Jimmy John’s non-compete zones in Google Earth

SigActs.com has an interesting blog post about U.S. sandwich restaurant chain Jimmy John’s, which requires their deli employees to sign non-compete agreements. There is an online map provided, but it is best viewed in Google Earth by downloading this KML file.

Jimmy Johns non-compete zones
Jimmy John’s non-compete zones.

We asked blog writer Sean Maday how the map and KML were made and he told us:

I pulled all of the store locations from the Jimmy John’s website and then used PostGIS to create a three mile buffer (circle) around each store. Then I dissolved the buffers to create a union of all overlapping polygons.”

So would it be possible to do something similar using just Google Earth? It would certainly not be easy. Google Earth is a fantastic product but is not a replacement for a professional Geographic Information System (GIS) program.

KML does not have a built in way to create circles. The best you can do in KML is a polygon with lots of points on the circumference of a circle. We found a couple of online tools that help you create a KML circle around a given location: kml4earth and thesamestory. Neither of them offer an easy way to take a table of coordinates and create a KML of circles.

As for creating a union of overlapping polygons, we can find no way to do it in Google Earth or with basic tools other than manually editing the KML file. The only real solution is a GIS program. We did find a free opensource GIS called Quantum GIS and instructions on how to use it to merge polygons, but it is not a small application and not easy to use if you have no experience in GIS. PostGIS that Sean used is open source but requires some GIS and SQL experience to use.

Perhaps one of our readers knows of an easy way to merge to KML polygons without the use of a GIS package?

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.






PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.

Comments

  1. http://Chris says

    Perhaps something a little nearer the interests of the world wide readership, particularly judging by the number of comments every time there are posts about imagery updates, is that the current map of updates in the Google Maps Gallery now has NO date information. Perhaps to gloss over the confusing sequence of updates raised in a recent post, but now almost useless for the GE enthusiast.

  2. http://Issac says

    This is silly. As I understand it, most of the franchised location do not have the non-compete clause. Shouldnt the map be of just corp. owned stores?

  3. Why doesn’t google earth simply make it a legal violation for any government agency to use it to violate our 4th amendment rights? keep them from using it to prosecute, tax or determine taxes. Is making a buck more important that our privacy?



PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.