Sunday, May 20, 2007

Google Gets It

I don't know if Google has a sustainable business model or not, but they do understand how to make technology relevant and accessible.

As I explore Hyderabad, I usually carry a GPS receiver (set to record my position periodically) and a digital camera. When I get back home, I upload the photos into iPhoto and the track information into Google Earth (which, BTW, Just Works; plug the GPS into the USB port, select "Tools->GPS->Upload), and - poof! - the track appears...). I decide which pictures are worth sharing and then upload them to Google's Picasa photo site using Google's iPhoto export plug-in. Next I create placemarks in Google Earth at points on my track where I want to add photos or other annotations. I can add links to the Picasa-hosted pictures with about 4 clicks: select "Link to this photo", pick a size, copy the resulting URL and paste it into the placemark's description.

Once I've completed the annotations, I save the placemarks and path to a .kml file and upload it to my home web site. (This is the one piece that, as far as I know, Google won't host for me.) I then navigate to Goggle Maps and type the URL of the .kml file into the search box. This generates a map page with the content of the .kml file overlayed onto the map. Click "Link to this page", copy the URL, paste into the blog with a suitable link comment (hint: click here...), and I'm done.

I suspect I could use Google Maps to do the placemark creation instead of Google Earth, but I like the snappiness of the local application.

The integration still leaves a bit to be desired, but this is cool stuff! I'm just floored that it's possible, let alone relatively easy.

Greg Papadopoulos recently listed Google as one of a handful of global computing systems that will eventually take care of most of our computing needs, and given the way that I haved become so completely enmeshed in All Things Google, I have to agree.

1 comment:

  1. An update regarding storage of the kml/kmz files: Google Sites, which now hosts, has a "file cabinet" template that works just fine as the target of a link from Google Maps, so Google CAN host it all. I've finally gotten around to restoring the GPS tracks that disappeared when I moved out of my old server using this approach.