back to article Google Earth 'Liquid Galaxy' open sourced*

The enterprising Googlers who created an immersive setup that uses eight 55-inch HD displays to surround you with a near-360° Google Earth fly-through have open sourced the code and mechanical plans for what they call their "Liquid Galaxy". "With the Liquid Galaxy, we ... fly through the Grand Canyon, leap into low-Earth orbit …


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  1. petur
    Thumb Up


    When I was at Google last year they only had the setup with three panels, and it was already impressive. It did work more fluidly than what the youtube clip shows... The 3D controller needs a fair bit of getting used to, but after that it's addictive :)

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Ok I'm missing something...

    I saw this with standard flight simulators a decade ago. Surely I'm missing something here.

    Also, it may be the angles, but it doesn't even seem to render correctly. Look at the Google earth video about 10 - 15 seconds in and things just don't line up.

  3. Khaptain Silver badge


    Not a lot of whow factor after the first few minutes or so, too much information for the human brain to handle at once.

    I did like that Joystick though, looks a bit like the joystick that we find on BMWs.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Couldn't they have done this a lot cheaper with say.... ooh, I dunno some massive multiple supporting system that couldn't possibly exist. Say, ooooh, Eyefinity?

    I don't think it can do 8 monitors in that particular set up, but it could do 6 probably with some driver hackery? Since the best it can do portrait is 3, it can do 6 just not in that orientation apparently...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @AC you are missing something...

      Unlike a flight simulator, these are all images of the earth taken from satellites and have to be 'stitched' together to create a large zoomable image.

      So you will need one server for each panel because of the amount of data and graphical manipulation that has to be done.

      I'm sure if someone wanted they could clean up the code and even take advantage of GPUs (if not already)....

      As you point out... keeping 8 servers in sync... not an easy task.

    2. Shades

      Too much information for the human brain?

      You do realise Google Earth is actually modelled on a real place called Earth? No? Well, perhaps you'd like to visit us sometime? There's all sorts of things to do. You can see things, touch things, taste things, hear things and smell... Well really, the least you can do is not let your head explode while I'm talking to you!

    3. LaeMing Silver badge


      "Joystick" appears to be a SpaceNavigator 6dof (x, y, z, roll, pitch, yaw movement). I have a SpaceExplorer version (same controller, more buttons) for VR work and they are pretty great for this sort of environment once you get used to them.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      or maybe just open a window?

      I'm very underwhelmed, the resolution is nothing like I'm used to and I only get lag like that after a few beers...

  5. Elmer Phud

    shop early for . . .

    Right, that's Xmas sorted when I'm asked 'what do you want'.

    Can't see how anyone could object to a mere $80k - maybe combined xmas and birthday present.

  6. Mattyod


    Now everyone will be able ot have one of these in their home.

    Oh wait...

  7. Dave Murray

    Meditation Chamber

    So that's where Eric Schmidt goes to remove his mask & relax.

  8. MinionZero

    Why so much latency...

    Interesting project, but the lag is very noticeable between monitors. (I assume its one PC per monitor with a different view into the same 3d world). If they have one central computer which sends user movement updates to all other computers/monitors that would remove all noticeable lag between monitors. (It wouldn't remove lag between user control movements and final monitor updating computers, but it would at least remove the bad lag they currently have between different monitors).

  9. IanML

    Been there done that.

    Taken from the Official doom FAQ part 2

    ++: If you have a network, try setting up a network game with three players. The three terminals should have the parameters:

    "doom -devparm -net 3 -left"

    "doom -devparm -net 3"

    "doom -devparm -net 3 -right"

    Then, set up the left and right terminal monitors next to the middle monitor, in a virtual-reality type configuration. When you turn your head, you see the screen turned 90 degrees! This ONLY works with versions 1.0 or 1.1 of DOOM.

    Grenade because that would have made doom (and google earth) much better.

  10. jake Silver badge

    Ubuntu sysadmin scripts?

    Now THERE's a phrase I never thought I'd hear/read in supposedly serious conversation ... google is clearly being run by management & marketing, not engineering.

    "Ubuntu sysadmin scripts" ... The very idea makes me giggle :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Uh ...

      You'll have to elaborate, writing scripts to automate repetitive sysadmin work is a great idea.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        RE: Uh...

        I think it's the Ubuntu part he objects to, not so much the scripting part. :)

        // penguin for obvious reasons

  11. pete23

    I think

    I should get the GF this for her birthday rather than the Cayman S.

  12. dssf

    A couple of novel uses...

    -- Tie them in to the RealDoll product line, and install in prisons, or embassies (OrjyTron)

    -- Tie install fans and puffer tubes and sell to the militaries for skydiving (HALO/LALO) training

    -- Sell to SWAT teams for room-broom (Uzi) and other types of exercises

    -- Get the world ready for Soylent Green

  13. Neil Paterson

    @ Jake - "Ubuntu sysadmin scripts"

    "We use Ubuntu Linux for its stability and ease of administration" - page one of the HOWTO.

    Maybe the technically incompetent marketing types wrote the manual as well as the quote from the article?

    My distro's better than your distro! Erm, no. Yours has users that have a superiority complex. Surely that's a bug, not a feature? Can we not just say that some distros are better at certain things than others, and leave it at that?

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