View Full Version : Geocaching.com killed the Google Earth KML



bgrffdave
07-15-2009, 10:29 PM
In case many haven't noticed yet, the KML for viewing caches in Google Earth has officially been killed by GC.com

Here's the official word (http://support.groundspeak.com/Support/index.php?_m=knowledgebase&_a=viewarticle&kbarticleid=422):

Groundspeak has discontinued support for Google Earth KML.
There are a couple reasons for the removal of the network KML. The network KML was implemented before we had a proper online mapping tool for Geocaching.com. Some of the more tenured cachers may recall the old GeoMicro maps that would reload the page every time you panned or zoomed (and how tedious that was). The subsequent introduction of full-featured Geocaching.com Google Maps has made the KML link somewhat redundant.

Another reason for the removal of the network KML is that only about 200 users regularly accessed the Google Earth KML, and the performance hit to the site was grossly out of proportion with the return. In other words, it was making the site run quite slowly. Groundspeak hesitates to inconvenience even a small number of geocachers. However it is sometimes necessary for us to identify areas of performance loss as the site grows in order to keep the site responsive and available at all times, even if it means sacrificing a feature that some found useful. Obviously we would rather introduce new features than take them away, so we hope you can understand the uncomfortable situation we were in.

Please keep in mind that you can still use Google Earth to import .GPX files from Pocket Queries. In fact, the accuracy with this method will be much better since the network KML had always randomized locations to some extent anyway.


My 2 pennies... a carefully written piece for sure but does anyone else get the feeling the true reason was $$ ? The GE kml worked for anyone, premium member of GC.com or not. Now to get good live mapping you need to pay.

hollora
07-15-2009, 10:42 PM
Nicely said - and it's interesting - those of us who care - seem to be the paying members anyway. Hum? So where does this 200 user number come from? I suspect from Maine and NH alone I could find 200............

brdad
07-16-2009, 05:51 AM
Funny, I just replied to a similar topic in the NH forums.

I liked the KML file as well, especially when planning a trip out of state. It saved having to download PQs until you were sure of your route. I was reminded that the GE KML's waypoints floated some; you could not rely on their accuracy.

I think like any business, the value for dollar for them made the kml unworthy. Same reason some stores don't sell some products you may love - if they can't sell enough to make it worth their while, it won't make them money. And while 200 seems awful low to me, it probably was a low number and the load on the servers had to be high.

There is the geocaching.com Google maps. You can use those to find parking areas and the like.

Locally, if you do get PQs, you can load those into Google Earth. I even made a macro so I could see the caches and their .1 mile radius...

http://www.bytethebullet.com/geocaching/fora/cachecircles.jpg

fins2right
07-16-2009, 09:14 AM
All of this reaches a technical level that is currently beyond me. To be honest, I don't really know what a macro is or a kml. I just sort of pick an area, pick out caches and hope for the best. I need to take a class!

bgrffdave
07-16-2009, 09:17 AM
I wonder if the calculations of making the GE KML vary locations was the cause of the server load... other than that it displayed the exact same information as can be seen with the GC maps.

Nice macro by the way... are the colors indicative of cache type?

bgrffdave
07-16-2009, 09:20 AM
fins, I can relate! I was once where you are and just started reading. I'm pretty comfortable with what a lot of this "tech" stuff and how to use it is but still can't create a lot of it... like the macro brdad mentioned

squirrelcache
07-16-2009, 09:44 AM
I use topo 8 for similar. I export each level of difficulty from GSAK w/its own color. Then I import each of them as a different layer in Topo 8. It's cool to see all the varying types and their locations. If I'm on a straight line run somewhere.... w/just a click...I turn off the harder layers so I can see the easiest finds. Of course that's all dependent on caching w/a Laptop.

Haffy
07-16-2009, 09:49 AM
HEY Dave you seem to be making and using a lot of macros lately. Are they being published in GSAK and being used by others or are you keeping them all for yourself?....;) I find macros a big help sometimes.

squirrelcache
07-16-2009, 10:16 AM
HEY Dave you seem to be making and using a lot of macros lately. Are they being published in GSAK and being used by others or are you keeping them all for yourself?....;) I find macros a big help sometimes.

Haffy.... looks like you're hoping to make a friend there ;) There are Tons of tips and tricks shared back channel in any arena. It Never hurts to ask!

I've greatly appreciated the helpfulness so common to geocachers I've met from All over the World. Maine offers such a variety that we can meet many of them out on our trails.

"Smile....it increases your face value"

bgrffdave
07-16-2009, 10:23 AM
For all the time I've spent reading and learning about software, different file types, and how to share information between programs, writing macros is something I haven't even begun to tackle. I'm constantly amazed by what can be done with them but many, while neat, don't seem to offer any practical use from what I can see.

squirrelcache
07-16-2009, 11:26 AM
...........I'm constantly amazed by what can be done with them but many, while neat, don't seem to offer any practical use from what I can see.

I've found more than one for GSAK. Clusters, custom export for the Nuvi, Delorme Challenge assitance

pm28570
07-16-2009, 12:33 PM
You know, this is how I like to cache. Although every once in a while, I'll use a PQ. I also like to load a few from a single cacher, for example I've done this with Hollora and EMSDanel. Next on my list is Mapachi, LT and Kayaking Loon. Uh.....any advice on LT's caches :rolleyes::D



All of this reaches a technical level that is currently beyond me. To be honest, I don't really know what a macro is or a kml. I just sort of pick an area, pick out caches and hope for the best. I need to take a class!

brdad
07-16-2009, 01:15 PM
I wonder if the calculations of making the GE KML vary locations was the cause of the server load... other than that it displayed the exact same information as can be seen with the GC maps.

Nice macro by the way... are the colors indicative of cache type?

Yes, I think Blue is events, Purple are Mystery, Red is regular, green is Multi, and so on.


HEY Dave you seem to be making and using a lot of macros lately. Are they being published in GSAK and being used by others or are you keeping them all for yourself?....;) I find macros a big help sometimes.

I have only published one macro on the GSAK site, Copy-to_clip (http://gsak.net/board/index.php?showtopic=6485&st=0&#entry55242) for copying lists of caches to the forums, IRC, or HTML for posting to Web pages. It is a simple enough macro that I was competent to be bug-free. I'm not competent enough to think my other macros are worth posting. Some may be, I know a few aren't. I think I have posted a few in these forums, and I have shared the macro to make lists of caches near locations like waterfalls with benandtina, and I may submit that once I have fully refined it.

fins2right
07-16-2009, 04:38 PM
You know, this is how I like to cache. Although every once in a while, I'll use a PQ. I also like to load a few from a single cacher, for example I've done this with Hollora and EMSDanel. Next on my list is Mapachi, LT and Kayaking Loon. Uh.....any advice on LT's caches :rolleyes::D


Yes----- Expect to be baffled at times. Beer is helpful if you are not driving :D:D:rolleyes:

Team2hunt
07-16-2009, 04:59 PM
Yes, I think Blue is events, Purple are Mystery, Red is regular, green is Multi, and so on.


Now that kml. is dead, grab your shoes, and your GPS and head out into the wild blue yonder and grab a few finds. With all of those macros, colored maps, and the high tech stuff, you should be able to hit at least 100 caches in a day. :rolleyes:

brdad
07-16-2009, 06:27 PM
Now that kml. is dead, grab your shoes, and your GPS and head out into the wild blue yonder and grab a few finds. With all of those macros, colored maps, and the high tech stuff, you should be able to hit at least 100 caches in a day. :rolleyes:

If you want to stop by my house and set the 15000+ pounds of cobblestone around our patio, I'll be glad to go log 5 or 6 and credit you in my logs. Otherwise, the caching has to wait a few more days...

Too bad locationless weren't still around, someone could place a make a macro, log it as a find cache.... :rolleyes:

Sudonim
07-16-2009, 06:34 PM
I discovered that Groundspeak dropped the kml format as I was getting my cache along a path routes ready for Geowoodstock! Had to do under 500 mile paths and then stitch them together in a text editor :(

Ekidokai
07-17-2009, 12:30 AM
I discovered that Groundspeak dropped the kml format as I was getting my cache along a path routes ready for Geowoodstock! Had to do under 500 mile paths and then stitch them together in a text editor :(

That explains it.

squirrelcache
07-17-2009, 01:20 AM
I'm amazed how many complaints are heard from folks when referring to something that's generally offered for Free. You see it all the time w/IM or e-mail programs. And we see it w/geocaching I'm sure.

Ever done the research to see how many caches are offered to non-members. This site/forum's resources alone are greatly taxed by folks that don't help support it financially.

Google's kml queries were offered free. If someone was plotting a route using 200 waypoints, they would query Google’s servers 200x200 = 40,000 times. Like all the e-mails and forum posts on this site. It all adds up quickly and causes the need for more equipment/resources. It's not surprising that many of us GC.com members are noticing and complaining about the speed and accessibility these days. It all costs money.........from somewhere.

Even w/all the compliments and comments about all the work hide_from_the_kids did on the BK discount cards....to this day there have only been 6 purchased!! 100% of the purchase money goes to the site!? That's unheard of.......and w/20% return each use...you're return is fast and in no time you're actually Saving Money while supporting the site.

Human nature....gotta love it. We're interesting creatures......aren't we!?

brdad
07-17-2009, 01:30 AM
I discovered that Groundspeak dropped the kml format as I was getting my cache along a path routes ready for Geowoodstock! Had to do under 500 mile paths and then stitch them together in a text editor :(

Why did you need them stitched together? Other than PQ routes can't be over 500 miles long, there is no reason you can't make longer routes.

For my long trips, I often make my entire route first using Google Maps adjusting for the caches I want to do, then when I have decided on my final route I make 500 mile sections to create the PQ with. I can load the 500+ mile route I create with Google Maps into Google Earth as well. That's where I liked the Google Earth KML; I could load my entire route and then see what caches were near that route.

brdad
07-17-2009, 01:34 AM
Even w/all the compliments and comments about all the work hide_from_the_kids did on the BK discount cards....to this day there have only been 6 purchased!! 100% of the purchase money goes to the site!? That's unheard of.......and w/20% return each use...you're return is fast and in no time you're actually Saving Money while supporting the site.

Human nature....gotta love it. We're interesting creatures......aren't we!?

I think a lot of the reason is, despite seeing the number of comments, it is still a low number of users who are actually aware of it. It probably could stand some more promotion. And then there's people like me, who just haven't goten around to ordering them yet. And some may be waiting buy them in person.

Sudonim
07-17-2009, 10:15 AM
Why did you need them stitched together? Other than PQ routes can't be over 500 miles long, there is no reason you can't make longer routes.

For my long trips, I often make my entire route first using Google Maps adjusting for the caches I want to do, then when I have decided on my final route I make 500 mile sections to create the PQ with. I can load the 500+ mile route I create with Google Maps into Google Earth as well. That's where I liked the Google Earth KML; I could load my entire route and then see what caches were near that route.

In Google maps, I was able to make very detailed routes, but couldn't export them into something that I could get a PQ along the route. With Google Earth, I could derive a PQ, but the routing was very chunky, you pick your endpoints and GE picks a route.
In a 500 mile PQ I sometimes had 15 start/end points in GE. Once I had all of them, I would export to a text editor, remove the headers and footers to make them all one path and request a PQ on that 500 mile stretch, whereas in Google maps I could have defined the route on the screen with no drama. I only discovered this after defining a 3800 mile route in Google maps and had to throw it away after I couldn't get a PQ with it.

Sudonim
07-17-2009, 10:19 AM
I'm amazed how many complaints are heard from folks when referring to something that's generally offered for Free. You see it all the time w/IM or e-mail programs. And we see it w/geocaching I'm sure.

Ever done the research to see how many caches are offered to non-members. This site/forum's resources alone are greatly taxed by folks that don't help support it financially.

Google's kml queries were offered free. If someone was plotting a route using 200 waypoints, they would query Google’s servers 200x200 = 40,000 times. Like all the e-mails and forum posts on this site. It all adds up quickly and causes the need for more equipment/resources. It's not surprising that many of us GC.com members are noticing and complaining about the speed and accessibility these days. It all costs money.........from somewhere.

Even w/all the compliments and comments about all the work hide_from_the_kids did on the BK discount cards....to this day there have only been 6 purchased!! 100% of the purchase money goes to the site!? That's unheard of.......and w/20% return each use...you're return is fast and in no time you're actually Saving Money while supporting the site.

Human nature....gotta love it. We're interesting creatures......aren't we!?
I agree that people often complain about the free stuff. (I play Mafia Wars in Facebook and for a free program, it's amazing how many people complain about every little item of the game).
I suspect that most of the people using kml files with Groundspeak are the more serious, higher volume cachers (and would hope that most of them are premium members). I would be willing to pay more than $3/month just to add that service back in. If I look at what I spend on gas/batteries/wear and tear on the car for a big day of caching, the Groundspeak charge is a drop in the bucket.

WhereRWe?
07-17-2009, 12:31 PM
Even w/all the compliments and comments about all the work hide_from_the_kids did on the BK discount cards....to this day there have only been 6 purchased!! 100% of the purchase money goes to the site!? That's unheard of.......and w/20% return each use...you're return is fast and in no time you're actually Saving Money while supporting the site.

Human nature....gotta love it. We're interesting creatures......aren't we!?

RULost2? and I don't care for Burger King. Can we get a coupon for McDonalds or Wendy's? :D:D

brdad
07-17-2009, 01:28 PM
In Google maps, I was able to make very detailed routes, but couldn't export them into something that I could get a PQ along the route. With Google Earth, I could derive a PQ, but the routing was very chunky, you pick your endpoints and GE picks a route.
In a 500 mile PQ I sometimes had 15 start/end points in GE. Once I had all of them, I would export to a text editor, remove the headers and footers to make them all one path and request a PQ on that 500 mile stretch, whereas in Google maps I could have defined the route on the screen with no drama. I only discovered this after defining a 3800 mile route in Google maps and had to throw it away after I couldn't get a PQ with it.

Ah. I make a rough route in Google Maps for the entire trip just for reference, and then I make detailed 500 mile routes in Google Maps, starting at the ending point of the previous route. I then export those sections to make PQs...

benandtina
07-17-2009, 04:16 PM
I think the feature that was disabled must be something I never used in the first place, lol, because the only thing I used the .kml files for was piecing together routes the way Sudonim described. I just logged in and it looks like that functionality is still available. In another thread TeamHorwich pointed out that gc.com is using the Google Maps API to allow routes with multiple points so stitching together files isn't needed anyway.

Sudonim
07-17-2009, 10:24 PM
I think the feature that was disabled must be something I never used in the first place, lol, because the only thing I used the .kml files for was piecing together routes the way Sudonim described. I just logged in and it looks like that functionality is still available. In another thread TeamHorwich pointed out that gc.com is using the Google Maps API to allow routes with multiple points so stitching together files isn't needed anyway.

The difference was that before the kml support was dropped, you could make the detailed maps in Google Maps (without having to stitch segments together) and get a PQ on the whole 500 mile route. Much less involved, and less chance of making mistakes.

cano
10-02-2009, 02:12 PM
I don't know what KLM feature are you missing, but it is possible to view geocaches in Google Earth in realtime without making PQs.

lexmano
10-02-2009, 02:46 PM
I don't know what KLM feature are you missing, but it is possible to view geocaches in Google Earth in realtime without making PQs.

They restored the functionality with a few changes, limiting the number of page refreshes allowed, a couple of months ago.

brdad
10-02-2009, 04:10 PM
I don't know what KLM feature are you missing, but it is possible to view geocaches in Google Earth in realtime without making PQs.

Is that using the new "Google Earth Viewer"? Because the Google Earth Viewer is still a kml that replaces the old kml. And as before, the caches may be up to 100 feet off, and you are limited to so many views a day (250 for premium members, and 25 for basic members). And you can't see more than 500 caches in any given view at a time.

cano
10-02-2009, 04:17 PM
Is that using the new "Google Earth Viewer"? Because the Google Earth Viewer is still a kml that replaces the old kml. And as before, the caches may be up to 100 feet off, and you are limited to so many views a day (250 for premium members, and 25 for basic members). And you can't see more than 500 caches in any given view at a time.
Yes, how it was before? However you have unlimited views per day since their limits doesn't work, but don't tell them :)

Haffy
10-02-2009, 05:49 PM
Why would anyway want more than 250 views is beyond me anyway>>>

Haffy
10-02-2009, 05:52 PM
Brdad and Cano and a few others in here who are adept with all this geocaching lingo and such ought to get together and compare notes and make some great GSAK macros by the way these guys interact.

brdad
10-02-2009, 05:57 PM
Why would anyway want more than 250 views is beyond me anyway>>>

It does not take long. For example, when I plan a trip, like when we went to Arizona or our southern trip this Spring, I look over the entire planned route for interesting caches, and then adjust my route if I find one outside the basic route. Every time you adjust the screen or zoom in or out you get changed another view. I have not used the new kml enough to see if it was faulty, but I have been locked out with the old one, and I think it was set to 500 views then.

But most of the time, I never use anywhere near my daily allotment.

brdad
10-02-2009, 06:00 PM
Brdad and Cano and a few others in here who are adept with all this geocaching lingo and such ought to get together and compare notes and make some great GSAK macros by the way these guys interact.

What is left? What would you want a macro to do that GSAK can't already do, or the many macros available on the GSAK site? If you need a macro no one has made yet, someone may be willing to help. I'm not a good programmer by any means, I just treat it like a puzzle, I like to figure out how to make things work.

hollora
11-24-2009, 11:30 PM
The issues with Google Earth not displaying caches have been fixed. Go to your profile on GC.com and on the right side - scroll down towards the bottom and you will see a new download. Do it - open google earth - on the left go to the tab at the bottom - move it up so it is saved when you exit - and there you are. I loved this feature of GE and am very happy it is back.

squirrelcache
11-25-2009, 08:24 AM
I think this is great....does anyone know how you can limit the view to the ones you've Not Found ?