KML 3 Kick-off, Module: Core

The KML Core module includes the minimal subset of KML that would be expected for any implementation. Currently the elements of KML that would exist in Core include:

kml, Document, atom, Folder, Placemark, Link (and NetworkLink?), ScreenOverlay, TimeStamp, Geometry (see below)

This list was derived from the current KML 2.1 tags and signifies the general concepts we're hoping to have in KML Core - allow a user to express location, time, and possibly link to another KML document or service. In addition, providing the current Atom support allows for attribution and other interesting things for linking to HTML and GeoRSS.

Geometry Markup

A couple of nearly given plans were laid out for for revisions to KML. The first is the markup of the geometry. OGC is well known for GML, and there are many tools that publish and consume GML. Having yet another geometry markup seems to be redundant and confusing. Therefore, KML 3 will use a minimal version of GML, GML Simple Features Profile. You can follow that link to the specification - but good luck finding an actual simple example or description of what it is.

To summarize, here is an example of a KML 2.2 point, and a GML Simple point:

lon, lat[, alt]        

lat lon [alt]

It's mostly a simple markup difference. There is also the possibility that the gml: namespace prefix would be dropped and just be part of KML. GML provides for specifying the coordinate reference system (CRS), but for KML it is currently assumed to be EPSG4326 - that is to say, what you probably normally use for your map applications and off of your GPS receiver. Later I'll put up a full comparison between all the current KML geometry markup and its comparable markup in GML.

Being a fan of simple markups myself (see GeoRSS Simple), as a developer I also understand that having a single (and simple) markup makes implementation and maintenance easier. KML already had embedded tags for locations and used a GML 2 like markup - so switching to GML 3 is fairly straight-forward.

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About the Author

Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.