The Google Earth Community Comes Back

A few weeks ago, we mentioned that the Google Earth Community was going to be moving over to Google Groups. The first phase of the move is now complete, and the GEC is once again available for all!


Ultimately, this will be a great thing. As opposed to being stuck on an ancient (and frequently crashing) BBS system, the community is now on a much more stable platform that has engineers dedicated to maintenance and improvement on a regular basis. In the long run, that will make for a great system.
In the short term, though, there are many issues to overcome. Here are just a few:
1 — If you had an account in the old GEC you’ll need to “claim” your username on the new site in order to maintain ownership of your old posts. It’s a slick process that seems to work rather well, but you can report issues in this forum if you’re having problems.
2 — The option to “Share to the Google Earth Community” from withing Google Earth isn’t working right now, though it should be back up in the next few weeks.
3 — KML download links are sending users to an interstitial page; not a deal-breaker, but could be kind of annoying and may potentially break some network link KML files out there.
In addition, there were many features that frequent users of the old BBS system will miss. Some of those features are replaced by features in Google Groups. Some features Google is planning to add to the new GEC system, and may even get implemented in the near future. Use the links provided to provide suggestions on what you think would improve the new community.
Google has worked hard over the last few weeks to have the community running as smoothly as possible, including adding thousands of redirects to make sure links in the community will always point you in the right direction. As you begin to dig into the new community, be sure to use the bug reporting and improvement suggestion forums frequently to help improve the system as much as possible.

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. Unfortunately it’s allmost impossible to find round there, not to talk about to go to your files you had in the old GEC.
    I’m lost there.
    It should have been made much better than it is now.

  2. Is anyone having trouble loading Google earth today?

  3. What a creepy groups 🙁
    Dan: No problem here.

  4. From the angle of the user of the GEC layer – the ‘i’ icons – it seems to be working OK. But does anyone know it the revamped system means any gain or loss, or no change to the content of the layer?

  5. @ Chris: the content in the GEC layer hasn’t changed. We’ve tested a bunch of links in the layer’s placemark to make sure that all forum thread links are redirecting to the right content on the new GEC. If you find a link that isn’t working, please report it on the GEC!
    Mark, Google Earth Community Manager

  6. @ Mark – thanks for the reassurance, and no missing links so far. I was just wondering if the opportunity had been for any form of systematic ‘editing’ of the layer, but I guess there is always the effect of individual members adding and removing files.

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