Google Earth Roundup

I’m in the awkward position of having to write posts about Google Earth without so much as being able to download it — at least, not until their promised Mac version comes out. Until that hopefully-not-too-long-off day, I can only go by what other people say. For example, my dad has downloaded it and he says it’s pretty neat. But if you don’t take his word for it, how about the Washington Post’s? They had a review about a week and a half ago that covered it in detail, warts and all.

It’s no surprise that the hacks have come fast and furious. For example, here’s one that adds Chicago real estate data to Google Earth (via The Unofficial Google Weblog). A lot of them are available at Google Earth Hacks, which aims to serve as a repository.

Though it’s probably a mistake to call them hacks, since the software expressly links up with third-party data over a network — the so-called “network link” that Rev Dan Catt calls the “killer app” for Google Earth. It’s all about data in KML format. Before you go all glossy-eyed, fear not: The Tao of Mac has a tutorial on making your own KML files with PHP (via MAKE: Blog). For people who know their XML, there is a KML tutorial and documentation from Google itself.

Not that I pretend to understand any of this; it’ll probably make more sense when I actually use a copy of this software. Which — hint to Google programmers — I hope will be soon.

See previous entry: Wired on Google Earth.