Tuesday, December 22, 2009

GEarth Tours: Power first, Usability second

The most interesting thing I learnt last week at AGU was about the strategy Google adopted with tours. The Googler who built tours told me they were aiming for power in the first release rather than making them very usable. That explains the current situation where you can easily create a simple tour (my tutorial) , where complex tours which control the timeline and animate objects are possible (see latest Google Tour below)

but where producing such involved tours is very complicated because you have to write KML code directly. I suspect this means that Google are going to work on making tours much more user friendly in the future, as per the positive characteristics I noted about ArcGIS Explorer (AGX).

In my experience people get very excited about the possibilities of technology in teaching and often the benefits aren't realised because teachers are over optimistic about the difficulties and what can be achieved but I predict students will love producing complex presentations based on GEarth tours, it's going to be great.

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