next generation of Sky in Google Earth

Alberto Conti aconti at
Thu Jan 10 08:36:54 PST 2008

Carol and I have been asking Google to make KML modifications in the  
direction you propose for a long long time. Now that KML does indeed  
seem to be an interesting tool and that Microsoft has entered the  
game, I think we can collectively put pressure on the KML standard to  
be adapted and modified since we all recognize its potential over  

I will not even mention metadata, which has been and is my "broken  
record" of choice both with GoogleSky search abilities and the VO. I  
don't have a WWT beta to be able to make the same comment about it...

We suggested to the VO a much closer look at KML as soon as we  
started playing with Google Earth, over 2 years ago. We have  
suggested many many times that a true registry needs to be a metadata  

It's nice to see I am now not the only one "suggesting" anymore. :)


On Jan 10, 2008, at 10:27 AM, Jonathan Fay wrote:

> 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.
> Roy
>> 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.
> --
> California Institute of Technology
> 626 395 3670

Dr Alberto Conti
Community Missions Office
Space Telescope Science Institute
contact | tel: 410-338-4534 | aim: wscience

More information about the interop mailing list