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Google Earth add-in removed


adrian.rutter
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A great feature. Can't see where they get their 200 from, maybe a daily average, and if that was causing performane issues with 200 they something needed to be done.

 

I admit that i am one of those 200 on Mac and PC, does that count for two??

 

Lets hope they bring it back.

 

I for one say keep it and fix the issues rathder than turn it off.

 

TRI

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It took me about 1 minute to duplicate it in Google Maps on site I can't even open Google Earth that quickly. I simply went to one of the pages clicked on show nearest in Google maps zoomed in and switched to satellite view.

Team Taran

 

And now find the Nearest McDonald's for a little food and a drink on a long cache trip

 

Dave

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And now find the Nearest McDonald's for a little food and a drink on a long cache trip

That's what the maps and POIs in my GPS are for. :P

 

Really now, do you plan all your bathroom and snack breaks before you leave home? :P

 

No but it does give me an idea of the area I am going to and it it easy to print these maps and the OS plug in for GE makes it even easier. 20 minutes at best to import a PQ save to Tomtom another 10 carry Tomtom as well as Garmin Ridiculous GE 3 minutes the lot.

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It took me about 1 minute to duplicate it in Google Maps on site I can't even open Google Earth that quickly. I simply went to one of the pages clicked on show nearest in Google maps zoomed in and switched to satellite view.

Team Taran

 

I am sure this was possible to "duplicate" in one minute since the GC number is posted in the picture above! However Google maps does not duplicate Google Earth.

 

b65e94f0-5da1-4dbb-ab6b-b397d747786c.jpg

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OK ... so with the options available to me now, how do I see the county lines? :P

This has been answered several times, by several different people already.

 

Run a Pocket Query, and drop it into Google Earth.

Time required to perform the task beforehand: About 20 seconds.

Time required to perform the task today: About 10 minutes.

 

And yet the KML was dropped because it was slowing down GC.com. I haven't noticed that GC.com is 30 times faster without those "200" cachers accessing the GE KML feature. Yes, I know how the 200 was determined. I was not one of those 200 that used all 500 mouse movements on any given day. It would be interesting to recalculate as suggested by a previous post to see how many use 1-50 GE refresh movements though. I have not counted but suspect this thread will exceed 200 unique users if it hasn't already.

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One of the things that made GE soooo nice was the ability to see caches relative to GE overlays like county lines, zip code boundaries, national park boundaries, tribal land boundaries, wilderness area boundaries and, particularly CUSTOM-made overlay boundaries like DGP (see www.dgpstats.com). The beauty of GE was that it was an open environment. Anyone could create and save any kind of overlay to suit thier needs.

 

I am planning a trip to AZ and want to get as many DGP regions as possible for a challenge cache. Obviously, I want to pick the caches right on the boundary of each region to minimize the amount of driving I need to do. Without the KML, this work is very cumbersome and awkward.

 

I am now required to have GE open in one window with the DGP overlays visible and GC.com open in another and then get them to scroll to approximately the same zoom to see where the boundaries are relative to each cache.

 

Has anyone found a SINGLE solution to these issues using GC.com or other resources?

 

NOTE TO the DEVELOPERS at Groundspeak: Any solution needs to be able to accomodate custom overlays (like DGP) in addition to all the standard political boundary info. We need to be able to add, create and save overlays in a place like GE's "My Places".

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Leaving aside the GSP Evangelists, who would likely support Groundspeak even if they decided to start stealing candy from babies, is there *anyone* who's pleased about this development? Anyone?

I have no interest in using Google Earth for anything at all (geocaching or otherwise), so I've lost nothing personally here. If removing this feature means that the site is more responsive for everyone (and I have noticed over the last month or so that site performance has improved), I'm not unhappy.

Edited by dakboy
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Leaving aside the GSP Evangelists, who would likely support Groundspeak even if they decided to start stealing candy from babies, is there *anyone* who's pleased about this development? Anyone?

I have no interest in using Google Earth for anything at all (geocaching or otherwise), so I've lost nothing personally here. If removing this feature means that the site is more responsive for everyone (and I have noticed over the last month or so that site performance has improved), I'm not unhappy.

Well since they really just shut it down yesteday I guess something else was makin you happy.

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If removing this feature means that the site is more responsive for everyone (and I have noticed over the last month or so that site performance has improved), I'm not unhappy.

 

I'm happy to see that at least one person has seen some site performance improvement. I, for one, have not seen one ounce of improvement in site performance and have noticed that the Google Maps have been extremely slow to respond since the discontinuation of the Google Earth KML. It actually takes longer then before to get the Google Maps to update.

 

Interesting to say the least, no?

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Leaving aside the GSP Evangelists, who would likely support Groundspeak even if they decided to start stealing candy from babies, is there *anyone* who's pleased about this development? Anyone?

I have no interest in using Google Earth for anything at all (geocaching or otherwise), so I've lost nothing personally here. If removing this feature means that the site is more responsive for everyone (and I have noticed over the last month or so that site performance has improved), I'm not unhappy.

Well since they really just shut it down yesteday I guess something else was makin you happy.

They finished shutting it down yesterday. IIRC, they removed the link to the KML file quite a while ago - so the number of users should have been dropping since then.

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If removing this feature means that the site is more responsive for everyone (and I have noticed over the last month or so that site performance has improved), I'm not unhappy.

 

I'm happy to see that at least one person has seen some site performance improvement. I, for one, have not seen one ounce of improvement in site performance and have noticed that the Google Maps have been extremely slow to respond since the discontinuation of the Google Earth KML. It actually takes longer then before to get the Google Maps to update.

 

Interesting to say the least, no?

Not to me. GMaps hasn't slowed for me at all - not that I can tell, anyway.

Edited by dakboy
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Leaving aside the GSP Evangelists, who would likely support Groundspeak even if they decided to start stealing candy from babies, is there *anyone* who's pleased about this development? Anyone?

I have no interest in using Google Earth for anything at all (geocaching or otherwise), so I've lost nothing personally here. If removing this feature means that the site is more responsive for everyone (and I have noticed over the last month or so that site performance has improved), I'm not unhappy.

Well since they really just shut it down yesteday I guess something else was makin you happy.

They finished shutting it down yesterday. IIRC, they removed the link to the KML file quite a while ago - so the number of users should have been dropping since then.

I doubt it was dropping appreciably until they axed the last of it. Trust me, until then we all knew where to get our fix. :P

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It was removed back in April. It took this long for it to totally expire. If you notice on page 1, this topic started back in late April. I haven't missed it either. I rarely used it and never used it after the GC Google maps were introduced.

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It was removed back in April. It took this long for it to totally expire. If you notice on page 1, this topic started back in late April. I haven't missed it either. I rarely used it and never used it after the GC Google maps were introduced.

 

Not that it makes much difference if it was removed April and expired or was just now removed. We were still using it.

 

That you don't miss it doesn't change a thing for those of us that do. We used it. We liked the way it worked. We want to see that type of functionality return. We very well may not ever see anything as useful to us return to this site but we can ask for it.

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It was removed back in April. It took this long for it to totally expire.

Sort of.

 

The link to the KML overlay was removed in April. At that point, we were told that within a few weeks, access would "expire" (not something I understood, the KML spec does not have any facility for a network link to 'expire' to the best of my knowledge. I guess it was something that occured at Groundspeak's end). In any case, a few weeks later, people started reporting loss of access as stated and indeed, mine went too.

 

However, a few days later (a week at most), it undeniably came back as useful and time saving as ever. Plenty of other people reported that it was back as well. We didn't have to reinstall it, or obtain link code from any nefarious sources, it simply started working again, as was before.

 

Those who mentioned it was working here tended to get their posts removed quite quickly but word of mouth soon spread on other forums. It continued to work perfectly until a couple of days ago, when someone at Groundspeak obviously realised that simply taking away the link wasn't going to stop people using the KML overlay and turned it off properly, by making it return nothing but the 'network link disabled' message. The result of which was the sudden realisation by a large volume of people that it had gone and the recent resurgence of this thread.

 

:P

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Sorry to take so long responding to this Raine...... I've been trying to plan my next caching holiday and find it frustrating. I'm glad I purchased a Gamin Oregon ao I can just cashe for numbers rather than planning an outing. Cache for numbers? I wonder how long I'll do that? I liked how I could look to find an area to cache that was interesting, now I just might cache while I'm out.

 

If the reaon for not having the network link to GE was server load then not geocaching should solve the problem.

 

I hope you succed in finding something else, The more difficult Geocaching is the less people will do it.

 

Yes the feature was a great addition to the site and yes, once again I'll say that I'm sad it had to go for now, I am looking for a better way to provide that type of functionality, though.

 

-Raine

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This is the narrow view which demonstrates their lack of understanding.

 

I don't want to cache for numbers.... I want to go somewhere that looked interesting, then find a cache. I want to sit at my laptop (which has absolutly no problem running GE with KML, 10 other web windows and a host of other programs without running slow) and find someplace that looks interesting and go there.

 

"I am quite happy with the many other planning tools which existed prior to the Google Earth option or which have been developed since then" Bloody good for you but this isn't your personal web site it's sold to it's customers! Listen to them! Don't tell us what you like, we don't care. There seems to be a lot more of us than you.

 

 

As a player, I have somehow managed to rack up 4,200 something finds without once using Google Earth for planning, including two "All Counties" challenges. My average find is more than 200 miles from home, and less than 45% of my finds are in my home state. I am quite happy with the many other planning tools which existed prior to the Google Earth option or which have been developed since then.

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Where they got the 200 number has been posted several times.

 

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php...amp;pid=3995721

 

So you dragged maps around over 500 times each day? If not, you are not one of the 200, but just a casual user of the KML file.

Yet the way it was stated in the original annoucement was that were only 200 users who regularly accessed this feature and that the feature had a disproportionate impact on performance for the number who were using it. It wasn't till recently that Raine gave the background for the 200 number and his definition is somewhat inconsistent with the way this number was used to justify removing the feature. If indeed only 200 users were using the feature in an excessive manner that adversely impacted the site, wouldn't it be better to stop this excessive use that was causing problem than to shut if off altogether?

 

Perhaps, Groundspeak's attitude is that it is too difficult to make or enforce rules to address only abusers of the system; so they punish everybody. This seems to be the principle (which I have agreed with) regarding increasing the size of Pocket Queries or making it easier to maintain large offline databases. If they allowed responsible users who would use a larger offline database only for personal geocaching use, someone might use the larger database in an inappropriate matter and so they restrict everybody to same inefficient and limited pocket queries. Similarly, if some people might abuse a GE browser capability by repeatably updating the caches in GE as they browse areas of the globe where they will likely never cache, they may feel it is best just to prevent everyone from having this capability.

 

The one problem here, is that there was already a limit of how often you could refresh the GE file. I thought it was 200 refreshes a day, so I don't understanding why Raine says that some people refreshed up to 500 times. But perhaps I recall wrong and the limit was 500. In any case, it seem that a limit could be set for the GE file on a cacher by cacher basis, so I'm not sure why the limit wasn't just decreased to get the load under control.

 

With regard to those people who say that the loss of the GE capability will effect the way that they geocaches, I want to say that while personally rarely used the Google Earth feature, I saw enough of it that I can understand how it might work better for the way someone else might cache in certain situations. Say someone wants to take a road trip. They really don't care where they are going other than they want to find a route that will take them past many geocaches to find. In GE they could zoom out a bit. Unlike Google Maps which simply give you a message "Your search exceeded 500 caches" when you zoom out too far, GE would still return results when you exceeded it's limit (which I believe was only 200 caches). It tried to do this in an intelligent way, that would still let you find clusters of closely placed caches. You could zoom back in to see more caches in these areas. This feature quickly allowed you to build a route that would take you past many caches. This is much harder to do with Google maps, since you need to stay relatively zoomed in to avoid exceeding 500 caches and so you might miss seeing an alternative route that has a big cluster of caches. An argument could be made "So what? You still built a route with more than enough caches to find on your road trip. There is not really a good reason to have to find a "optimum" route or one that gives you the absolute most chances to find caches." Another use that is brought up are people doing a county challenge. Since Google Earth has a county boundary overlay you could zoom out a reasonable distance, covering several counties on the map (though probably not in my state that has some counties bigger than most states). You'd be able to pick a few caches in each county that you might want to search for. Obviously because of the fudge factor in the KML file, caches near county boundaries might be shown in the wrong county. If you want to find one of these for a county challenge you would still need to do more research, but if you picked only caches not near boundaries you could quickly get a list of caches to do for the challenge. Now you must determine a location somewhere in the county and in your mind's eye imagine where the county boundary is. You could use zoom to address to to go to each spot (coordinate or perhaps the name of the county seat) and guess which caches are likely within the county. You can build a list for the challenge and then create a PQ for them which you could open in GE to verify are in the correct counties. All in all there is obviously more work. Of course the argument could be made that a challenge cache is supposed to be a challenge and that if you need to work a bit harder to find the caches you need to do a challenge, it just makes the challenge harder; it doesn't stop you from doing it. There are other examples people have given of how they used GE for the way they cache. Can they do the same with Google maps. No. But they generally can still accomplish their original tasks using Google maps and other tools albeit with more effort.

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I have not been reading at this topic for a while and there have been many subsequent posts, so I am probably just repeating what has been said already.

 

<snip>

What I see in this thread is the constant refrain, "I used this. I liked this. I want it back.

<snip>

 

This isn't just about flogging a dead horse. As I see it this topic has become a type of online, forum based petition, much like a petition or protest in the real world. Besides the discussion about the technicalities of the situation there are also folks just "signing the petition" - so it might look like repetition, but it isn't.

 

<snip>

... and has stuck now as the battle cry of people in this thread.

<snip>

 

Yes, the "200" has become a bit of a battle cry, but it is more in the line of adding to the petition as I have suggested above, that specifically having a go at the 200 statement.

 

<snip>

The 200# was based on someone panning the map more than 500 times a day ...

<snip>

 

As has been stated before, this explanation puts a different perspective on the by now famous "200" and as so eloquently suggested by tozaimboku (excuse sp) - why not curb the apparent problem ie those that pan GE more that 500 times a day (and with that I mean also other uses that cause server overload) - instead of throwing out the whole feature. It also seems as if there was a communication problem between the lackeys themselves and also between the lackeys and us members.

 

To summarise I would suggest:

1. Make it a PM feature. By all account it seems that this GE kml was very popular, so making it a PM feature would be a huge incentive for members to become PMs. My guess is that the GE kml made it too easy for non PM's to get by without paying subs, so this would inspire them to part with their $30.

 

2. Restrict server load by i) manual refresh ii) limiting refreshes per user, per day or per minute iii) limiting the number of caches visible on the screen iv) any or all of the above.

Edited by the pooks
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i am pretty upset this feature is no longer available (it is an outrage, to be honest). it was one of the best thing ever. i am sure there are solutions that cause less data traffic.

 

pleeeeeeease, bring ge kml back! it is one of the only reasons for my paid membership.

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I noted that the "200" refers to only those users that were panning 500+ times per day. This has been only recently revealed as the core problem that lead to the demise of the KML capability.

 

However, I remember distinctly that whenever I used the KML function in GE, it stated that I had only 200 views per day and it would count down each time I panned to a new area (or even slightly changed the viewing area). How, then, did anyone get to the quoted 500 hits per day?

 

I never reached anywhere near the 200 pans in any single day. Not even close.

 

What if a control was introduced that limited views to a much lower number per user. Heck, I'd accept just 50 per day limit if it would bring back the kml capability.

 

The kml function was invaluable (well, that's a bad term I guess) when I was planning a trip out of my local area (30 mile radius) that I have PQ coverage for. It allowed me to hone in on the areas I wanted at my destination that had caches I wanted, gave me the coordinates of the central point of the chosen area. From that I then could easily develop a PQ. Just one PQ.

 

A friend of mine was recently vacationing out of state. I was able to quickly determine if there were caches in the area he was in and help him develop a quick PQ. Then my kml died.....

 

BTW - I didn't care that the icons were randomly offset - I only wanted the general area anyway.

Edited by Cache O'Plenty
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Pull your finger out GC and do something about it.

Without doubt the best feature.

So why promote a iphone gadget, which is hardware specific, when the .kml went acoss all platforms.

In the words of the great John Mcenroe..

'You cannot be serious'

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So why promote a iphone gadget...

Or twitter stuff nobody asked for. Geocaching is a outdoor sport, what means, prepare yourself (e.g. with GE), go out and find a box. Most other things are unnecessary. I can only create 5 PQ a day. To check a certain area or country it´s not enough. GE was the best available solution for it.

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i don't know how much it helps if we cry for "ge kml" here in this forum where it can be ignored easily by the addressees.

 

maybe each of us has to write to the Groundspeak government directly, or open a petition (aren't there petition sites?).

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To summarise I would suggest:

1. Make it a PM feature. By all account it seems that this GE kml was very popular, so making it a PM feature would be a huge incentive for members to become PMs. My guess is that the GE kml made it too easy for non PM's to get by without paying subs, so this would inspire them to part with their $30.

Isn't that exactly what the suggestions about using pocket queries and GE causes? More PM's, more $30's.

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I've looked at all the benefits of Premium Membership. I've tried a few but never really used them except to find caches on Google Earth. There are no Premium Members only caches in my district. I really don't have any reason to renew my membership. I took out membership in the first place because I liked the sport and felt I should support it. It's hard to keep up that attitude when the rug has been whipped out from under me and I've been left sitting on my a** so as to say.

Cheers,

Dan

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This is the narrow view which demonstrates their lack of understanding.

 

I don't want to cache for numbers.... I want to go somewhere that looked interesting, then find a cache. I want to sit at my laptop (which has absolutly no problem running GE with KML, 10 other web windows and a host of other programs without running slow) and find someplace that looks interesting and go there.

 

"I am quite happy with the many other planning tools which existed prior to the Google Earth option or which have been developed since then" Bloody good for you but this isn't your personal web site it's sold to it's customers! Listen to them! Don't tell us what you like, we don't care. There seems to be a lot more of us than you.

I applaud your selective quoting skills and your ability to launch a veiled personal attack.

 

It's too bad about your limited route planning skills. I suggest reading some of the other threads for ideas.

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There nothing better than casually browsing Google Earth with terrain and map overlays like the UK OS map grid turned on, with a paper map next to the laptop, planning out a 20 mile hike via four or five caches.

 

The limits of PQ's wouldn't cover enough of the country to allow me to go anywhere. I'd have to amend my PQ's just to decide where it was worth taking a walk.

 

In short, I'm not very happy and won't be renewing for a while.

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I have been using the kml link for a long time now, and I have always thought it was the best part of the geocaching activity. Looking at an area on a map quickly before travelling. Now it has been disabled I don`t know how to search for geocaches to find. Very very disapointing. I might just forget it, and save the 30 USD.

Edited by mogrim
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Why don't you just load your PQ in Google Earth if you want to use it.?

Team Taran

 

I understand how to load a PQ into GE and view it. It works really well. It is fast and it is stable. I have loaded thousands of caches into GE at one time and it still works great. But it still is not anything like having GE and the famous KML.

 

There are several issues that prevent me from using PQs in GE as the solution to the KML issue.

 

1. First, it takes something like 17 PQs to capture just the state of Utah (where I live). I am already at my max of 5 PQs a day to get the areas I most frequently cover.

 

2. I can't do a PQ along a county border or any other custom GE overlay boundary.

 

3. I have to wait for some PQs (sometimes several days...as I have only a few gaps in my max 5 PQs per day)

 

4. I don't always cache in my home area covered by my existing PQs.

 

5. As soon as I run one PQ I discover it doesn't cover the other side of the county. Opps, gotta run another PQ. All this for one cache on each side of the boundary?

 

6. My wife and I travel. In visiting a new area, we are not sure where we want to go. Requesting a new PQ for each possible area seems like overkill. I just want to peek at some area initially. I may only want 3 or 4 caches in each city.

 

It seems as though your solution would require us all to request huge numbers of PQs and keep huge private databases......sorta counter productive if massive PQ requests was the problem in the first place.

 

I repeat my suggestion from some time ago.

 

Set up the KML so the user can click on a center point and the KML will deliver x number of caches (user defined up to a max of say... 100) surrounding this center point. Once those caches are delivered to the user, sever the link to the GC server during pans and zooms. In essense, just like dropping a PQ in GE only make the cache data bare bones to make the download simpler (so we can't substitute it for a real PQ). This will reduce the constant calls on the server from pans and zooms. It will make GE operate more quickly. Make it a PM feature. Limit the number of requests per day (say 100). We can save these individual requests in "My PLaces" to reduce the need to request further downloads in the same area on the same day (something that would happen alot under the old KML design).

Edited by UT Explore
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So how's that blazing speed GC website working for you now that all of us GE *panners* have been kicked out?

Well, let's see.

 

No topics with masses of people complaining about not getting pocket queries this weekend. No topics complaining about not getting to the web site today, on a busy Sunday no less. I just banged around a state search and opened several caches on the first results page. All cache pages opened very quickly.

 

Sounds like it is working pretty good! Thanks for pointing that out.

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So how's that blazing speed GC website working for you now that all of us GE *panners* have been kicked out?

Well, let's see.

 

No topics with masses of people complaining about not getting pocket queries this weekend. No topics complaining about not getting to the web site today, on a busy Sunday no less. I just banged around a state search and opened several caches on the first results page. All cache pages opened very quickly.

 

Sounds like it is working pretty good! Thanks for pointing that out.

 

Maybe if the IPhone gadget and Twitter offline and maybey is it works faster, Or are that the toys for moderators.

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Or perhaps a sure sign that people really weren't using it that frequently and are only slowly realizing that it's gone. :P

 

Count me in that group. It was a feature I liked and when I couldn't find the link in my profile I figured it was moved elswhere on the site. Eventually I googled geocaching KML and found this thread. I was shocked at the idea that it was gone. I used it all the time - so I thought. Then I realized how old this thread was and how long it took me to notice, so I guess I didn't use it as often as I thought I did.

 

Anyway, I'm not on the capacity management team at Groundspeak reading usage reports, tweaking server performance and paying for bandwidth, so who am I to say that it doesn't have a major impact on site performance? If Raine says it does, then I believe it does. It certainly sounds plausible.

 

People are complaining about Groundspeak's lack of customer service over this, but what they are doing is providing better site performance for everybody to the detriment of a relatively small group. It's a balancing act, but in the end you have to do what is better for the larger segment of customers.

 

And it's not like there aren't alternatives. Would I like for the feature to stay? You bet. But if it is a hog and is gone away I'll deal with it and move on. Stomping my feet and holding my breath until my face turns red isn't going to help me find alternatives and it won't change Groundspeak's mind.

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I'm glad I could get out of the way for you.

So are we, thank you. :P

 

Ya know what? I hadn't been running into those problems anyway. Outside of the site outage resulting from the fire. That being the case I never gave a rats rump what problems those who weren't smart enough to do their thing on the site in off hours ran into.

 

It does raise a new question though. Could the KML have been restricted to off hours? So many possibilities that could have been explored and the only solution was to ax it.

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