gexplorer implementation demo

Use the mouse to look around. WASD or arrow keys to move.
SHIFT or R is up and CTRL or F is down.

Roll in turns   Auto tilt   Auto altitude   High inertia   Medium inertia   Low inertia  

Select location


GExplorer is Open Source

View the Alps in Google Earth like you never seen it before! GExplorer is a physics based view controler that allows users to freely navigate in 3D space. Here GExplorer is used to control the view in Google Earth. Google saw the value of the navigation system and purchased it in order to open source the code under Apache License, Version 2.0. GExplorer is used in their Google Earth Studio product which is used by TV stations and other Google Earth Enterprise users. Let's hope that GExplorer will find it's way to the Google Earth desktop.

"How to use it

GExplorer is used with both keyboard and mouse as if it were a computer game. This video shows you howe to use it.

Viewing direction

The mouse is used to determine the viewing direction. Left and right from the window center causes the view to change heading smoothly while moving the mouse to the upper and lower limits of the window causes the view to look up and down respectivly.

View tilt is controlled automatically when autotilt is set to true. In that case the camera tilt changes with altitude in such a way that the earth horizon is shown at the top of the window.


The view can be moved forward and backward using W and S or Up and Down arrow keys.

Sideways movement is achieved with A and D or Left and Right arrow keys

The combination of the movement keys and mouse position enables the user to smoothly orbit points of interest and transition into any kind of movement smoothly

The rollfactor property allows programmers to define if and how much roll is present when turning the view. This gives the impression of an aeroplane flying. Roll is dependent on turn rate, speed and amount of sideways movement.

Altitude control

The altitude of the view is controled by the SHIFT or R key to go up and CTRL or F key to go down.

Those keys also adjust the command height when the Auto Altitude is engaged

Altitude is smoothly controlled and like movement subject to inertia.

Speed scaling

In order to navigate both small and big areas we apply speed scaling. The view will move faster as the altitude above the ground increases. However we don't want to speed to abruptly change just because we fly over a hilltop. For this the program calculates the average ground height over the last 2 seconds and uses the height above average ground level and a measure for the speed scaling. Speed scaling is not subject to inertia and responds smoothly but immediately

Open source code for gexplorer


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