Tuesday, May 10, 2011

About me & talk at Google I/O

Using KML Tours and <gx:AnimatedUpdate>
to morph & animate polygons (kml coming soon)

My first post cut right to the chase, looking at time-animated thematic maps. So here's a little background on what I'm doing here: unchartable.com is a blog about bending, breaking and hacking KML to make amazing maps for Google Earth and Maps.

I'm at Google I/O right now, about to give a talk with Mano Marks: High Peformance KML for Google Earth/Maps. I'll post the YouTube video of the talk when it comes out tomorrow.

About me: I am Developer Advocate working on the Google Earth Outreach team (helping non-profits with Maps/Earth). I recently became the Tech Lead for KML, making me responsible for improving KML and spec'ing out new features for the language.

I taught myself KML and programming back in grad school (while studying Ethnobotany) and have been making KML and breaking Google Earth ever since.

Stay tuned, as I'll be posting lots of great KML hacks, code samples and demos in the coming weeks!

Sean Askay
Developer Advocate & KML Tech Lead
Google, Inc.

Here are two of my fancier KML projects:

Map the Fallen - mapthefallen.org
As seen on State of the Union. Here's the CNN write-up.

Apollo 11 Tour w/ Buzz Aldrin
(covered on gearthblog.com)

Here are some other screenshots of the KML's I made for the talk:

KML of a GPS Track I took with my Nexus One
in a Cessna flying over Mount Kenya in Eastern Africa
Time-animated Thematic Map showing the percent of
homes by without full indoor plumbing in 1940


  1. Hi Sean, just watched ur bit of this talk with Mano, lovely work! Any chance of seeing the actual kml files?

    I'm particularly interested in the ability to hav a graph visualise with a timeline - like the heart rate bike example except with a 'normal' animation eg a set of polys showing flooding with sea rise animating as a play head moves across a graph of sea level vs time. Could that be done?

    Will link to ur new site from my blog tomorrow and looking forward to following it

  2. Hey Rich - I've sent you an email about your question. It should be possible, either using just time-stamped screen overlays (the play head would pop from time step to time step) or using a Google Earth tour, in which case you could smootly animate the play head image over the graph.


  3. Sean,

    I saw your Google I/O and was really excited about some of the features you displayed. I am a graduate student at the University of Minnesota in computer science and we use kml visualization in Google Earth for mapping environmental impact of land-cover change events such as by deforestation.

    At present, we hack google earth by creating location markers (on the order of 1000s, up to 20,000 before the application begins to crawl) and on click generating a jpg callout (using php) of time series data based on a point query to a database (hundreds of GB in size).

    Ideally, I would like to represent perhaps millions of markers (perhaps by a heatmap) and be able to point query and plot their time series from the database, a powerful visualization tool is at the center of our research and these limitations are very limiting. Might I send you a kmz and you could give recommendations on how to proceed using some of the technologies you demoed?