Jul 18

Nat Torkington

Nat Torkington

Where 2.0: First Steps At OGC Integration With Google Maps

This morning the Google Maps mailing list digest had a nugget of gold: David Knight has released a small javascript file that enables you to add (almost) any WMS layer to your google map (for a live example, visit and click the "LANDSAT" button). David writes:

I have only tested this with a couple of WMS servers, but in theory it should work with almost any. The bbox parameter in the url will be written as latitude and longitude so this code will not work with UTM type projections.

This is an amazing success for Google (and for David--great programming!). The geospatial/GIS world has a huge number of open APIs defined by the Open Geospatial Consortium. David's work lets you draw in tiles from almost any GIS source in the world.

If you were at Where 2.0, you probably saw the really impressive Geotango GlobeView. GlobeView is a bit like Google Earth in appearance, but it can pull in data straight from GIS sources that support the OGC standards. I think of Google Maps and Google Earth as two different sides of the same coin: one's in the browser, one's on the desktop, but they're both struggling toward the same goal.

OGC standards play a role in this goal, as you can tell from this thread on the Keyhole mailing list about a hacker adding Google Earth's KML output to Geotools so you can translate map features to be viewable in Google Earth. Suhweet!

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Comments: 9

  Rich Gibson [07.18.05 09:48 AM]

This is extremely cool!

  Mike Liebhold [07.18.05 01:14 PM]

Hi Nat,

You say here that,

"David's work lets you draw in tiles from almost any GIS source in the world."

This may be possible in some decades in the future when properly described rasters and vectors become available, but for now, there is, so far, aside from some public aerial and satellite images not much significant useful raster data around and most existing legacy raster and vector geodata in the world is not available publically , or or where available poorly described with little or no metadata, or often stored in proprietary structures like 'ArcObjects'.

Ideally WMS might make an ideal integration platform for - new- geodata created by open mappers, google mappers, and other user created geodata and locative media, but it still unclear how google is going to authorize widespread importation and storage of google maps in other external gis service environments.

This will likely remain an open question util Google figures out how to deeply embed contextual ads into Google maps.

-Mike Liebhold

  David Knight [07.18.05 03:48 PM]

Responding to Mike Liebhold's "how google is going to authorize widespread importation and storage of google maps in other external gis service environments." The javascript code that I wrote integrates with google's javascript code to show WMS data but does not actually use google's servers at all. The user's webbrowser will download from the WMS source directly so google has no say in the matter.

  Jonathan Aquino [07.21.05 09:24 AM]

And someone has just integrated Google Earth with -- type the following into YubNub and it will launch Google Earth with the given address: gearth 109 St. Marks Place, New York, NY, 10009


  Kyle Mulka [08.03.05 04:32 AM]

I've been working with Google Maps and WMS for about a week or so now, and I've figured out how to get one WMS to overlay over another using Google Maps.

I can get the street layer from Google Maps to overlay over any WMS service, and also the other way around with street images or satellite images.

I'm going to write some documentation this week, but in the meantime here are a couple demos:

-Kyle Mulka

  Martin Jones [04.22.06 12:38 AM]

It's great that David is doing great work with maps, but he clones other people's content to his site so that he can display ads. Example here:

  steven [03.25.07 05:52 AM]

are there any updates on this, the examples mentions don't seem to be working...

  rob barber-delach [09.30.07 08:50 PM]

links to the example, etc. at are all dead.

  Gregers [12.27.07 05:14 PM]

John Deck has made a working wms script for GMap >= 2.36

In case any of the above links stop working. Just do a google search for "wms236" and you should find the script quite easily.

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