Our post on Google Earth 6.1 covered all of the details that we could find about the newest release of Google Earth, but Google just unveiled a few more — some nice KML changes for developers.
The first is a change to the way line labels are displayed. Labels are now turned off by default in Google Earth 6.1, but you can add them at the midpoint of regular lines by using the new <gx:labelVisibility> in a <LineStyle>. Here’s an example KML, as well as a screenshot below.
Improved handling of Street View in Tours
Google Earth 6.1 added some nice improvements to the Street View feature, including a wider field-of-view to match the Google Maps Street View experience. Because Maps and Earth had a different field of view, Tours that used Street View elements would always stay consistent when viewed later. You can now use the <gx:horizFov> in your <Camera> and <LookAt> tags to remedy this. Below is a video showing this change, and here is the KML file to see it for yourself.
Paul McCartney is in the middle of his brief “On The Run” tour, performing in various North American stadiums to huge crowds.
In a few days (this Sunday and Monday) he’ll be playing in Chicago’s Wrigley Field, and concept3D has built a really neat tool to help show you what the view will look like from your seat.
It reminds me a bit of Room77, which allows you to preview your hotel room in Google Earth. As Google Earth continues to become more realistic, especially with 3D buildings and trees, tools like these will likely become more common and more useful.
One of the best parts of this Wrigley/McCartney model is the drop-down menu in the KMZ file itself. If you expand (+) the folder once it’s loaded in your “Places” sidebar, you can click the section where you’ll be sitting and the camera will automatically fly around to show you what your view will look like from that section. You can get the KMZ file here, but be warned that it’s quite a large file at around 10MB.
If you don’t wish to load the full file, concept3d has created a short video to show you around the model:
We’ve shown you some of concept3d’s work in the past, including the excellent 3D Virtual Campus at Northeastern University. They’re a custom Google Earth modeling shop, and certainly a good one to contact if you need some 3D work done for a project.
I hope to see more of this kind of work done for various events in the future, as it’s a grea way to preview what kind of view you’ll have from your seats.
As we’ve seen over the years, Google Earth is an amazing tool for data visualization. We’ve shown you tools for visualizing census data, CO2 emissions and a variety of other items. DataAppeal is a new data visualization company that is doing some neat stuff. They allow you to upload XLS files, which are then converted into 3D models and/or animations. The resulting models are quite well-done, as seen here:
Because they’re a young company and are still building our their product, it’s entirely free to use right now. That will likely change in the future, but hopefully they’ll continue to provide a free option.
Their tool is already being used in mainstream publications, such as this article in the Globe and Mail a few months back.
Nadia and her team have put together a solid tool, and it’ll be fun to see how it develops in the coming years. If you build any interesting items with this system, leave a comment below and show it off to everyone.
Virtual Kenya is an amazing informational resource, offering materials in wide variety of formats including DVD for those with no internet access. Their goal is to help Kenyans in their educational and professional pursuits by giving them this high-quality spatial data.
The amount of data on the site is very impressive. Along with a variety of tutorials and their blog, they feature over 100 informational maps to give you easy access to their data.
Some of the maps are relatively simple, like their Proposed Small Hydropower Sites:
Beyond that, they showcase a variety of Google Earth tours on a few different topics. A good example of that is their Wildlife and Tourism Tour, which shows off the country using quite a few different KML overlays and simple 3D models. You can view that tour on their site, using this KML file, or by watching the video below:
In all, it’s quite an amazing site! If you have data to contribute, they have a section of the site full of information on how best to submit it to them. To try it all for yourself, simply head over to the Virtual Kenya site and dig in.
The 2011 Tour de France has recently gotten underway, and Cycling the Alps has built some fun tools to help you see the conditions that the riders are up against.
We’ve shown you some of their work in the past, such as the great games that they added to the site earlier this year. Now they’ve combined that technology with the Tour de France and the result is quite cool.
They’ve gone through and created 3D tours, Streetview tours, profiles and games for every leg of the race. It’s quite an impressive list. Here are a few of the highlights to look for: Stage 8
There are two stages in the Massif Central which are going to be very challenging, including the last two climbs in this stage: Col de la croix Saint Robert and Super-Besse Sancy. Stage 12
In the Pyrenees and the climbs of this stage are epic. The Tourmalet is the most famous one but Luz-Ardiden gets a lot of attention in the media as well. Stage 14
Stage 14 in the Pyrenees is probably the most difficult stage in the race, with six significant climbs. Stage 18
This years tour is celebrating 100 years of high mountain stages, and every race featured a climb of the Col du Galibier. This year they’ll be climbing the pass two times; once from each side. In stage 18 they will even finish on the Galibier. This is the highest stage finish in the history of the Tour de France. Stage 19
The next day they will climb the Col du Galibier from the other side, and all three climbs on the 19th stage are legendary.
There’s an amazing amount of info on this site about the Tour, and the games make it fun to ride around on each stage. Congrats to the CTA team for putting this all together.