Friday, November 27, 2009

Osprey Tracking in Google Earth

Screen Shot of the Lock Garten Osprey Project looking east over the west European coast

Recently I was talking to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) about their work with Google Earth. They've produced an interesting blog, map and Google Earth file for following the progress of migrating Ospreys that spend summer in Loch Garten. I think its a very good use of Google Earth and maps so deserves some promotion.

Suggested Improvements: There are some easy improvements that they could make. For example, they instruct you to set up a network link. It's easier just to include a network link in a KMZ file as I've done here:

They could also produce a tour, I've produced one in the KMZ file above (and below), its pretty basic but you get the idea of what could be done. They could also think of putting the project in a plugin as below:

Use of plugins has obvious advantages but there are also some drawbacks as I've discussed here.

My final suggestion would be to produce time slider functionality, it would be nice to be able to animate the animal tracks in time as in this whale shark project. If you're not used to operating the timeline see notes*

I was told they get an 'insane number of hits' to the blog already so I think developing the Google Earth part of idea further would be worthwhile.

*To get the whale track to animate, load the file and find the time slider in the top left corner of the GEarth screen. If you roll your mouse over it you will see two sliders, drag the left one to the left so they separate slightly and then drag the right one around to animate the track. The big red cross and little red cross show links to images that are now broken, however, the animation still works enough that you can get the idea of what's possible.

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