Google, on the occasion of World Earth Day, has released a new version of its popular Google Earth service featuring support of Leap Motion technology. Leap Motion enables people to use hand gestures to swipe and glide through the Google Earth interface, providing for a “visually refreshing” and intuitive experience. A demo video of how the 3D Leap Motion controller works, can be viewed at its official site. You’d need to buy this hardware device which is in the test phase, to enable hand gestures. Google’s announcement of the new version of the software, mentions that such controllers will start shipping worldwide soon.
Enhancements for Users:
Map Making: With this feature, people can create legends and scales and add titles to maps, directly from Google Earth Pro. These “customized” maps can also be printed, or saved as images. Enhanced map-making tools in Google Earth version 7.1 can also be used to highlight changes to land mass over time and document those changes directly in the map by adding a legend.
Viewshed: Serves as an intuitive tool to identify and mark scenic viewpoints. The view from any particular place can be measured without people actually having to be present at that particular viewpoint.
The latest version of Google earth can be downloaded from the official site. Google says that the star field and Milky Way have been updated in the current iteration of Google Earth so as to add realism to virtual “space expeditions”. So do remember to check them out.
A small background on Leap Motion technology:
Leap Motion is a company developing advanced motion sensing technology for human–computer interaction. Originally inspired by frustration surrounding 3D modeling using a mouse and keyboard, Leap Motion asserts that moulding virtual clay should be as easy as moulding clay in the real world. The Leap Motion controller is a small USB peripheral device which is designed to be placed on a physical desktop, facing upward. Using two cameras and three infrared LEDs, the device observes a roughly hemispherical area, to a distance of about 3 feet. It is designed to track fingers (or similar items such as a pen) which cross into the observed area, to a spatial precision of about 0.01 mm.