NRAO/Google Sky Status

Background and Introduction

This project has been discontinued; it was an effort to integrate NRAO science products into Google Earth/Sky.

Google Earth is a cross-platform desktop application which allows users via internet to see virtually any place on earth, drawing from sources of satellite images, maps, terrain data, and 3D models. It now includes a sky view to allow users to explore the universe in similar fashion; this is Google Sky (released Aug 2007).

NRAO created a Google Sky prototype which displayed select images from the NRAO image gallery for demonstration at AAS in Jan 2008.


The NRAO/Google Sky project aimed to:
  • Broaden access to NRAO radio imagery & science for
    • science users.
    • general public.
  • Contribute to the Google Sky project
    • lower-priority (from Google's perspective), high-impact developments.
    • items that the core Google Sky team doesnt have time to work on, but would love to have.
  • Promote use of Google Sky as a VO-enabled tool for preparing proposals and conducting archive research.


  • 07 Feb 2008 - Nicole and Ron visited Google in Pittsburgh, and laid out milestones for the year.
  • 27 Apr 2008 - NRAO/Google Sky Open House exhibit was a success! The exhibit was well-attended all day, with Ron DuPlain, Dana Balser, and Dave Hogg presenting.
  • 24 Jun 2008 - Google and NRAO complete a rough first draft of the NRAO Google Sky showcase.
  • 11 Sep 2008 - Jared Crossley and Ron DuPlain create a prototype "KML Now!" for the NVO Summer School 2008, winning "1st technical prize." KML Now! accepts a cone search and returns a KML document to be loaded in Google Sky, complete with images from the Virtual Observatory.
  • 10 Jan 2009 - Jared Crossley and Ron DuPlain publicly debut "KML Now!" at AAS 2009 with a poster and a new release of the application at
  • 11 Mar 2009 - KML Now! is featured in the SPIE Newsroom.


  • Completed in Feb 2008 - Meet with core Google Sky team in Pittsburgh; laid out NRAO/Google collaboration.
  • Completed in Apr 2008 - Submit existing radio skymarks to Google Earth/Sky Gallery.
  • Completed on 27 Apr 2008 - Display Google Sky + NRAO contributions-to-date to NRAO friends and families at the Open House in Charlottesville.
  • Completed in May 2008 - Prototype Web browser/Maps API functionality for use in NRAO web.
  • Completed in Jun 2008 - Touch up existing radio skymarks.
  • Completed in Jun 2008 - Expand existing radio skymarks and prepare rough first cut of NRAO Google Sky showcase for integration as an official layer in Google Sky.
  • Completed in Sep 2008 - Prototype a "pipeline" to get VO images into Google Sky.
  • Completed in Jan 2009 - Release KML Now! for public beta.
  • Goal for ??? - Expand NRAO Google Sky showcase with participation of staff.
  • Goal for ??? - Start working on NVSS pipeline to create a radio sky background in Google Sky.


Insert or link here discussions on the status and direction of this project.

-- RonDuPlain - 03 Mar 2008 - 21 Sep 2009
Topic revision: r10 - 2009-09-21, RonDuPlain
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