A glimmer of success in a week of frustration.

Google's 3-D modeling program called "SketchUp" is indeed showing great potential glider flight profile introduction into Google Earth. The concept of the program is relatively simple: make simple to complex 3-dimensional products and be able to impose images, via a number of ways, onto the external surfaces of the object. This can allow for the production of recognizable 3-D objects, such as buildings, to be introduced into Google Earth. While the concept is simple, the actual act is proving to be quite difficult. First of all, the simplicity of the exporting-from-SketchUp/importing-to-Google Earth is made to be terrestrial (on land, above sea level). We want to have our models in the ocean, sub-sea level. Secondly, we are attempting to use the 3-d modeling program to create a 2-d model, or for all practical purposes an image, to change the direction plane on which the image lies in comparison to an image overlay into Google Earth. These two factors are difficult ones to work with...but progress is slowly but surely being made.

Below is an image of one of RU27's latest flight profile plots in Google SketchUp being prepared for export to Google Earth. As you can see, a flat 2-d object is being created in a 3-d modeling program. The black is actually transparent; once in Google Earth, the only part visible will be the flight path, and anything else we choose to enter. There will be no rectangle enclosing the flight profile.

sketchup-snapshot

Aside from figuring out how to actually get SketchUp and Google Earth to cooperate, we also have a checklist of other things needed to be done for this project. Since there are such a large number of segments for RU27 which will need to be reworked, customized, and documented into this project, some type of autoscript to make the process move faster will need to be created to prepare the segments for a more readily understandable/readable format. We will also begin to extract important moments along RU27's active sub-surface flight that will need to be marked along the upcoming underwater flight path for Google Earth. These landmark moments will be incorporated into the overall completed .kmz file.

Also upcoming will be a tiled example of the data types which we have used for piloting as a downloadable example for Google Earth as a type of introductory "lesson" for newcomers following a glider's flight. The file will include explanations of the different types of data and will explain how to read and understand them in an effort to bring all of our online followers aboard with us.

-Dave, Chris, & Jason

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