Google Earth Blog

Google Supports GeoRSS, KML in Maps API

Well, this is mostly a Google Maps story, but important nonetheless. It’s also more geared to developers than users. Google has added support in Google Maps for another standard file format called GeoRSS (Geographically Encoded Objects for RSS). This means, in addition to KML, that bloggers and other web sites can output an RSS file with location information and that file can be read into Google Maps and displayed. Many developers were asking Google to support this at the Where 2.0 conference last year. GeoRSS is a much simpler format than KML (so it has less capability), but it has less intanglements (i.e. Microsoft is supporting it, but has done nothing with KML yet).
The Google Maps API blog also says the API itself supports both KML and GeoRSS. This means applications can be much sleeker and just make a program call to the procedure to load a KML and get instant geo information. There are examples in the blog entry. However, there are limitations. The KML Google Maps can handle is still limited. It can handle image overlays, polygons, lines, and placemarks. But, only of limited size. Hundreds of placemarks will throw it off. Or large size KML files. Also, network links are not supported. But, Google has been gradually releasing more support, so hopefully these limitations will get fixed in the future. Google Earth itself is probably the easiest application to create many KML files. And, there are already millions of KML files out there to sample (of which most are small enough to be loaded into Google Maps).

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.

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