Home > Digital Humanities, Digital Maps, Geohumanities, GIS miscellany, My Projects > Google Earth map of medieval architecture images

Google Earth map of medieval architecture images

Wanted to write about a successful  (it works the way I meant it to) GIS  project I did last January  in which I georeferenced ~100 password-protected photographs of French medieval architecture and made them accessible through Google Earth and Maps.   Here’s links to 2 versions of the map I generated, which  publishes well to both the Google Earth web plugin and Google Maps as it utilizes only the  Placemark and Balloon features.
If the sidebar menu of the Google Earth desktop version were necessary I would have had to replicate myself using web scripting languages such as JavaScript or Python as it isn”t available in the default Google Maps or the GE plugin platforms.

[NOTE:  Rice image management has been switched from a locally-hosted image database to ARTstor and the old database discontinued, so while the maps below still work, the pages linked to from within the maps no longer exist. The project would work the same way targeting ARTstor, however I’m not going to redo this particular project – Andrew Taylor 3/19/2014]

Rice NetID is required to link to full-sized images and metadata.   Unlike the Google Earth desktop version, Google Earth Plugin prompts users to download the images rather than opening the image automatically, I could conceivably change the code if necessary.

Google Earth Plugin version (browser-based)

Google Maps version (browser-based)

Google Earth Desktop version (must be downloaded)

Screenshots (PDF)

Since coming to  Rice University in 2010,  I’ve administered the Art History Department’s online digital image collection (~85k images total), which is currently published on “Owl-Space IMM” an MDID2-driven database located on a Rice IT server.  The images and metadata on this map derive from and hyperlink to the  IMM database records.

For copyright reasons, access to the images and metadata is password-protected.  For this project, I had to generate a KML script and then  batch-processed specific details for each separate asset from an Excel spreadsheet I generated.  The 6 fields referenced in the spreadsheet consist of basic metadata, geocodes,  links to the images and metadata in Rice’s IMM database, as well references to derivative images I created that were not password-protected (~260ppi on the longside for Fair Use, as opposed to the 3,000 ppi full-size IMM-based images).

I’ll probably discuss this further, but it worked out pretty well and could have been effectively applied to a far larger set of images.

Here’s a screenshot of how the  data and images display in  Google Earth Plugin followed by the empty KML script I batch-filled (<<[Excel field name]>>):

 Rice is currently transferring the Owl-Space IMM-based image assets to ARTstor’s Shared Shelf hosting platform at which point the IMM server will be discontinued.  I expect a similar process would work to access ARTstor-based image assets utilizing a map interface.

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