Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Shape2Earth Tools for PowerPoint - Alpha Testing

Shape2Earth Tools for PowerPoint are intended to make your presentations better.  They consist of tools that allow you to:
  1. Export slides as Google Earth Screen Overlays.
  2. Export slides as images in Google Earth Balloons
  3. Export slides as Google Earth Ground Overlays
  4. Embed Google Earth in PowerPoint Slides
If anyone is interested in testing the Alpha version of Shape2Earth for PowerPoint, please send me a request at

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Create Google Earth Balloons with PowerPoint

Balloons in Google Earth are a great way to provide information about a place.  Balloons are pretty easy to make.  You just write text or html into the Description of a placemark using Google Earth.

Making your balloon really nice takes some more work.  You can add really nice html, but this takes time and an understanding of html and css.

Shape2Earth for PowerPoints simplifies things by letting you create the balloon in PowerPoint, and then plot a point on the map with a graphic of the PowerPoint inside that points balloon.

First, select the slide you want to put in the balloon in PowerPoint, and then select the 'Balloon' button from the 'Shape2Earth' menu in PowerPoint (requires that Shape2Earth for PowerPoint has been installed).  This will open up the Google Earth design globe in PowerPoint.  Zoom to the area where you want to place the slide, and then click the 'Balloon' button on the toolbar in the design globe.  Then, simply click on the globe to map that slide.

You can add as many slides and points as you would like.  If you make a mistake, you can right-click on the placemark in Google Earth, and select 'delete' from the context menu.  You can also click on the point to see what the balloon looks like (see below).

When you are done mapping slides, click the Export to Google Earth button to export to Google Earth

All the mapped slides will be bundled into a KMZ that can be easily redistributed.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Create PowerPoint Slides in Google Earth

Interested in Testing Shape2Earth Tools for PowerPoint?

Shape2Earth for PowerPoint let's anyone easily embed and control Google Earth in PowerPoint 2010.  You can add as many Google Earth Slides as you would like, and you can control where Google Earth zooms to on each slide, and on each movement of text animation.

See Google Earth in PowerPoint and Control Google Earth with PowerPoint Animation on how this works.

While Shape2Earth makes it easy to create Google Earth PowerPoint slides, a lot of people have grown accustomed to creating presentations in Google Earth itself.  The KML PowerPoint Import button lets you build your presentation in Google Earth using very simple KML structure that can be brought into PowerPoint for presentation.

Shape2Earth uses KML Folders to represent slides in PowerPoint.  The first step is to add a KML Folder that will represent the Presentation.  There are a couple of ways to add folders in Google Earth.  One method is represented below.  Right Click on the 'Temporary Places' in the Google Earth 'Places' view, and then select 'Add --> Folder.

This will open up a 'New Folder' dialog.  Enter a name for your presentation in the 'Name' text box.  The Google Earth view for each slide can be added by selecting the 'View' tab in the dialog, and clicking the 'Snapshot current view' button.

Select 'OK' so save your information and close the dialog.

Add your first actual slide by selecting the Presentation Folder you just added, and adding a Folder to it.  Each Folder that you add to your Presentation Folder will be a slide in your presentation. The text you add to the 'Name' text box in the New Folder dialog will be the title of your slide. The snapshot view of that Folder will be where Google Earth zooms to when that slide is loaded in PowerPoint.

If you forgot to add a Snapshot View when the Add Folder dialog was open (or need to change the view), you can either reopen the dialog by right clicking on the Folder and selecting 'Properties', or you can right click on the Folder and select 'Snapshot View' from the menu.

If you add any text to the 'Description' text box in the Folder properties dialog, your PowerPoint slide will present this data as text next to Google Earth.  If you do not add any text, PowerPoint will only show Google Earth in the slide.

In the example below, we have zoomed into the Washington Monument, added a Folder, Snapshot the View, and then copied data from a Google Search (returning data from Wikipedia) and pasted it into the 'Description' tab.

Once you are finished with your KML, you can save the KML from Google Earth on your hard drive, and then open PowerPoint, and select the design you would like for your slide.

In PowerPoint, select 'Import KML to Slides' from the 'Shape2Earth menu, and select the KML file you saved..

Shape2Earth will take this KML file and convert it to Google Earth slide templates, with each Folder being a slide.  It will also open Google Earth in the PowerPoint design view so you can make any edits you would like to the text an Google Earth views.

Running your presentation will show Google Earth in each Google Earth slide, and zoom to the location that you defined in KML.

If you added any text to the Description, that that will be shown next to Google Earth (see below).

Being able to create Google Earth slide shows using KML offers an enormous amount of power for presenting spatial data.  Besides creating KML in Google Earth, any person or system can write out this KML that can be brought into PowerPoint.  These presentations can be saved and sent out to anyone with PowerPoint 2010 and Shape2Earth.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Control Google Earth with PowerPoint Animation

 An earlier post showed how Shape2Earth for PowerPoint makes it easy to add Google Earth slides to your PowerPoint presentations.  In that example, each slide held a single Google Earth view, and zoomed to the location on each slide that was selected in PowerPoint during design time.

This post will demonstrate how to create multiple Google Earth views in a single slide by using the simple animation tools that are built into PowerPoint.

Starting with a title page below, we will select a Google Earth slide template from the Shape2Earth menu in PowerPoint.

The selected template puts a new slide with a Google Earth placeholder next to text in the slide.  It also opens up Google Earth in the Task Window that will be used to set the Google Earth views for this slide.

The first thing to do is to add information to the slide.  We can also set the view for the slide by clicking on the Set View button in the Google Earth window.

 Next, we will apply an animation to the text.  Animation settings are available from the Animation menu in PowerPoint.  In this example, we have selected for the text to fly in.

After the animation has been applied, you will see Animation fly to information added to the Google Earth placeholder in the slide.  This will help us keep track of what Google Earth views are associated with each Animation set on our text.

In the example below, I have clicked on the "Cadet Chapel" text on the slide.  This turns the Animation View in the placeholder red.  I can then move Google Earth to the view I want to set, and click the Set View button.  This will change the information in the placeholder so that I know this Animation View has been set.

Repeat this process for each Animation.

When the slide show is run, this slide will initially zoom to the view selected for that slide.

Each time the slide is advanced, the animation on the text will be run.  As soon as that happens, Google Earth will zoom to the view set for that animation.

You an add as many slides and animations as you would like.

This is just a small example of what can be done with Shape2Earth for PowerPoint.  My next entry will show how to make your presentation in Google Earth, and then import it into PowerPoint.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Google Earth in PowerPoint

Interested in testing Shape2Earth Tools for PowerPoint?

Chances are, you've used Microsoft PowerPoint to present information to people.  There is also a very good chance that you have used Google Earth as a briefing tool to describe a location to people.

Many people have wanted to merge these two tools together into a single briefing platform.  Some people export their slides into images that they can turn into Screen Overlays or Ground Overlays using KML to see them in Google Earth.  Others try to get Google Earth into PowerPoint using various methods, such as copying Google Earth screen captures into a slide.  Some people use hyperlinks in PowerPoint to open KML files that launch Google Earth.

And still others have tried to put Google Earth itself into PowerPoint.

I am one of those people.  I wanted to be able to have Google Earth not only in my PowerPoint slides, but also wanted it to be a seamless part of the presentation.  Whenever I transitioned to a new slide, I want Google Earth to zoom to the area that was being presented.

This turned into a new Shape2Earth product that lets people put Google Earth into their PowerPoint presentations.  Anyone who is able to add a new slide in PowerPoint will be able to make Google Earth slides.

The Shape2Earth toolbar for PowerPoint has a menu of available Google Earth slide templates, very similar to the way in which regular slides are added.  The image below shows the selection of a full slide Google Earth template.

Once the template has been selected, a new slide is added, and Google Earth opens in the right hand task window.  Google Earth is not presented in the slide at design time, but a graphic displays where Google Earth will be when the slide show is run.  Text on top of the image will tell you that this template is using the default view for Google Earth.

The tool bar on top of the Google Earth task window lets you set the view for that slide.  Another button lets you zoom back to the location that has been set.  This is very useful for other slide templates that have a Google Earth view based on each item in a bullet list (the topic of a future blog entry).

As you can see below, you can add as many Google Earth slides as you would like, and set the view for each of them.

The real magic is when you run your slide show and Google Earth glides to the location for that slide.  The two images below show two different slides in our presentation.  Unfortunately, the imaged do not capture the flow of Google Earth from slide to slide, which is the most compelling part of this very simple demonstration

Shape2Earth for PowerPoint will be made available from the Shape2Earth website after finalization and a beta testing period.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Making Shape2Earth Easier

Some recent changes to Shape2Earth for MapWindow has made it even easier to convert shapefiles to KML for viewing in Google Earth. In the past, it was necessary to download MapWindow, and then install Shape2Earth separately as a plugin. The new install package bundles MapWindow Version 4.7.5 with Shape2Earth in a single installation.

Shape2Earth is a very powerful and easy to use system for creating thematic maps for Google Earth using open source GIS.

A new video on YouTube shows you just how easy it is.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Converting KML to Shapefiles

An update to the free and open source KML2Shapefile extension for MapWindow GIS has been posted. There are a number of fixes to and enhancements to make conversion faster and easier.

KML has really taken off as a format for posting geospatial data on the Web. Bringing that data into a GIS offers a lot of analytic options for a great price.