Ever since people became aware that it was possible to allow external software applications to interact with Google Earth using their API (which seems to be in perpetual beta stage), they have been trying to figure out how best to integrate their custom applications into Google Earth.
While almost all of the initial efforts dealt with taking existing applications and simply loading their data into GE in a KML format, later efforts involved trying to make all functionality directly accessible form the Google Earth application itself.
The basic problem, however, is that Google Earth does not provide a framework to extend its user interface. You cannot simply add a new button to their toolbar that fires off your own application, as you can in many GIS and Office software packages.
A couple of tricks have been developed to make Google Earth application extensions appear to work seamlessly with Google Earth. They generally fall into five categories.
- Use built-in network links and server side scripting to serve custom data dynamically.
- Embed the Google Earth render window into your own application.
- Build customized applications that always hover over Google Earth.
- Use a Flash application in a pop-up balloon.
Has anyone come up with their own way get their application to work with Google Earth?