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Google makes Galaxy open source

by Pete Mason on 1 October 2010, 14:07

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)

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I can see my house from here

If you've been lucky enough to attend certain conferences - or even been able to tour a Google office - you may have seen the amazing Liquid Galaxy. The eight-screen set-up is capable of surrounding individuals with images from Google Earth, offering a unique way to explore the planet.

The installation is fairly rare, though, so not many people will have had a chance to actually experience it for themselves. However, with a little time, money and effort, you can now recreate it in your own home, as the search-giant has made the project ‘open-source', posting all designs and code online for anyone to use.

The plans are all there, from the mechanical designs required to build the housing for the eight 55in LCD-screens to the Ubuntu sysadmin scripts and network settings. The system is essentially just eight PCs running Google Earth networked together, with one acting as a master and the others as slaves. However, there's still a lot of setup involved to get all of the displays to properly communicate and stay synced up.

While the full Liquid Galaxy might be a little expensive for most people's tastes, the same principles can apply to much smaller rigs. The system scales down to just two displays of any size, meaning that you could easily build a multi-PC display using two laptops or two PCs connected to adjacent monitors.

For those interested in the ultimate Google Earth experience - and the ability to zoom a panoramic display from space to the bottom of the oceans - full details and links to the appropriate walkthroughs are available from the company's blog.

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