The Google Earth API was used as a foundation for StrataLogica to make use of its sophisticated image rendering logic, satellite imagery and access to built-in tools and navigation controls. As an enterprise scale application, we faced some interesting challenges and gained many insights along the way that we d like to share.
Our first task was to prove we could wrap Nystrom s existing educationally focused maps and globes onto Google Earth while retaining the same high quality resolution delivered in their print products.
Achieving acceptable image resolution resulted in file sizes which were much too large. In addition, we needed to deliver an increased level of map content and granularity of images as the user zoomed into the earth. To address these two issues, we created a custom process that takes an Adobe Illustrator file and outputs Superoverlays in accordance with KML 2.1 standards. Using open source Python frameworks, we created a customized solution that outputs Superoverlays with various levels of content.
Our next challenge was to provide support for authoring and maintaining content, in the browser using the Google Earth plugin. All content is authored and maintained in a content management system CMS in much the same way as any dynamic website. One unique difference is that some of the content elements are geo-referenced coordinates that specify the location of content on earth. In the case of placemark balloons, the geo-referenced coordinates identify hotspots on the Nystrom maps which become clickable when the user turns on a setting. The placemark balloons provide supplementary audio, image, video and descriptive content such as the example shown above for the Appalachian Mountains.
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