Google Earth Lessons

An Educational Resource for Teachers

Embedding MultiMedia in the new Google Earth!

NOTE: Version 4.2.0198, which fixed some bugs, apparently fixed the bug that allowed this trick to work. You can still use Flash content, but not any other types. Therefore you would need to be able to conver other movie formats or audio formats to Flash content for this to work. Thi is do-able using various media converters available for free or for $$.

As of version 4.2 (released in late August of 2007) of the Windows version of Google Earth it is now possible to have multimedia right inside Google Earth! We can hope that the Google Earth Development team makes the capability universal for Apple and Linux computers, but for now, it is only working for the Windows OS. This new capability has me VERY excited over the educational potential! Plus with the ability to do .mp3 files, it adds a whole new dimension to Podcasts, making them 'geoCasts'!

Download the Example Placemark collection - Download the sample media files

What this potential does is open up an incredible range of educational content and capabilities directly within Google Earth. From content that is made by educators and students, to public domain content such as can be found at the U.S. Library of Congress, to commercially available media content such as at Discovery Education's UnitedStreaming, the new Google Earth supports many major multimedia formats. The file types that have been successfully tested by GELessons include .avi, .mpg, .mp3, .asf, .wmv and .swf. I wasn't able to get any QuickTime content such as .mov and .m4v to work. Hopefully that problem is solved soon by someone smarter than I am :-)

There are two options for where the content is actually stored. The first is to use content that is available on the internet, the second is to have the media files right on your hard drive. Both work equally well.

In the examples below, all the files are on the internet and are accessed by calling a http://webaddress. If you have the file sitting on your computer you simply replace the "http://www.website.com/filename.mp3" with "file:///c:/foldername/filename.mp3" where 'c' is the drive letter and foldername is the folder the file is in, while filename is the name of the file. It works with any type of drive, from a CD or DVD, to a little pocket USB Flash drive, to a mapped network drive. The trick is that the path to the folder can't have any spaces in it, so you can't just have a folder on the Desktop since there are spaces in the name (Documents and Settings/Desktop/...).

The How To:

Embedding Flash Content - (.swf files) Games, Movies, Interactive Quizes and More

Below is the basic code you will need to put in your placemark description windows (Create a placemark, or get 'Properties'' of an existing placemark). There are only a few things you need to change to get it to work, but you can fiddle with some of the <param> functions too if you wish. The red text items are the only things you need to change while the lavendar ones are optional.

<object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000"
codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,0,0"
width="637" height="421" id="game" align="">
<param name=movie value="http://www.gelessons.com/uploads/quizexample/quizexample_controller.swf">
<param name=quality value=high>

<param name=bgcolor value=#FFFFFF>
<embed src="http://www.gelessons.com/uploads/quizexample/quizexample_controller.swf" quality=high bgcolor=#FFFFFF width="637" height="421" align=""
type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer">
</embed>
</object>

The tricky part here is finding the 'controller' that will display your playback controls (FF, Rewind, Play). For the Quiz example in the placemark collection I used TechSmith's Camtasia Studio, a great screen capture authoring solution. If, on the other hand you have a .mov or other media type that is not supported by Windows Media, or you don't have the Windows Media Plug-in, you will need to convert the file to the swf flash format. The quickest, easiest one I found was SwishVideo2 ($50) which put the controller right in the flash file. There are probably many other solutions, that is just one that has worked for me.

Embedding Windows Media Compliant Files (.mp3, .wmv, .asf, .mpg, .avi) - Movies and Audio

As with Flash, the embedding of Windows Media complaint files is a simple matter of changing size and file location. Just copy paste the code below, change the red text and off you go! If you have multimedia in a non Windows Media recognized format, like Quicktime or RealPlayer, the conversion utility 'Super' is a free, very powerful tool. Lavendar text are optional settings you can change if you wish by making them either 'true' or 'false'

<OBJECT ID="MediaPlayer1" width=637 height=421 classid="CLSID:22D6F312-B0F6-11D0-94AB-0080C74C7E95"

codebase="http://activex.microsoft.com/activex/controls/mplayer/en/nsmp2inf.cab#Version=6,0,02,902"

standby="Loading Microsoft Windows Media Player components..." type="application/x-oleobject">

<PARAM NAME="FileName" VALUE="http://www.gelessons.com/uploads/wmv_sample.wmv">

<PARAM NAME="animationatStart" VALUE="true">

<PARAM NAME="transparentatStart" VALUE="true">

<PARAM NAME="autoStart" VALUE="true">

<PARAM NAME="showControls" VALUE="true">

<EMBED type="application/x-mplayer2"

pluginspage = "http://www.microsoft.com/Windows/MediaPlayer/"

SRC="http://www.gelessons.com/uploads/wmv_sample.wmv"

name="MediaPlayer1" width=637 height=421 AutoStart=true>

</EMBED>

</OBJECT>

(Note for .mp3 files: change the height to 45 or 50 so only the controller shows)

Still to try:

RealPlayer Streaming and .rm video, Windows Media Streaming video (should work OK), Getting QuickTime to work so we can have QTVR and PodCasts in their native environment, other plug-ins that I can't think of right now like maybe the Sun Java and some of the neat VR ones that are minor players in the world of on-line multimedia, test DIVX with the Windows Media. Let me know what you get to work and I will post your results here! Just email david(at)gelessons.com