Thursday, April 24, 2008

Style Tags and Walkabout

A couple more observations on the new release of Google Earth 4.3

Walkabout: A recent post on navigating on the ground appeared from Google. Its pretty neat, Google Earth now notices you are zooming into the ground and turns you horizontal just before you hit the deck. Not only that but using the arrow keys from this postion you can simulate walking around. This wouldn't seem like a huge deal but I have heard rumours that Google are making Google Earth a virtual globe with avatars, allowing us all to 'meet' in Google Earth. Releasing this functionality now makes me suspect the rumours could be right as walking around is obviously something avatars would do a lot of as in second life.

Styles: If you are an advanced user of Google Earth you will have had to dive into KML, the files Google Earth uses to record data. One of the annoying things about KML editing is that as you generate placemarks and other objects separate style tags build up in the KML making it unecessarily long. I shan't go into more detail as those of you who know what I'm talking about already understand this and the rest of you don't care. In this new release Google have come up with a way of dealing with this, create a set of objects in a folder, if you right click > properties on the folder and select the 'style' tab Google Earth now asks you if you want all the objects in the folder to conform to the same style. If the answer is yes, GE performs the change and only uses one style tag to do so.

Not only is this tidier if you want to edit KML it also makes it easier to maintain your work. Come back to a KML months after you produced it and the structure will seem difficult to understand. Keeping style tags to a minimum helps with this as does keeping notes of what you do.


peSHIr said...

Function was already available pre 4.3 (at least in 4.2). So it's not a new feature at all.

Rich Treves said...

OK, first I'd noticed it was in this version.