Google Earth Enhancements: What the birdie brought

A little birdie told me that the Juice Analytics census data heatmaps were used at Google’s Developer Day to show how Google Maps can now load Google Earth KML files. Very cool.

Google Earth KML files now have two important user interface features that I’m excited to try out. First up is progressive display of data. This means a KML file can show high level summary info when when a user is high above the earth and seamlessly show more detail as the user zooms in. This was only possible through network links in the current version of Google Earth and this will feel a lot more polished to users. The other important UI feature is folders can now support radio buttons (where only one thing can be selected at a time). The big deal here is it allows a user to explore points organized into multiple dimensions where you can only view a single dimension at a time. For instance, you might want to view your customers grouped by sales volume, types of products purchased, or industry. Choose which of these groupings you want to see and the others will be hidden.

Finally, viewing KML files in Google Maps is a potential home run. This increases the sophistication of what Google Maps can display and simplifies rollout of geographic information to an organization. Bravo, GE folks.