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Google sketchup 8 landscape design: how do you do it?
how do you do it?
Google’s map app for Android has no tools, or easy ones, to allow you to create what we’ll call “landscape designs”
First question is: why don’t we? Not because it’s impossible. Not because it would be too complicated. Not even because there’s some kind of artistic side of landscape creation that we shouldn’t possibly know.
No, it’s because Google wants you to put landmarks on the map. The kind of landmarks that people in Kansas are more likely to recognise as the places where buildings or landmarks exist. It’s a challenge for the app that provides a map and a database of buildings and names to supply you with some sort of template to work on.
People who don’t look at Google map closely might be surprised to know how little Google supplies in the way of high quality landmarks, which is why, unfortunately, so much design needs to be done. It’s a hassle, but it’s the least Google can do.
The great Google map
We’ll look at how to do it without a template. We’ll show you how to do it in ways you wouldn’t even consider. We’ll show you a better way to make a good looking landscape than you’d expect to be possible.
Why do you want a landscape?
We’ve seen that Google doesn’t give a lot of landmarks for its own Android app, but it does give plenty for web-based Google map services and, more importantly, for services that allow you to visualise anything you want on a map.
You’ll know, if you’ve ever visited an open web map, that the map isn’t perfectly styled. There are no buildings, no landmarks, and no shades of colour. It’s possible to do quite well with an existing service (although few do), but to go beyond that you need your own data of landmarks.
You need landmarks, not so much because you need to have a great landscape map, but because you need a good one. A landscaped map is easier to understand.
How do you get landmarks?
Well, you’ve got three options. One, the most popular, and the one most easily exploited, is the Google Maps API. It can be used with both desktop web browsers and mobile app clients and provides you with a service to supply content and landmarks into your map.
It’s free, but it has a few requirements to use it, including the ability to read and write data to the Google maps database. While those are very easy things to do, they require technical abilities that aren’t always available to the non-technical user.
The second option is if you have a service that will allow you to post some sort of data to their database, such as Facebook Places. It’s a free service, but it’s a lot more limited than the Google Maps API. It can take time to create the maps, and it does only allow you to place one type of data, rather than the various types of data you might want to add. It doesn’t provide you with a database of names and landmarks.
There are other, more technical, options available.
You can generate your own data that you can add to your map. You can create database of names and landmark details. For this project, we will use a database of names and landmarks that we created in Illustrator.
We’re going to look at adding it to Google maps using the Android app Google Maps API. This is a free service, but it is restricted to read only and can only be used in an Android or iOS app.
To use the API we need to connect to Google Maps on Android and iOS apps. We will do this through the Google Cloud Connect tool. This is a service that lets you configure and start your Google Maps API and connects you to the right account.
You’ll be doing this as a server, not on your device, but your Google account, so you’ll need a developer account.
Start your Google Cloud Connect tool and create an account (or you can use one that you already have).
Now, on the Android app, tap your account and select Connect with Google.
In the Google account area, enter your email address, then fill out the account permissions that the server requests and tap Connect.
You’ll be asked if you want to create a new API client, which is the software to access your Google API. Do so, and a window will pop up in your Android app to allow you to add this new API client.
Select the API that you want to connect to and you will be given a description of what it will do and access to information about it. Click Add, and the app will be updated.
This will take you to the Google Maps API to look at and make changes to.
You’ll need to give the Google Maps API access to your data. In this case, this will be the online folder that contains the Illustrator file that contains the names and details of the landmarks you’re going to add.
Select Create API Client. In the Select account window, choose your account and choose Connect as described above.
In the Google API client area, select the service that will access your data, and enter a name for it. Then select the folder you wish to access. This will be in your computer’s online network folder, not the same place you can find it.
The names and landmarks of the places and things on the map are provided in a file called, for your particular Google API account, jsons.json. This file, should be found in your online network folder, in the json folder for your client name.
Choose your client name from the upper left