Monday, August 13, 2007

Google Earth and Picasa strange loops and the need for four dimensional coordinates in Google's image map layer

Update 9/2/07: Google's Picasa image integration with both Google Maps and Google Earth doesn't work the way I'd thought it did. I'm not sure how it's supposed to work, I can't find any documentation. The one thing I see is that all images are not routinely available to the public even when the appropriate layers are enabled. As of 9/07 image display in Google Maps seems to barely work at all.

I really can't come up with a title to quite explain this. It's just so extremely geeky, recursive, and quintessentially 21st century that I do, however, have to describe it.

First, here's the picture. The rest of the post makes more sense if you click on it, or, if you have Google Earth installed, this link might work to take you to the current view.

From Reunion photos
What you're seeing here is a snapshot of a Google Earth display of an obscure building in Saint Laurent, Quebec (ok, it was once Father McDonald high school, I don't know what it is now.) If you view the entire display you'll see some picture icons.

The picture icons belong to this (public) Picasa album. The album cover picture is also this Google Earth picture. If you click on the Google Earth link above (as of 8/13/07) you'd see that the Google Earth view also contains the above image. Hence the recursion.

The Picasa images appear in the Google Earth embedded image, and are visible to anyone in the world who uses GE on that site with the image layer enabled, because I assigned them all geolocation using Picasa Web Albums "map" feature.

This would, of course, be even more interesting if Google Earth added a fourth dimension (time). Then one could view sites over time, and these images might show up only for certain time slices. Alas, if Google adds this feature in 2037 my heir's will need to update the image metadata, Google 2007 does not allow user specification of the image acquisition date.

PS. There are a few more examples of "strange loops" in this exercise, but I think I've done enough damage for the moment.

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