Google Earth 6.1 adds a few KML features

Our post on Google Earth 6.1 covered all of the details that we could find about the newest release of Google Earth, but Google just unveiled a few more — some nice KML changes for developers.

Line Labels

The first is a change to the way line labels are displayed. Labels are now turned off by default in Google Earth 6.1, but you can add them at the midpoint of regular lines by using the new <gx:labelVisibility> in a <LineStyle>. Here’s an example KML, as well as a screenshot below.


Improved handling of Street View in Tours

Google Earth 6.1 added some nice improvements to the Street View feature, including a wider field-of-view to match the Google Maps Street View experience. Because Maps and Earth had a different field of view, Tours that used Street View elements would always stay consistent when viewed later. You can now use the <gx:horizFov> in your <Camera> and <LookAt> tags to remedy this. Below is a video showing this change, and here is the KML file to see it for yourself.

To learn more about these new features, you can read the full post over on the Google Geo Developers Blog.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. The KML changes have some effect on local data. I’ve noticed that my myplaces.kml file had shrunk by about 300KB (relative to its standard backup) after starting GE V6.1 for the first time. There’s some decluttering been going on apparently – one obvious thing I found is that e.g. for a seafloor placemark I had set in previous versions, the “Point” XML part had a needless “clampToGround” for “altitudeMode” followed by “clampToSeaFloor” for “gx:altitudeMode”. The first is gone for that placemark, the latter remains.
    Another under-the-hood thing that has changed is that the “res” subfolder in the installation directory has been cleaned up a lot. All the different starting locations and sightseeing KMLs that previously had their own subfolders for every locale now have been summarized into a small number of single resource files (all those *.rcc files there). The only subfolder remaining is “flightsim”.

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