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21 April 2011, 12:47

Marble desktop globe adds map creation wizard

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Marble Logo The Marble development team has released version 1.1 of the KDE Education Project's virtual globe application, which is similar to Google's Earth application. According to the developers, the update is special as a number of the new features were developed as part of Google Code-in (GCI), leading the developers to decide to "get it out between the usual KDE application releases" – KDE 4.6 includes Marble 1.0 by default.

Marble 1.1 features the addition of a new map creation wizard that supports three different kinds of map themes; maps made from one large source image, maps which are accessible from tile servers like OpenStreetMap, Google Maps or Ovi Maps, or those accessible via Web Map Service (WMS) servers. However, the developers consider the map creation wizard to be a "technical preview", noting that it version 1.2 of Marble will improve its usability and include "additional features that could not be introduced in Marble 1.1 while keeping the library binary compatible at the same time."

Zoom Recent earthquakes being displayed in Marble.
A new earthquakes plugin is now included in Marble's set of online services. With the plugin, users can display earthquakes which have occurred during a given time span with different colours that indicate the magnitude. At this time, only historic earthquakes are shown and the developers have no plans to integrate real-time data from earthquake warning systems. Other changes include integration with the online community, extended plugin configuration and support for map editing via an external editor, such as Potlatch, the Flash-based OpenStreetMap editor. Furthermore, the mobile version of Marble for the Nokia N900 running Maemo now includes a preview of voice navigation.

First released in November of 2006 and developed by the KDE Community, Marble is a cross-platform application that lets users view 3D maps of the Earth, as well as, for example, the Moon, Venus and Mars. Users can choose between topographic maps, satellite maps, street maps, educational maps, historical maps and many more which can be downloaded. Marble also includes a built-in route planning feature which is uses data from the OpenStreetMap (OSM) project and is based on

More details about the release, including a number of screenshots, can be found in the features guide and in the official release announcement. Marble 1.1 is available to download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux from the project's site and requires Qt as a dependency. Marble is licensed under LGPL.

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