next generation of Sky in Google Earth

Jonathan Fay jfay at
Thu Jan 10 07:27:04 PST 2008

While KML is a common denominator, unfortunately astronomy has not been at the table at all for its definition so far. It needs to be a priority to move KML to use astronomy friendly standards.

Certainly it needs to move away from equirectangualar projections for full sky and overlays to more astronomy friendly projections.

Also astronomy coordinates systems and meta data need to be supported so that KML can be used to support rich astronomy use, rather than just HTML or text.

I think this will take the VO community, Microsoft Research and the Google Sky folks to push this together, otherwise the critical mass will come from the Earth based GIS folks and astronomy will continue to be short-changed.

Jonathan Fay
Principal Research Software Developer
WorldWide Telescope
Microsoft Research

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-interop at [mailto:owner-interop at] On Behalf Of Roy Williams
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2008 7:12 AM
To: interop at
Subject: Re: next generation of Sky in Google Earth

Certainly it has been most interesting this week in Austin, watching
Google and Microsoft slug it out at opposite corners of the convention
hall. Each of these rich sky display software suites has its own best
points and will be fabulous vehicles to ignite excitement about
astronomy. I believe that the IVOA should be careful to engage both of
these fabulous experiences, providing interfaces and bridges from all of
our VO efforts.

The common denominator between the two efforts is the KML language,
whose definition is now dominated by the geospatial community. If KML is
to become a standard interchange format in astronomy also, it would be
good if the astronomical community had a seat at the table when future
versions are defined.


> On Jan 10, 2008 5:32 AM, Tony Linde < Tony.Linde at
> <mailto:Tony.Linde at>> wrote:
>     'This morning at the American Astronomical Society in Austin,
>     Texas, Google
>     Engineering Director Andrew Moore announced a new version of Sky
>     in Google
>     Earth.


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