Google Earth WMS still undercooked

It’s been 4 months since my last rant on Google‘s half-baked support of WMS. To be honest i haven’t looked at recent BETA versions but I have v4.0.2722 and a little bit of time up my sleeve so lets have a look at my gripes from last time,

  1. The mandatory Service=WMS parameter is not attached to the online resource which causes some services to fail
  2. The is no support for layer subgroups as per WMS spec
  3. You cannot select the preferred image format when requesting (defaults to image/gif .. wheres my PNG!). Some services seem to pick PNG … ?
  4. The overlay never seems to be requested at the current, full extents .. for some reason?
  5. The [t] i’m assuming stands for transparency ?
  6. The client, out of courtesy, should always request any exceptions in image if the service supports it
  7. Generic HTTPS support is still broken for everything, including image overlays
  8. The client should really be able to interpret the bounding box and set the image overlays to start using the region KML functionality. If the average joe blogs adds a service, it would be for good measure to zoom to the envelope extents of that layer/service.

Hmmm, well 4 out of 8 seems to be have been fixed. Now for some new additions,

  1. The request string does not correctly append an empty STYLES= KVP when a single layer is added. The spec dictates this should always be requested, but GE for some reason only attaches this for multiple layers which causes exceptions with some strict services.
  2. The width and height always defaults to 512×512. Why? We aren’t using a tiled service here guys, GE should calculate the ratio from the screen window resolution and the set scale factor. Expecting Joe Blogs to know what value to set this to so their overlays dont look squished is absurd.
  3. While i crossed off the #3 issue because you can now edit the request string, the layer window should really include a dropdown of supported image formats that the user can choose from. Again, a usability thing.

Although some issues are resolved, the WMS support is still very average. With the latest interest of the OnEarth WMS service on the community forums, i would hope that some of these issues can be fixed with the next version. One day we will get there … meanwhile what_nick’s improved WorldWind WMS support gets my seal of approval~


Australian OSGEO stall

Cam Shorter just sent me a mail to plug the last minute OSGEO stall that will be appearing at the Linux Conf. Australia open day. The conference coincides nicely with the current work of formalising an Australian OSGEO chapter that Tim Bowden has been pushing locally. So if you’re around Sydney, stop by and say hello … the more interest the better!

LCA Open day

Speaking of which, there is still a proposed OSGEO meeting for Perth on the 24th in the City and I hear Tim’s shouting free beers*

We will be demonstrating the stable of quality Open Source Geospatial
applications and talking all things OSGeo related.

Drop by the “Open Source Geospatial Foundation” stand if you are in
Sydney, and forward this email to all your Australia friends.

  • Details:
  • Where: Mathews Pavilions (E24) – University of NSW, Kensington
  • When: 3pm – 8:00pm Thursday the 18th January, 2007 with *prizes* being announced at 7pm
  • Cost: Free
  • Food: Dinner and drinks will be available at 6pm
  • Freebies: The first 100 registered visitors will receive a *free* bag with goodies! There will also be other giveaways at the stands from information, software and other goodies.

GIS Mobility

Well, while the big A is churning its marketing machine for its new iPhone i’ve been busy playing with my Eten X500 that Santa kindly bought for me.


Wifi? Check. BT2? Check. Internal SiRF GPS? Check. 400mhz CPU? Check. 2GB Microsd card? Check. WM5 RU2? Check. All for AU$850? Bargain.

As some other bloggers have pointed out, the iPhone is a joke. Fact is, all the functionality that it touts as being cutting-edge has been available for quite some time, especially on the mapping side of things. So for those interested in whats available, give the following a try

  1. MGMaps has provided a J2ME solution for the big 3 mapping apps for quite some time now.
  2. JVNMobileGIS (OSS) &
  3. Skylab-Mobilesystems are some more options available for OGC WMS services.
  4. Map24 has free mobile viewers for MIDP and PocketPC capable phones.
  5. OSGEO wiki has many more links to check out

Overall though, there really needs to be a bigger push into this space. The project is still very much at the thinking stage, but it still has promise. I suggest that if you are interested in developing a robust solution in the future that you hop on the bandwagon and start some discussion on the list. I like the idea of extending the JVNMobileGIS codebase as certainly J2ME seems to be the way to go for device-compatibility~

In other news, big kudos goes to Howard for his json-rpc proj4 service. I wonder how long it will be before someone wraps ogr/gdal into an online equivalent? Now *that* would be cool.