next generation of Sky in Google Earth

Carol Christian carolc at
Thu Jan 10 08:47:03 PST 2008


At the last NVO (or VAO) telecon I was on we discussed the meta-tags  
again especially those now put forward by
the VAMP group. The Office of Public Outreach and I have been working  
with the VAMP group for years, and as you
all know the meta-tag project for data, multimedia, and educational  
resources originated and was implemented
in the 1990s with the NASA  Space Science infrastructure.

I would like to see the meta-tag issue get more VAO attention and be  
embraced by the VAO and the larger IVOA community.
We folks involved in education continue to move ahead on this.

The ability to put the meta-tags in KML (which is possible) and to  
use them effectively (which has yet to be seen)
will certainly help public access, and I am sure, help with the  
"keyword searching" interfaces and standards
that the NVO team is working on.



On Jan 10, 2008, at 11:36 AM, Alberto Conti wrote:

> 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 votables.
> 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 engine.
> It's nice to see I am now not the only one "suggesting" anymore. :)
> -A
> 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

Dr. Carol Christian
Deputy, Community Missions Office
& Education Director, NVO
Space Telescope Science Institute
contact | Tel: 410-338-4764 | .mac: cac01

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