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Handling Large KML Files Without Google Maps - November 14th, 2012

In the four weeks or so, I’ve become quite familiar with the Google Maps API, pitfalls included. I’ve been contracted to work on an interactive map for the RAIN Group, a not-for-profit out of Pennsylvania that is focused on water quality. Especially in areas where hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for natural gas is taking place.

Google’s API, to say the least, is easy to customize with some javascript experience. The requirements of the project required overlays gathered from USGS, EPA and other entities. It was fairly straight forward to incorporate the KML layers that we procured, but some of these files ran rather large in size. After the heartbreak of having to admit that Google was telling the truth about the size limitations on KML files, it was back to the drawing board.

Luckily, after a lot of hunting, I found the GeoXML library. Rather than using Google’s servers to render these layers, GeoXML provided a client-side alternative. This means that the size limitations that we faced were no longer an obstacle in displaying our layers.

Everything came together and the world was at peace again. If you are considering building your own map elements from complex datasets, I would not overlook this library. It will save your life… or at least a little headache.



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