Google Adds Mapping to YouTube – What does it mean?

Google has added an important new feature when you upload a video to YouTube. You now have the ability to give coordinates for the associated video – you can give lat/long coordinates or you can point the location out on a Google Maps map. Thanks to OgleEarth for bringing this to my attention. Here’s what it looks like:

YouTube Geotag map

The brief mention on the new feature in the YouTube blog doesn’t tell us anything about what they’ve planned for this new capability. But, given the ability of Google Maps to show video clips inside placemark descriptions, it can’t be that long before they have an ability to show YouTube videos based on location in Google Maps. In fact, I’m sure they are somehow creating KML files associated with the locations of the videos and will be able to show videos tied to a search for a location. There will be even more possibilities when they can have a KML network link to show video locations in either Google Earth or Google Maps. Having an ability to access YouTube videos which are geotagged with an API would be really nice. And, hopefully they will allow people to add location to existing YouTube videos.
However, Google Earth can’t currently show videos inside placemark descriptions. And Google Maps doesn’t yet officially support KML network links. I expect both of these problems to go away soon. Actually, I believe that Google will soon release a version of Google Earth which runs as a browser plug-in. It’s the obvious thing to do so they can have even tighter integration between Google Maps and Earth and better support of KML. And, it would easily enable implementation of embedded videos in the placemark descriptions since Javascript support will be part of the browser (just like with Maps). Microsoft already supports a plug in with their Virtual Earth 3D version – it runs inside either IE or Firefox on Windows. I hope Google will offer a browser plug-in version as an option (and supports Mac OSX and Linux too) and still keeps the separate application as well though. I believe you can achieve better performance as a separate application.
Anyway, I think it is great Google is starting to support geo-tagging of YouTube videos. This is another step towards the “Geoweb” – adding geospatial context to all forms of content on the web.

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.


  1. I just tried and you can add a location to existing YouTube videos. If you already filled the location field for the video then by default the Google map search field has that location and a simple click on the search button puts the marker in the correct place. Very convenient!

  2. I remember seeing these location tags awhile back but was unable to access them from Google’s api at that time. It is interesting to see video following in the GeoRSS route similar to Flickr et al, making more content location aware.
    I’ve also been able to experiment with the newer graphic xml grammars like SVG and XAML which can embed media into geometry and in the case of XAML even show a video on a 3D mesh. So as browsers evolve into rich client platforms these location tags will be very useful in the wild not just in a Google framework.

  3. On you just can find a youtube video on Google Maps. It have a beautiful Mapplet

  4. We just launched which enables you to map your videos and watch them in Google Earth and Google Maps.

  5. I have tried to embed a youtube video in Google Maps but every time i do it it either disappears after it appears and it is never public even though i save it with the public button checked. Is this feature mac unfriendly or what am i doing wrong? Help is appreciated.

  6. Dimitris says:

    I uploaded a video on Youtube, added its location and it appeared on Google Earth. After some time I deleted this video, but its Google Earth thumbnail still remains! Does anybody know how can I remove its thumbnail, not only from my own PC by unchecking the layer “youtube”, but generally remove it from Google Earth?

  7. Google should let you make a GPS route on google maps or google earth that lets you see where you are at that point in the video.

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