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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Try Google MapsGL

For an example of new features available on the Internet that require high speed connections and a definite level of hardware, you may want to look at Google MapsGL. To quote Google, "MapsGL uses new technology called WebGL (Web-based Graphics Library) to enhance the Google Maps experience. WebGL brings 3D graphics to your browser without the need to install additional software. This allows us to provide seamless transitions between various levels of imagery and different map views."

Only certain Web browser levels and certain hardware (computer) configurations are supported. Here is a list of the supported hardware and software:
A WebGL enabled browser:
  • Chrome 14+ (Download Google Chrome)
  • Firefox 8+ (More info here)
  • Safari 5.1+ if manually enabled
    • To enable WebGL in Safari:
      1. Open the Safari menu and select Preferences.
      2. Click the Advanced tab in the Preferences window.
      3. At the bottom of the window, check the Show Develop menu in menu bar checkbox.
      4. Open the Develop menu in the menu bar and select Enable WebGL.
  • Mac OS Snow Leopard 10.6+, Lion 10.7+
  • Windows Vista or 7
  • Linux
Video Card Hardware
  • GPU with Direct X 9.0c recommended (Shader Model 3.0+)
  • For Windows machines, must have drivers published later than January 1, 2009.
  • Some low-end integrated GPUs (like the Intel GMA 3100 and 3150) are not compatible.

The controls for MapsGL are similar to the traditional controls for Google Maps, but there are enhanced features that give more information and 3D effects, sort-of like what has been available on Google Earth. There is also photo integration, another feature borrowed from Google Earth.

It looks like to me that Google is about to integrate the two programs, Google MapsGL and Google Earth. Does this mean the end of Google Earth?

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