Palm, Google Earth and storytelling..

I often talk about the use of Google Earth for storytelling, illustrating a story with its geographical context displayed interactively is very powerful, to see what I mean just watch the first few minutes of the launch event for the new Palm Pre at last weeks CES show.

BTW Its great to see Palm that seem to be getting their original mojo back, remember how cool the original Palm V was..

Written and submitted from the Google Office, London.

Looking for a Google Earth Server

Then look no further than the latest release of GeoServer which has fantastic new KML serving capabilities on a par with the Google Earth Enterprise server.

The key new capability here is to stream vector  and raster data to Google Earth as the user zooms or pans  making sure that only just the minimum amount of information is transferred thereby giving the great performance you expect from Google Earth.

This release of GeoServer can also extrude KML with a height attributes allowing users to stream simple 3D model data to Google Earth.

GeoServer 1.7.1
GeoServer 1.7.1 serves 3D KML


GeoServer continues to develop into a serious enterprise application which no doubt is getting the attention of the guys in Redlands and is providing much needed competition in the market. From a KML perspective it is now possible for an organisation to self publish almost any type and size of geospatial database using an open technology stack.

And it runs nicely on my Mac !!!

Written and submitted from the Google Office, London.

What Map Maker is /is not

Last week Google introduced Map Maker a set of online map making tools to very positive… but not universal acclaim.

I can understand where SteveC is coming from, but I think it’s important to clarify a few points.

Map Maker is clearly not an open source project, and as such is not in competition with openstreetmap and does not I believe represent a forking opportunity for the creation of open geodata. If you wish to help build an open geodata based global map then openstreetmap is the project for you.

What Map Maker represents is the public exposure of the tool Google has been using internally for a while to “fill in the gaps” of our global mapping coverage, specifically mapping areas not currently covered by the commercial map data providers. We are now asking the users of Google Maps to help us by providing mapping data using the same tool. The data submitted is licensed by contributors to Google to eventually become part of Google Maps/Earth following moderation by Google.

This is a key difference in approach to openstreetmap, most end users of Google Maps/Earth etc. and most developers using their api’s don’t want or need access to the raw data, for them such information is most usefully made available as pre-rendered tiles.

Although not currently an open source project, it does produce data that is free to users, the information contributed by the community becomes freely available to them via Google Maps and the Maps and Earth API’s

At the moment, I believe this is the best way to rapidly expand the availability of mapping and to provide access to detailed online maps to communities which up until now have just not had access to something most of use take for granted.

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

Plug-in Red Arrows

Hawk in Google Earth

This took about the time I thought it would, I was joking at Google I/O last week with Brady Forrest how long it would take someone to create a simple Flight Sim using the Google Earth Plugin !

As reported by the wonderful

Written and submitted from the Ottawa Airport, using its Boingo 802.11 network.

Feeding developers

Lunch MenuThe principle success criteria for a good developer conference, great food !

Ok there is more…

A commitment to open up interfaces to allow the developer community to really exploit the functionality that you develop, and an opportunity to share experiences and communicate with your peers are also really important.

Written and submitted from the Hotel Adagio, San Francisco, using its free wired broadband network.
Talking to the developers who attended this weeks Google I/O conference in San Francisco, the opportunity to sit and chat to the Google engineers who develop the API’s they use was really appreciated, and something Google is slowly getting better at.

Developing a successful geoweb API is an incremental process, a product of the natural tension between adding new functionality and data and making that functionality available to developers, in that context it should become clear that the big announcement of the Google Earth plug-in, is more about adding a API to earth, than bringing 3D functionality to the browser.

I can’t wait to see what the hugely active developer community makes of the Earth plug-in, no doubt we will see 3D with everything over the next few months as perhaps the functionality is used is places where on balance it’s not really appropriate but cool.

In time however truly innovative new applications will appear, and it’s really fitting that Paul Rademacher the guy behind the first map mash-up got to introduce it to the developer community.

On and another thing…

flight of the conchords

Entertainment – flight of the conchords better than Steve Ballmer any-day 🙂