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Marble - Current Release

Visual ChangeLog: Marble 1.0 ("Magratée")

Marble 1.0 has been released on January 26th, 2011. After almost 5 years of open community-driven development the Marble Team decided that the time is ripe for "1.0": Marble has developed into a mature impressive virtual globe with a big developer and user community behind. We'd like to thank all the people who have supported us during all those years. And we'd like to encourage everyone interested to join us: The next release is already in the works.

To celebrate this release we've compiled some fact sheets for the Marble Virtual Globe:

Marble 1.0 is part of the KDE 4.6 Software Compilation. In the good tradition of recent years, we have collected those changes directly visible to the user. Please enjoy looking over the new and noteworthy:

Bookmark Support

Adding a Bookmark in Marble
Adding a Bookmark in Marble

Marble always supported one bookmark, the home location. Since one bookmark may not be enough for everyone, Gaurav Gupta added support for an arbitrary number of bookmarks during his Google Summer of Code project. Bookmarks can be added at any point on the map. Suggestions for bookmark names are automatically created using reverse geocoding.

Bookmarks are arranged in folders. They can be accessed from the Bookmarks main menu. Additionally they appear as possible routing targets for quick planning of commonly used routes. The mobile version of Marble supports Bookmarks as well.

Bookmarks as Route Targets on the Nokia N900
Bookmarks as Route Targets on the Nokia N900

You can learn more about Bookmarks in KDE Userbase. A Bookmark Manager (editing, moving and deleting existing bookmarks, KML import and export) is planned for a future Marble version.

GPS Tracking

The existing GPS tracking support has been extended. Besides showing your current location on the map, Marble can now automatically follow you as you move. Furthermore it's possible to have the zoom value adjusted automatically according to your speed.

The mobile version on the Nokia N900 let's you open and save track logs in .kml format. This feature is not yet available on the Desktop, but will follow shortly in Marble 1.1. More details on GPS tracking are described in KDE Userbase.

GPS Tracking in Marble
GPS Tracking in Marble

Routing

Support for routing was introduced in Marble 0.10 using OpenRouteService as the backend. Since the requirement of an Internet connection and the limitation to routing in Europe does not cover all use cases we want to support, we extended Marble's routing feature to support several different backends. Four new backends join the existing OpenRouteService one: Yours provides worldwide online routing while Gosmore, Monav and Routino are offline routing backends. The different backends can be configured in routing profiles. Four profiles are setup as default: Car (fastest), Car (shortest), Bicycle and Pedestrian.

Offline routers require additional maps to be installed locally. For your convenience we host maps for all worldwide countries for the Monav backend. They can be downloaded directly from within Marble. Further details can be found in KDE Userbase.

Download of Offline Routing Maps in Marble
Download of Offline Routing Maps in Marble

Sometimes there are several possible ways to reach a destination. They take a similar amount of time but use quite different roads. In such a case Marble chooses the best route (shown in blue in the map), but also presents the alternative ones to you (shown in gray). If you prefer one of the alternative routes, just click on it in the map to switch to it.

Alternative Routes between Source and Destination
Alternative Routes between Source and Destination
Marble provides further assistance functions tailored to the mobile use case. Once you planned a route, switch Marble into route guidance mode to have driving instructions shown in front of turn points. In case you deviate from the route, Marble automatically calculates an appropriate new route. We created a Tutorial in KDE Userbase that introduces the route guidance mode.
Route Guidance Mode on the Nokia N900
Route Guidance Mode on the Nokia N900

Web Map Service (WMS)

The Web Map Service (WMS) support that has been introduced with Marble 0.10 has been further improved. For Marble 1.0 WMS only gets used internally for ready-made map themes (which can be created and edited via XML files). In our future Marble release there will be a Map Creation Wizard which will make this feature more accessible to the user.

Osmarender Map Theme

Osmarender is a popular OpenStreetMap base layer rendered by the tiles@home project. It can now also be used in Marble as an alternative to the classical OpenStreetMap Marble map (Mapnik layer). You can install it via Marble's 'Get New Stuff' feature (File => Download Maps).

The Osmarender map theme does also include an optional hillshading layer created by Colin Marquardt. You can enable it in Marble's Legend tab on the left side of the screen.

The Osmarender Map Theme with Hillshading
The Osmarender Map Theme with Hillshading

Experimental Qt Quick (QtDeclarative/QML) Support

Qt Quick is a new technology introduced in Qt 4.7 which makes it easier to create animated, touch enabled user interfaces. In preparation of more extensive use in future Marble versions we now ship an experimental QtDeclarative plugin. The plugin exposes the Marble widget and some other components to QML. Three example QML applications are included as well. You can start the examples as shown below (paths may be different on your system):

qmlviewer -I /usr/lib/kde4/plugins/marble/ /usr/share/marble/examples/qml/google-search/google-search.qml
A sample Marble QML application mimicking a popular search engine
A sample Marble QML application mimicking a popular search engine

Performance Improvements

Marble is known to run smooth even on older hardware. Still we found some ways to squeeze more speed out of it: Caching pixmaps, optimizing hot spots and improving projections, Marble now renders faster than ever. Although these optimizations were primarily developed to accelerate our mobile version, most of them apply equally well to Marble on the Desktop.

And more ...

There is a special version of Marble that doesn't require the KDE framework (it technically only depends on the Qt library). This version is commonly used for our Windows, Mac and Nokia N900 packages.

Marble 1.0 will be the first release where this special Qt-Only version will ship with a user interface translated into more than 50 languages - just like the KDE version.

Also the Qt-Only version will have a nice feature for OSM Mappers: The user can easily switch from the OpenStreetMap view in Marble to OSM editing tools such as JOSM, Merkaator and Potlatch: The tool will automatically open up the same area seen in Marble.

New features in earlier versions are described in prior Visual Changelogs: Marble 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 0.9 and 0.10.



Last update: 2011-04-29

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