Google Earth

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OziExplorer now with Google Earth background

Posted by Maurizio on 16 Dec 2009 | Tagged as: Google Earth, Maps, NASA WorldWind, Satellite Imagery, Virtual Globes

Quite embarassing! Old News!

I must have been the last one to find out.  Still there might be someone around who is more out of touch than I am and might be interested in this.

OziExplorer now supports (experimentally) a number of internet maps including Google Maps (streets only), OSM - Open Street Map and Virtual Earth (streets, satellite and hybrid). In addition there is a plug in which allows having Google Earth images as a background.

I confess that for some time (too long :-( ) I have been too busy for exploring the continent and I haven’t had the chance to use OziExplorer. It was a complete surprise when today I stumbled in OziExplorer - Google Maps and Google Earth

And so I dropped whatever I was busy doing and decided to give it a try: first I had to download the latest version of OziExplorer (version 3.95.5g) and then the required additional installs for Google Maps and Google Earth .

I followed the instructions step by step and I had no problem whatsoever. If you do then take a step back, repeat to yourself that after all you don’t know everything, get a pencil and start all over again, this time ticking each step in the instructions after complying.

I was actually expecting things to be complicated and to go wrong.  I was extremely surprised when after following the instructions a screen with street-maps suddenly appeared


 NICE! :)

What about a track?


That was easy!

Let’s check out the other layers available:



Excellent! Pity that Google  Maps images are restricted. Let’s check out Virtual Earth - hybrid layer:

 VE satellite

This is very unexpected! Imagery is more up to date than Goggle’s, at least in my Johannesburg suburb. May 2008 I think, Google maps is at least 6-7 months older than this.

How’s the maximum zoom?

VE satellite level 19

Level 19, 30cm/px … that’s actually an overzoomed 60cm/px image, same resolution as Google. Who needs Google?

Well, in any case there is the Google Earth plugin still to test. It requires the Google Earth to be installed and set up for DirectX rather than OpenGL. Easy change in the GE option menu.


Nicer colours, but then that’s probably end October 2007 after lots of rain and VE image was in the middle of the dry South Africa winter. Still somehow Google Earth has always had the ability of rendering images prettier than the source image.

The temptation is too much: let’s go 3D !

Big mistake. After all this GE plugin is a hack which “steals” via DirectX the image from GE which runs side by side.

There are do-s and don’t-s and switching between OE and GE in Windows task-bar is definitely a DO NOT.

After crashing OE I am more careful: I can sense that the OE-GE-DirectX combination is highly unstable. Tracks flicker, tilt resets on it’s own in some location nearby ….


… and GE elevation model sucks in any case, no wonder why I prefer Google Maps 2D to this Google Earth “baby” virtual globe ;-)

 Let’s go to Cape Town, Table mountain is my favourite 3D spot

Google Earth - Cape Town

… beutifull (expensive) images but the improved terrain model still sucks, call me sentimental I prefer any day “my” old 5 years old open source NASA World Wind …

World Wind - Cape Town

… with uglier (Spot 5) French imagery.

Still who needs 3D when there are 360 hyper definition images around?

Cape Town 360

Make a point of checking out  1st Hyper Definition Image at Virtual Africa 

Lots of  good old fashioned stitching can do wonder!

Global Mapper - geology symbols supported in version 10,02

Posted by Maurizio on 02 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: GIS software, GPS, Google Earth, NASA WorldWind, Virtual Globes

Global Mapper has added in version 10,02 the ability to easily create strike-and-dip (geology) points by right-clicking in the Digitizer Tool. You can now place your strike-and-dip points and specify the dip value, azimuth angle, and symbol to use and get the appropriate symbology displayed on the map. In addition point symbols can now be rotated by a user-specified angle and custom area fill styles can now be added from image files.

These additions have finallty evolved Global Mapper into an affordable, excellent and easy-to-use geology mapping tool.

Global Mapper is a comprehensive software package capable of manipulating, and view in true 3D, most raster, elevation and vector formats as well as accessing with ease online (including WMS) sources of imagery, topographic maps, and gridded terrain data. Furthermore it also supports data export to World Wind, Virtual Earth, Google Earth and Google Maps.

Global Mapper v10.02 can be downloaded at .
Just download that file and run it to install v10.02. It will also install over any existing Global Mapper v10.xx version.

Global Mapper v10.02 is a free upgrade for registered users of any Global Mapper v10.xx product.

Registered Global Mapper v9.xx users can purchase an upgrade licence.
Without a licence Global Mapper can be used in demo mode.

For help in getting started Click Here for the User’s Manual and a series of Video Tutorials.

For a licence at discounted price contact

FOSS4G2008: NASA World Wind demo

Posted by Maurizio on 03 Oct 2008 | Tagged as: Events, Google Earth, NASA WorldWind, Virtual Globes


Tuesday September 30 - Slot 1

Title: NASA WorldWind: Evolution from .net application to Java SDK

First slot, first demo of FOSS4G2008.

Someone had hinted “so to set the standard!”.

Well, the standard was below sufficiency. :(

Strangely enough for once I had prepared well and even rehearsed the demo to be sure I could do the best with my 10 minute slot.

I set up well in advance my magic local tileservice to feed images at a fast & furious pace. The first hint of trouble comes when one of the two large LCD screens, the one at my demo station, refuses to size correctly … planet Earth looks more like a banana  than a  globe. Not serious, a second screen further away is sizing correctly … and the audience moves across the room.

NASA World Wind (.net version) globe is rotating beautifully showing off the Global Clouds layer dominated by a mega-typhoon over Vietnam … great view! :)

We have all experienced the first generation of virtual globes and the wonderful way they display more and more types and quantities of information … BUT they are all SINGLE and PROPRIETARY programs whose content and functionalities are dictated by the respective providers. Google (GE) and Microsoft (VE) control what we can see and how we see it

That went well … time to fly into Cape Town and show some of this …

click to full view

 … or this

click for full resolution

…. damn! why is the mouse on the left of the keyboard? And why is the keyboard so much to my right … How did it get there? …. I try to gently pull the cable towards me but it is going to disconnect :(

NASA Wold Wind started pretty much in the same way as a single program with limited functionalities still due to the fact that it is open source the community soon added more and more features. Content was a problem: although NASA provided the base imagery it was up to the user to provide imagery at higher resolution …

Damn … I crashed :(

… why is the mouse cable not coming? is it fixed to the table? Let me cross my arms and try control the mouse with my right and keyboard with my left … oops I crashed again :(

I need to take that Motion Momentum off but the F11 key is too far for me to reach :(

The feedback from users able to provide own content was that they required their own functionalities to achieve their own objectives

No! I cannot control this stupid mouse with my left hand, I need to go static and try to carry on! Damn, my imagery is so beautiful and I will not be able to show it to anyone :(

World Wind changed its mission. From providing a single information browser to enabling a class of 3D geographic applications. In practice not 1 program but components to create programs. From NASA World Wind  .net framework to World Wind Java multi-platform in a technology which can be part of any application … Can be a window in a web page such as this …

 click to open WWJ applet

…  ohh, no I cannot risk to crash again to show this

neither zoom over the convention center as I had planned to do …

Click to enlarge

 I must skip all this :(

“… or can be extended by applications and web developers in true NET2.0 spirit.

With World Wind it is possible to include virtual globe technology in support of your objectives!

Remember: World Wind is NASA open source, the code being fully visible so that anyone can readily use it and extend it to serve any use

I am told I have one minute … good it is almost over!

World Wind developers can provide exclusive & custom solutions for user needs …

What else? I have now lost my plot :(

I am not the multitasking type, I am not sure what I have have said and what I have not. I was too busy thinking about how to control the mouse with my left hand.

Ah, yes  …. but then maybe I might have said it already …

World Wind is a component! Cross platform and open source

Is the minute finished?


A presenter is not coming and I can have 5 minutes more?

I don’t want them …. what am I going to do with them if I can’t control my mouse? :(

I am unable to land a F16 on a San Francisco’s highway with my left hand!

click for F16 simulator applet

 …. all I can do is to point to this

I am angry with myself. I had the opportunity of a lifetime to show how incredible my World Wind is and I did not take it. I should have done better, much much better :(

I offer some leaflets I had prepared for the occasion. 

A couple of guys come to ask questions and while apologizing for letting WW down I offer to give a personal demo.

They loved it :)

back from FOSS4G2008

Posted by Maurizio on 02 Oct 2008 | Tagged as: Events, GIS software, Google Earth, NASA WorldWind, Virtual Globes


Cape Town is currently hosting the 2008 Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) conference,  an annual gathering of developers and users of open source geospatial software from around the world to discuss new directions,  implementations and growing business opportunities in the field of open source geospatial software.

Conference Theme for 2008 is “Open Source Geospatial: An Option for Developing Nations“.

I am just back from the Mother City after presenting 2 demos and a  lab with mixed results. 

Was it worth? Definitely yes.

Being side by side with the heroes of osgeo and finally meet in person legends like Frank (GDAL) and Chris (OpenLayers) was a tremendous  experience.  I was pleasantly surprised … they are actually very nice guys ;)

Biggest lesson learned? Internet connections, supposedly the best in Africa,  suck :D

Now everyone knows. And hopefully for a few weeks I will not be asked to upload any 500Mb file ;)

Next … some details about my activities at FOSS4G2008!

Google Earth: Mogadishu Refugee Migration Version 2.0

Posted by Maurizio on 04 May 2007 | Tagged as: Google Earth, NASA WorldWind, Virtual Globes

.. and Chad has become the hero of the Google Earth Community with it’s latest Google Earth: Mogadishu Refugee Migration Version 2.0 .

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