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GoogleEarth™ Notes

GoogleEarth™ is a lovely tool that I got hooked on recently, and then while watching that "SuperVolcano" movie about Yellowstone blowing up, and seeing that big fancy computer of theirs that did all those neat 3D maps and such, it occurred to me I could mix my little quake database here with GoogleEarth™. So I did, and it's probably the only good thing that's ever come out of that movie. There are two ways you can use it.

First, you can insert a "Network Link" into your MyPlaces™ folder that shows you all the same quakes you get if you just go to "quakes.php" on here without any parameters. Just right-click "My Places™", hit "Add" and "Network Link", give it whatever title you want, and for the URL, enter this:


I also have a KML file premade to do all that mostly for you; just left-click this to open it right up, or right-click and "save as" and open it from the G.E.™ client itself, whatever you wanna do. It's got just the network link in it.

Second method, you can get any quake report using the usual form, and just above the form option settings, right next to "URL for this report", you'll see a "GoogleEarth™" link which will export the current report into a KML file and send it to you.

Whichever way you use it, you'll find four items in it:

  1. "Quake Limits" shows the land area inside which I collect quakes. You'll never find a quake outside that box. It's just a bit larger than Yellowstone itself.
  2. "Seismometers" shows all the seismometers I've ever monitored inside the park. Some come and go, some are always there, some never seem to work right, some just aren't shared with the world I guess, but they're all shown. Clicking a placeholder will show you every detail about that seismometer, including whether it's currently active or not. Yellow ones are active; red ones aren't.
  3. "2-D Quake Views" contains all the quakes, joined by a lot of yellow lines. That shows the order the quakes are in; it's the same as the ordering in the quake report you exported into GoogleEarth™. You can turn it (or any other layer) off by unchecking it; I know some of these layers can be annoying. Also separately-toggleable are the quake markers, which are grouped into sub-folders by magnitude. White is less than 2.0; blue is 2.0-3.0; green is 3.0-4.0; yellow is 4.0-5.0; and red ones are all at least 5.0.
  4. "3-D Quake Views" holds all the actual earthquakes that matched the parameters you gave it. This folder contains floating "X" marks for each quake, with its size scaled to match the quake's magnitude. There's also the same kind of quake path as in the 2-D view, but a different color and, well, 3-D, and also faint blue vertical lines showing which floating quake goes with which 2-D quake marker.
If there are NO quakes that match, you'll get an "error message" back (basically, a folder named "No Quakes Found"). Just so you know. Also so you know, all KML returned by this site is version 2.0. 2.1 is still sort of beta-quality, some clients might not support it yet, etc etc, so I figured 2.0 would be less-annoying than 2.1.

Earthquake hypocenters, by the way, are accurate to four decimal places, which is 36.5 feet latitudinally and 26 feet longitudinally (at Yellowstone's latitude). That should be more than close enough; it's closer than they can even measure them, in fact.

So anyway, that's that. Pretty simple and easy to use; it was even easy to write. I hope you like it, but it doesn't matter if you don't because I do. Nyah.

Update: I've just added a 3-D quake map that floats in the air over the park. I like it a lot. It needs a little tweaking, but it's very usable as it is. Try turning off the "Ground Plane" element if it looks like there's nothing there; it hides things under it even though it's transparent. Go figure. But I wanted you to know that that plane is the level of the ground, and all the quakes happen at some depth under it. True 3-D. If only it was accurate... It's in the usual GoogleEarth™ link on all reports, and I recommend you sort the quakes by DEPTH before you click on it... hint, hint. Another hint: what you see there now is just my first draft. It will improve over time, unless something like decapitation prevents me from working on it. I'm in love with it, mostly because I've never seen anything like it anywhere on any earthquake site in the world, ever. Do you have any idea how long I've wished I could build an app that does 3-D earthquake maps, simply because apparently, nobody else ever has?? My God. You just don't know.

And so help me, if I see any patents for "Method and Apparatus for Displaying Below-Ground Point-Source Data using GoogleEarth™ by Projection of the Data to a level where they are all Above Ground, thus Banishing its Evil Curse on the world's Seismologists," I'll sue. Heh.