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Google Earth. Applications for Ham Radio. Radioactive Networks Pty Ltd. [email protected] Who Am I?. Darryl Smith, VK2TDS, B.E. Self Employed Positioning Consultant Expert on Wireless Systems. The Talk. Introduction to Google Earth Applications for Ham Radio Tracking Weather

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google earth

Google Earth

Applications for Ham Radio

Radioactive Networks Pty Ltd

[email protected]

who am i
Who Am I?
  • Darryl Smith, VK2TDS, B.E.
  • Self Employed Positioning Consultant
  • Expert on Wireless Systems
the talk
The Talk
  • Introduction to Google Earth
  • Applications for Ham Radio
    • Tracking
    • Weather
    • Path Calculations
    • GIS
  • File Format - KML
  • Implementing Applications
    • VB.NET
    • ASP.NET
google earth licensing
Google Earth - Licensing
  • Free to Non-Commercial Uses
  • $20/Year upgrade for GPS functionality, and route editing
  • $400/Year Commercial per seat
    • Movie Making - $200/Year
    • Premium Printing - $200/Year
    • GIS Data Import - $200/Year
    • Traffic Counts Data - $200/Year
    • Shopping Centre Data - $200/Year
  • Server Licensable Separately
applications for ham radio
Applications for Ham Radio
  • APRS / Tracking
  • Weather
  • Path Calculations
  • GIS Applications
  • Originally released as Keyhole Viewer by ‘Keyhole’
  • Most of the functionality was there in 2002, but Hardware and Networks were still lacking
  • Google purchased Keyhole in 2004, about the time of the DCC
example of user
Example of User
  • Beyond Blue – a suicide prevention group for farmers in the Australian Bush organized a drive of vintage tractors through the Simpson Desert
  • They wanted to get community involvement so they set up a Google Earth feed showing their current position
aprs tracking
APRS Tracking
  • APRS Tracking is possible in Google Earth.
  • I have been importing APRS data into my own server software very successfully.
  • Importing Weather Data into Google Earth from CWOP is fairly straightforward
  • Vectors can be added for wind direction and velocity
  • Graphics can show the rainfall
  • Icons can be used for Temperature
  • Graphs can be used to show trends
  • Text Boxes can be used to provide all data
image import
Image Import
  • Overlays can be loaded periodically, such as with weather radar data
  • These images can refresh automatically periodically
  • Custom datasets can also be used
path calculations
Path Calculations
  • Paths can be drawn on the map. These can be locked to the ground, or at a height. This can be done to model antenna paths.
  • Without extra software it cannot do fresnel zones
building applications
Building Applications
  • Visual Basic
  • PHP
google earth back end
Google Earth Back End
  • KML, an XML variant is used to draw
  • KML is hierarchical
    • That is elements can be added at any point…
file format architecture
File Format / Architecture
  • Essential Information :-
    • KML Tutorial
    • KML Specification
place a line
Place a line…

Inside a Placemark












<name>My House</name>

. . .


network link
Network Link










two types of interface
Two Types of Interface
  • Standard and ‘View’ based
    • Standard outputs data regardless of zoom level, area of display etc.
    • ‘View’ sends the extents of the view to the server whenever the data is downloaded.
  • View allows only appropriate data to be sent
KML can point to a service. So if you pan around a map, when you stop, the service is asked to return a relevant KML file. It might, for example, take the bounding box of the area on screen and reach into a database to draw up data for that geography and place it on top of Google Earth.
example of a use of view based output
Example of a use of View Based output
  • Take the example of using GoogleEarth to display Weather Data.
  • Using the extents data you can determine the ZOOM level.
  • You can then send the NOAA Weather station data when zoomed out
  • Then as you zoom in CWOP stations are also displayed
building applications a simple kml file
Building Applications A Simple KML File



<name>Server Name</name>





building applications vb net
Building Applications – VB.NET

Dim XTW as new XMLTextWriter (Filename, Nothing)


xtw.WriteElementString(“description”, “Description Text”)

xtw.WriteElementString("name", “Server name”)


Xtw.WriteElementString(“coordinates”, “151,-34,0”)

Xtw.WriteEndElement ‘point

Xtw.WriteEndElement ‘Placemark



building applications asp net
Building Applications – ASP.NET

Private Sub Page_Load () Handles MyBase.Load

With Page.Response

.Clear(); .CacheControl = "no-cache“; .Expires = -1

.AddHeader("Pragma", "no-cache" & vbCrLf)


"inline; filename=ge.kml")

.Write("<?xml version=“1.0” ?>” & vbCrLf)

line=“kml xlms=“” >”

.Write (line & vbCrLf)

.WriteFile(“filename.kml" & vbCrLf)

.Write("</kml>" & vbCrLf)

End with

End Sub

building applications php 1
Building Applications – PHP - 1
  • <?php
  • $lat_int = rand(-90, 90);
  • $lat_dec = rand(0, 1000000000);
  • $lon_int = rand(-180, 180); $lon_dec = rand(0, 1000000000);
  • $lat = $lat_int.\'.\'.$lat_dec;
  • $lon = $lon_int.\'.\'.$lon_dec;
  • $response = \'<Placemark>\';
  • $response .= \'<description>Generates a random placemark on each call to the server</description>\';
building applications php 2
Building Applications – PHP - 2
  • $response .= \'<name>Random KML server</name>\';
  • $response .= \'<visibility>1</visibility>\';
  • $response .= \'<Point>\';
  • $response .= "<coordinates>$lon,$lat,0</coordinates>";
  • $response .= \'</Point>\';
  • $response .= \'</Placemark>\';
  • echo $response; ?>
$coords = preg_split(\'/,|\s/\', $BOX);
  • $bl_lon = $coords[0];
  • $bl_lat = $coords[1];
  • $tr_lon = $coords[2];
  • $tr_lat = $coords[3];
  • // calculate the approx center
  • $userlon = (($coords[2] - $coords[0])/2) + $coords[0];
  • $userlat = (($coords[3] - $coords[1])/2) + $coords[1];