Marble 1.6.0 is going to be released around August, 2013 as part of the KDE 4.11 release. See the KDE 4.11 Release Schedule for details on the release process. We will add details on the new and noteworthy in Marble 1.6 below as features mature.
Finding patterns in prominent stars within apparent proximity on Earth's night sky is a human tradition dating back as far as the Neolithic Age. Marble now renders popular stars constellations thanks to Timothy Lanzi and Torsten Rahn.
Marble 1.5.0 has been released on February 6th, 2013 as part of the KDE 4.10 release. Please enjoy looking over the new and noteworthy.
René Küttner, a student from the university TU Dresden, worked on Marble as part of the ESA SoCiS 2012 program. The Summer of Code in Space was carried out for the second time by the European Space Agency and again Marble was chosen as a mentoring organization.
René developed a visualization of space orbiters around other planets inside the Marble Virtual Globe. As a result Marble can display the position and orbit tracks of space missions such as Mars Express, Venus Express and SMART-1. The visualization also includes the positions of the two Mars moons Phobos and Deimos. He also enhanced Marble's display of Earth satellite tracks.
During the summer, Ander Pijoan worked on his GSoC project to implement OpenStreetMap vector tile rendering in Marble. Many of his changes are part of Marble 1.5, including improvements in handling relations and vector rendering, extensions to Marble's .dgml format to include tiled vector layers and parsing of vector data in json format. You can read about his progress in his blog.
The screencast below demonstrates the final state of Ander's project. The map theme shown is not part of Marble 1.5.
The first release of Marble in the 1.4 series, Marble 1.4.0, was released on August 1st, 2012 alongside the KDE software compilation. Further 1.4.x versions follow the KDE 4.9.x releases. In the good tradition of recent releases, we have collected those changes directly visible to the user. Please enjoy looking over the new and noteworthy.
Some gradual improvements to the user interface make Marble more pleasant to use on the Desktop. The search bar has been moved from the Navigation tab to the main toolbar for easier access. Suggestions come up while you type.
Fonts used in maps now use an outline effect for better readability. Your bookmarks are now also shown in the map (unless you deactivate that in the Bookmarks menu).
Compare the two screenshots below — showing Marble 1.3 on top and Marble 1.4 below — to see the differences.
Marble can now show the position of an airplane simulated by FlightGear.
A number of gradual improvements in the routing area lead to an overall enhanced user experience. Just like it was possible in the mobile versions before, Marble's desktop version now let's you open and save routes as KML files. New turn instruction types and voice commands are supported and tasks like reversing or clearing the route got their own buttons to reduce the number of clicks needed to accomplish common tasks. Support for MapQuest and the Open Source Routing Machine (OSRM) has been added. Just like the existing five routing backends they are queried (if enabled) in the background to deliver alternative routes you can choose from. Both OSRM and MapQuest support worldwide routing; OSRM is known for speedy results thanks to its underlying fast routing algorithm (contraction hierarchies), while MapQuest carefully analyzes your route to generate versatile turn directions.
With the paperless office still to arrive snail mail plays an ever important role in daily life. Part of the addressing scheme in nearly all countries worldwide are postal codes (also known as post codes, ZIP codes or PIN codes). Each postal code usually covers a certain geographical area. Marble can now help you visualizing these areas and identifying their spatial relationship once you activate the postal code plugin. It was developed by Valery Kharitonov during Google Code-In 2011 to join Marble's list of online services.
Use the postal code plugin to show local postal codes on top of any map theme.
Now Marble sports initial support for loading ESRI Shapefile polygons. This is done via a dedicated file loading plugin. In order to make use of this feature the Marble compile needs to link against libshp (http://shapelib.maptools.org). Note that at the current point there is no styling done.
Another nifty addition to the latest version of Marble is support for the logfiles of the TangoGPS application.
Marble 1.3.0 was released on January 25th, 2012 as part of the KDE 4.8 release. See the Download section for Marble packages. In the good tradition of recent releases, we have collected those changes directly visible to the user. Please enjoy looking over the new and noteworthy:
Estimating the incline is important to hikers and bikers when planning a route. Marble's new elevation profile shows the height profile of any route worldwide in an interactive info box. After activating the Elevation Profile info box in Marble's menu, height profiles are automatically displayed and updated as you change the route. This feature was developed by Niko Sams and Florian Eßer. It is available in all Marble versions (Desktop and Mobile).
Do you like steep routes? Or rather avoid them? Marble's new elevation profile will help you in either case.
Did you ever wonder how position tracking works in Marble? The answer, as you may already know, is GPS, the Global Positioning System. One of its core parts are satellites traveling around the earth. You might be interested where those are, since their position highly influences the accuracy of your estimated current position. Guillaume Martres helps answering that question: Activate the Satellites Online Service and Marble shows you many of the artificial satellites. You can configure which satellite types are visible (like GPS or weather related ones), show their orbit and even select any of them to attend in a virtual flight!
This feature was developed during an ESA SOCIS project, the first Summer of Code in Space offered this year by the European Space Agency (ESA). We'd like to thank both Guillaume for his excellent work and the ESA for offering us the chance to be one of the mentoring organizations. Satellites can be viewed in Marble's Desktop versions and in Marble Touch on the Nokia N9/N950.
Marble can now display satellites from many different categories, show their orbits and even track them.
KRunner, the "Alt+F2" tool of Plasma, helps searching and launching files and applications. Thanks to Friedrich Kossebau it is now aware of Marble and can open its bookmarks and coordinates. So next time you stumble upon some coordinates on a website or get an invitation to a party by email, just paste the coordinates in krunner and view the place in Marble.
Open your Marble bookmarks and any coordinates from krunner.
Similar to how the Wikipedia community gathered an incredible amount of knowledge outperforming commercial encyclopedias, the OpenStreetMap contributors are busy mapping each and every part of the planet to create the data for the many OpenStreetMap based maps. Marble integrated them early (e.g. Mapnik, Open Cycle Map, Hike & Bike Map, Osmarender) in the popular server based tiling schemes where the map consists of many small images placed next to each other similar to a puzzle. This approach has several advantages, but customizations of the final map are hardly doable. Moreover the images for larger regions require a huge amount of disk space which makes offline usage difficult. While this is often not an issue for desktop computers, things change for mobile devices. And since we plan to bring Marble to the devices you may be using today or tomorrow, we are working on OpenStreetMap vector rendering support that needs little disk space, little computational effort and can be customized to the context you use it in (like motorcar navigation or hiking).
Towards this goal Konstantin Oblaukhov made great progress during his Google Summer of Code project. Marble can now open .osm files and show a huge amount of the elements they contain.
Many OpenStreetMap elements can now be imported and rendered by Marble on street level.
Of course we plan to continue working on the OpenStreetMap vector rendering support such that future Marble versions improve the rendering on different zoom levels, can be customized and download the data automatically from KDE servers. Stay tuned.
Marble's first end-user ready mobile version made its debut on the Nokia N900 in 2010. Aiming to create a more fluid and fun to use predecessor, we have been working on Marble Touch, a mobile version of Marble that is based on new Qt technologies (Qt Quick and Qt Components) and runs on the Nokia N9/N950. A prominent change is the introduction of activities which optimize the user interface towards common tasks like searching or routing.
Marble Touch on the Nokia N950 in the Routing activity.
Please note that the initial version 1.3.0 of Marble Touch does not include all features the N900 version of Marble offers. We do plan however to add these and other features gradually in monthly feature releases.
Update:Marble Touch is now available in the Nokia Store.
Marble Touch runs on the Nokia N9/N950. Versions for Plasma Active and Android are planned for the future.
Even though Marble Touch is deemed to be the predecessor of the Maemo version, we still maintain the wide-spread N900 version, which is released in version 1.3 in parallel. Future plans for Marble Touch include optimizations for tablet devices. Thanks to the usage of Qt Components and thanks to the Plasma Active team working on compatible Plasma Active Components, Marble Touch on Plasma Active will follow soon. A version for Android is planned as well.
There's a factsheet available that gives an overview for the latest full feature set.