite remarkable — staircases, meeting rooms, and even bathroom sinks!
Many of us create tours in Google Earth, but have you ever thought about the usability of those tours for your users? Richard Treves tackled that exact question, and came out with a handful of great tips. In particular, he studied whether users could find the locations that were shown in the tour on a map, and what parameters affected that. Speed didn’t matter much. You can fly users into placemarks surprisingly fast without affecting their ability to find the location later. Overview was important. If the tour pulled out to a high altitude to show the previous and next locations at once, the user was much more likely to be able to recall the locations of the placemarks. Distance vs Direction was a problem. In most cases, users couldn’t accurately estimate the distance between placemarks. Providing some kind of scale would likely help with this.
Richard gets into more detail in his write-up, so it’s certainly worth checking out if you ever build tours in Google Earth.
Not long ago, we showed you some fresh imagery from Joplin, MO, after they were hit by that devastating tornado.
Steve Ansari from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) recently sent us an amazing file that shows debris from the tornado in a 3D model!
You can view it yourself using this KMZ file.
A report was recently released from NCDC which gives a summary on the Joplin event and includes a flash movie showing the visualization in Google Earth.
The software used to create the KMZ file is the NOAA Weather and Climate Toolkit, which is developed at NCDC.
Here is a bit more about how this works, in Steve’s words:
The Radar site conducts conical sweeps at increasing elevations off the ground and measures the ‘reflectivity’ of particles in the atmosphere. Large rain drops, hail, and in this case debris are represented as high reflectivity values and it is ‘reflectivity’ which we are most accustomed to seeing on television and internet weather maps. Each sweep is represented as a COLLADA model with the semi-transparent Reflectivity image draped on the model. In addition, several isosurfaces are created from the 3D reflectivity volume and represented as polygons in the KML. A tour is also included in the KMZ.
They’ve also built an interactive map that allows you to view some of highlights along the route, or you can view it in this EarthSwoop that I’ve created using those locations.
Finally, here is the video Google created to show off the processional route if you’d prefer to see it that way:
I’m not getting up that early in the morning to watch the ceremony, but I know quite a few people who are as it will be quite a memorable event. Are you one of them?
(via Lat Long Blog)