Posted by Mano Marks and Roman Nurik, Geo APIs teamA long time ago, at a conference not too far away, Google launched the Google Earth Browser Plugin, with the Google Earth API. At the time, we promised that we would bring it to the Mac, and now we have.
Today, we’re excited to announce the release of the Google Earth Browser Plugin for Mac OS X 10.4+ (PowerPC and Intel). The Mac plugin is supported on Safari 3.1+ and Firefox 3.0+. The download link should now be available to all users from any Earth API-powered site. We also released a game, Puzzler, in honor of the new Mac plugin. It is, of course, playable on a PC as well. And as usual, it’s open source, so you’re free to adopt the code.
In addition to the Mac release, we’ve also upgraded the Windows version of the plugin. See the release notes for more details.
Google’s Street View feature has captured private moments before, but “Street with a View” is the first example of public art we’ve seen that was designed specifically to be documented by Google’s roving cameras, and viewed online through Street View.
For “Street with a View,” artists Robin Hewlett and Ben Kinsley enlisted the help of a full cast of artists and performers to set up a series of tableaux—including a parade, a sword fight, a rooftop escape, and a perplexing giant chicken—along Sampsonia Way in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They then invited Google to drive through the scene and immortalize it in its Street View feature.
Take a stroll down fantastic Sampsonia Way via Street View here. There’s also the movie below, documenting the making of “Street with a View.”
The effect of combining Street View’s objective, documentary nature with these illusory, staged events is very Michel-Gondry-esque. We wonder how long it would have taken for people to stumble upon Sampsonia Way in Street View if the whole project had been kept secret. (Via PSFK)
On May 3rd 2008, artists Robin Hewlett and Ben Kinsley invited the Google Inc. Street View team and residents of Pittsburgh’s Northside to collaborate on a series of tableaux along Sampsonia Way. Neighbors, and other participants from around the city, staged scenes ranging from a parade and a marathon, to a garage band practice, a seventeenth century sword fight, a heroic rescue and much more…
Street View technicians captured 360-degree photographs of the street with the scenes in action and integrated the images into the Street View mapping platform. This first-ever artistic intervention in Google Street View made its debut on the web in November of 2008.
[Editor's note: I learned about this technology from Click2Map for selecting markers in Google maps using a building tool and grouping them together as 1 marker at certain zoom levels. I'm not sure it is the best solution... but I like that the functionality is there. Seems like there should also be a more general solution for auto aggregation and disaggregation based on zoom level. I have seen this at a few sites, including Every Block. There is a tip on this a the ESRI mapping center for more GIS focused folks.]
The team of Click2Map is proud to officially launch a feature that tackles one of the major weaknesses of online maps: Crowded maps.
The experience of maps is often diminished when markers are concentrated in a specific location, therefore lapping over one another. Here at Click2Map, as some of you already know, we are dedicated to take Google Maps to a higher level of control for your various professional needs.
Hence the auto-cluster feature! The auto-cluster feature is an easy-to-use tool of our map editor that will enable you to create a unique marker for each area where markers are too densely concentrated. Visitors can simply click on this unique marker to unveil the list of markers it withholds.
The clustering tool enables you to laser-tune the display of your clustered markers based on 3 parameters:
- Clustering rate: the higher the rate, the more markers will be cluttered
- Minimum markers: indicates the number of markers necessary to start building a cluster
- Maximum zoom: indicates from which level of zoom markers won’t be clustered anymore
The video below shows the new auto-clustering tool in action for the Hollywood celebrities’ map we created for the occasion.
To conclude, here is why the auto-clustering tool is a big deal for us:
1. It tackles the problem of markers overlap.
2. It becomes a new productivity tool for power-mapbuilders looking for the perfect map design.
3. It is so easy to apply that even first-time mapbuilders can figure it out on the fly.
A panorama of what’s visible from that location, marking the position of peak geographic landmarks
A list of the peaks, and the ability to show their position relative to your location on Google Maps
Terrain profiles (elevation versus distance from the location to any point on the map)
A plot all the areas visible from that location in red on Google Maps (aka the “viewshed” or “weapons fan”)
Contour lines (zoom in for these)
Google Earth export of position, viewshed, horizon line and horizon extent. If the viewshed area is large, this might strain the memory capacity of lesser systems.
It uses 30-meter SRTM version 1 data for its calculations, so there may be some quirks depending on whether there are holes in the SRTM coverage for your area. They’re switching over to SRTM version 2 soon, which is better but still not perfect. It only works in the US right now, but according to OgleEarth, they hope to expand coverage worldwide. A cool site! Check the OgleEarth posting for more info.
I was excited at first when I heard the news that google had released an googlemaps api for flash/flex, but found out it was a little misleading since the flash sdk is only supported through flex. Problem for me is, all of my projects as purely flash based without the need of the flex framework.
Before it can be used, you need to copy it to the “Adobe Flash CS3 – en – Configuration – Components” directory under the flash cs3 folder on your hard drive. [Editor's note: You must have at least version CS3 to use this component.]
At the Where 2.0 conference today [May 14th] Google announced the availability of a new Flash API for Google Maps. From Flash microsites to embedded media players to beautiful cross-platform AIR apps on the desktop – expect to start seeing interactive Google Maps embedded in a lot of unusual places soon.
A substantial portion of the web’s creativity can be found in the Flash developer community.
Too much Flash can be very annoying, but offering Google Maps in Flash only makes sense. We’re excited to see what developers do with it, and we’re far from alone in that excitement.
Greg Sadetsky, CEO of map savvy open source R&D lab Poly9, wrote this morning that “This is great news. There has been a long wait for Google to release an official Flash API for their popular Maps product.” ZDNet’s Google-watching Garett Rogers appeared to have unearthed the API hours before it was presented at the conference, that’s how we knew to start looking around.
Mapping is Hot
The mapping world is exploding right now; from the release of the giant Yahoo! Geo-location database API this week, to the release of control over KML mapping markup by Google last month and the groundswell of developer interest in location-aware applications and frameworks.
Throw some Flash Google Maps into the mix and things are liable to really get interesting. Check out this adorable little Flash Map below.
So, what do I like about the API for Flash? Smoothness and speed are a big part of it. We’ve designed it so that Flash graphics can be used for each tile layer, marker and info window — opening up possibilities like dynamic shading, shadowing, animation, and video. When the user zooms the map, magnification changes happen smoothly and place names fade in. After the user drags a marker, it gently bounces to a halt. Generally, Flash allows for much greater embellishment, and, well … “flashiness.” I get excited just thinking about the creative ways developers might take advantage of having a Flash API for Google Maps.
See also Google LatLong. Apparently the idea is to embed this in Flash-based applications.
Reprinted from Flash Speaks ActionScript (original post here).
These examples are from the API tutorials from Google. Until now Google Maps via the Flash platform hasn’t been available unless you’ve been using the the UMAP component from AFComponents. As you may have heard, Google has opened up its API to the Flash and Flex community. This is huge as it offers more possibilities for Rich Interactive Applications and Google Maps. To find more info on Google Maps for Flash, check out Google’s official blog.
Check out the these examples using the new Google Maps for Flash API:
Video Sync Map A map pans and updates while a synchronized video shows footage from the city highlighted on the map.
Custom Local Searcher
Local Searcher Displays a Flex UI with ComboBox, Button, and TextField that are used to perform a local search with the AJAX Local Search API.
Custom Campus Map Creates a custom map by extending TileLayerBase to load in USC image tiles.
Form Geocoding Shows how to take a user-entered address from a Flex TextField, geocode it, and display the result as a map marker.
Control Options Shows how to customize the display of MapTypeControl and OverviewMapControl using their associated options classes.
Draggable Marker Shows how to create a draggable marker and respond to its dragstart and dragend events.
Custom Tiles Map Creates a custom map that displays tiles that are actually Sprites displaying information about the tile x/y/z.
TextualZoom Control Shows how to extend ControlBase to create a custom control with buttons for zooming in and zooming out.
Encoded Polyline Shows how to create a Polyline from an encoded points and encoded levels string.
Photo Flip Map Locations in Las Vegas are plotted on the map with a small photo showing up inline; the view can be “flipped” to show a larger photo without the map.