Marble has undergone many improvements during Google Code-in 2012. These range from extended KML support to plugin improvements. Following are the new features implemented in Marble :

Sun Control Dialog:

Marble shows the subsolar point on the globe which changes according to the time of the day. It is indicated by an icon. Previously the “Sun Control” dialog had only one option to “Show the Zenith”. This worked quite well but what happened was that with one checkbox, two operations were being handled, namely - showing the icon at the subsolar point and locking the view to the subsolar point. So, we decided to split them into their respective options. We now have a “Sun Control” dialog which looks like this:

This enables the user to either have the icon displayed or the view to be locked at the subsolar point or both. In the above case, where both the checkboxes are checked, Marble looks like:

The idea of showing the subsolar point in Marble is inspired from the original globes.

Photo Plugin:

Marble has the Photo Plugin which, when enabled, shows images on the globe according to its geographical coordinates. The plugin uses the Flickr API to do this. We have added a new configuration dialog for the plugin which has the option to select/deselect the licenses for the images. So now images are displayed only if their corresponding licenses have been selected. The configuration dialog has one more option - Number of Items to be displayed. This option sets the maximum number of items ( here, images ) that will be displayed at a time.

The photo plugin has been migrated to the usage of the web popup which has been recently introduced to Marble.

Map license(s):

At Marble, we respect the license of a person and/or organisation(s). Hence, we implemented this new feature which shows the license and the licensee of the current map theme since Marble uses a variety of sources for its map themes.

The user can click on the “Full License” option to see the full license. “Show Details” opens a new dialog with all the details associated with the current map theme and its license holder.

License Reminder:

“Copy Map” copies the screenshot of the globe to the clipboard. However some map themes require attribution. So after choosing “Copy Map” we tell the user that the map needs proper attribution if used elsewhere and offer to automatically include the attribution.

The same happens if the user prints maps that are provided under licenses that require attribution (like OpenStreetMap).

Kinetic Earth Rotation:

Marble’s globe’s kinetic spinning option was previously enabled for default and the user had no option to disable it. So, we extended the main configuration dialog with this option and now the user can switch on/off the kinetic spinning of the globe.

These new features might seem very subtle changes in the wide Marble framework but together they go a long way - adding some ‘shining stars’ :) .