Armageddon Pills and KML in Google Earth

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 at 5:47:00 PM

I’m Matt Brown, a kml developer and designer at concept3D in Boulder, Colorado.

Google Earth has provided a new group of developers with the opportunity to build virtual ‘geowebsites’ specific to vertical markets. Armageddon Pills, a travel book by John Higham, combines this power of Google Earth and a printed book to illustrate the tale of one family’s journey around the globe in 52 weeks.

After creating numerous kml files, he asked us (concept3d) to create a browser look and feel while in Google Earth. We attempted to simplify the Google Earth experience for a broader audience, focusing on its on-screen and balloon navigation systems.

When opening the file, you will find a main menu, or in this case the table of contents, of on-screen buttons. This menu is broken down into chapter groupings that contain sub-menus of icons related to the book. This allows the reader to find ‘where they are’ in the book, and gives them the ability to ‘read’ the kml from start to finish. Each balloon along the traveled path offers an interesting snippet and sometimes a photo or video associated with their locations. Navigation arrows were added to each balloon to allow the information to be chronologically documented and experienced by the end user, and a “home” button to get back to the main menu. Additionally, there are “menu” placemarks scattered around the globe that will help you find the main menu if you are lost in space.

We rely on feature anchors for navigating between balloons and a very high altitude (12680000 meters) to create the effect of a menu. You can download our full KML here.

A big thanks to Mano Marks for his insight and for taking interest in this project. If you have any questions or comments, please email me at