next generation of Sky in Google Earth

Alasdair Allan aa at
Tue Jan 22 07:50:10 PST 2008

>> Google has given us a new IVOA standard, it's KML, and we'd better  
>> get used to the idea.  Possibly the IVOA should accept the status  
>> quo and officially adopt it. It might give us a (very) little bit  
>> more leverage.
> This I find a strange set of statements. Google has not "given us"  
> anything. Rather I would say they have made a somewhat ropy  
> standard without external consultation, a standard that does not  
> carry rich metadata and has very poor image support. Obviously we  
> astronomers are forced into using this hand-me-down from the geo  
> people, because Google has billions of dollars and billions of  
> customers.

I think that's an overly pessimistic view of KML's capabilities, and  
a poor representation of the history of the standard.

> As for official adoption, my understanding is that Google has  
> handed over the KML process to the Open Geospatial Consortium  
> (OGC), who will be creating future versions -- this time with input  
> from the rest of the world. I am not sure that IVOA should be  
> making Recommendations on KML: what happens if these are different  
> from the OGC version?

I'm sure the IVOA should be making recommendations on the use of KML,  
I think the IVOA should be telling people that it's 'okay' to use it.  
Because people are going to, and if the IVOA advises against that, or  
takes a skeptical view of its use, then the IVOA becomes increasingly  
marginalized and less relevant. You only have to look at what's  
happened to the Grid people.

> Surely what we need is not just a blanket Recommendation of KML as  
> it exists now, but rather VO representation at the OGC meetings?  
> Does anyone know anyone at OGC?

Unfortunately not. But yes, that sounds like the optimal approach.


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