Interactive Spaces API and Runtime; Google Earth Celebrates 40th Anniversary of the Landsat Satellite Program

"Interactive Spaces," a new Google API and runtime released today, allows developers to build interactive applications for physical spaces.Interactive Spaces is written in Java, so it can run on any operating system that supports Java, including Linux and OSX and soon Windows. Additional languages like "Javascript and Python are supported out of the box. Native […]

"Interactive Spaces," a new Google API and runtime released today, allows developers to build interactive applications for physical spaces.

Interactive Spaces is written in Java, so it can run on any operating system that supports Java, including Linux and OSX and soon Windows. Additional languages like "Javascript and Python are supported out of the box. Native applications can also be run, which means packages like openFrameworks which use C++ are also supported out of the box," informs Google.

"Interactive Spaces provides a collection of libraries for implementing the activities which will run in your interactive space. Implementing an activity can require anything from a few lines in a simple configuration file to you creating the proper interfaces entirely from scratch. The former gets you off the ground very quickly, but limits what your activity can do, while the latter allows you the most power at the cost of more complexity," Google explains.

Interactive Spaces also "provides activities' runtime environment, allowing you to deploy, start, and stop the activities running on multiple computers from a central web application in your local network."

It works by having "consumers" of events, like the floor, connect to "producers" of events, like those cameras in the ceiling. Any number of "producers" and "consumers" can be connected to each other, making it possible to create quite complex behavior in the physical space.

Google Interactive Spaces API and Runtime

In the example above, "there are cameras in the ceiling which are doing blob tracking, in this case the blobs are people walking on the floor. The floor then responds to the blobs by having colored circles appear underneath the feet of someone standing on the floor and then having the circles follow that person around," Google explains.

Check it out on Google Code.

A seasonal timelapse created using MODIS imagery
A seasonal timelapse created using MODIS imagery, where every video frame represents about one week. This shows snow-cover differences over the U.S. between February and August, 2002.

Today, the Landsat satellite program celebrates its 40th anniversary -- it is now the longest-running continuous acquisition of satellite images of the Earth's surface.

Over the years, Landsat has "collected petabytes of images offering an historic perspective on planetary change that can help scientists, independent researchers, and nations make informed economic and environmental policy decisions," Google said.

Google with USGS and Carnegie Mellon University, working to make parts of this enormous collection of imagery available to the public in timelapse videos of the Earth's surface.

With them "you can travel through time, from 1999-2011, to see the transformation of our planet. We believe these may be the largest video frames ever created. If you could see the entire video at full resolution, a single frame would be 1.78 terapixels which is 18 football fields' worth of computer screens laid side-by-side," Google wrote.