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Google Earth add-in removed


adrian.rutter
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I am also one of the few that enjoyed and used the Geocaching KML Google Earth plugin...not just on one computer but all three in my household. On top of that, I used the plugin for creating a puzzle cache that would have required the KML file to be used by individuals that wanted to search for the cache I had hidden. The same thing could not have been done with a Pocket Query from Geocaching.com as I was leaving it open for all members to find...not just premium members. Good thing I didn't hide the cache after all as I'd be archiving it almost as fast as it was placed.

 

As for the option of loading the .gpx file from the Pocket Queries into Google Earth, I don't use that feature at all. It would take too long to receive the queries from Geocaching.com to make it worth the effort and Google Earth with the KML file was fast enough to make a cursrory search and make my plans accordingly.

 

I feel as if the users of the KML file have been slighted majorly by the powers that be at Geocaching.com and it should be brought back and possibly reworked so that the "issues" with it are corrected.

 

Just my two cents worth.

 

*edit* As I think of this more and more and read that the PQ's can "do the same thing," this seems less and less like a website issue but more and more like a money grabbing opportunity for Groundspeak. After all, you can't get PQ's without a premium membership and there's no point in giving away free what you can charge for.

 

And, just for the record, PQ's cannot do the same thing as the KML file in Google Earth.

Edited by Riverwolf
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To say I'm dissapointed with the removal of the GE Network KML is an understatement. Only 200 regular users.... RUBBISH !!!. 200 thousand more likely. I relied on this tool for my complete cache planning. Poor, poor show Geocaching.com.

 

 

Jabiru230

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I rarely go to the forums, but was an almost daily user if the gc kml file. I was stunned today when I went to use it today and got the message The Network KML Link has been disabled. I see this has been a hot topic on the forums today.

 

I find it hard to imagine that the resource draw of this feature is more than the amount of PQs that will need to be done to replace this.

 

Plus the KML was always up to date. With caches being added and archived constantly any PQ is out of date as soon as it is run.

 

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE try to get something that will run on Google Earth again.

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***TEARS*** The GE kml finally died on me today as well. This is such a sad loss. It was SUCH a useful way to plan for trips and holidays. I always used it in conjuction with PQ's, so it is not as if I circumvented the premium membership by using it. I used it to plan my PQ's.

 

I am not very knowledgeable on how server load and costs are affected, but if this is the issue perhaps the kml refresh rate could be slowed down or maybe the caches only get loaded if you click a button. Then the kml will not refresh constantly while you scroll around in GE - I can imagine that puts a strain on server load.

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I'd markwell the prior topic but it's late...

 

Each view you did when moving the window of the network kml amounted to a small PQ. Now imaging someone constantly panning the window, over and over and over and over.. is it still hard to imaging that maybe that was a hit to the system?

 

Now to the people that balk at the 200 user count. The 200 user count was a number that I gave to Nate and Jeremy when we were looking at the system resources.. That number can be explained. I kept detailed logs of what IP was hitting and when it was hitting. I can tell you how many people used it and how many times they panned the map. The 200# was based on someone panning the map more than 500 times a day and has stuck now as the battle cry of people in this thread. That number doesn't count the many people who panned the map once or twice or even 100 times.

 

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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I also miss that feature as it was the quickest way to have an overview of caches along a short tour planned or comming by surprise. Let me say it with the words I found from someone else in that topic:

"I just want to add my voice to the list of Premium Members who miss the Google Earth PlugIn. Groundspeak, please listen to your members!!"

 

If the system load is really too high running the Google Earth kml you might check with www.geocaching.de an opencaching.de. They made it even more accurate whereas I admit that they migth not have "200" queries at ones....

 

For the future: Before disabling any feature there should be a published alternative running for a while.

 

Regards, hwi, Germany

 

:D:(

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well I am not a heavy user of geocaches as you can see by my found number.

 

But I am willing to become a premium to have this option available. It helps me plan my vacations abroad where I do not have a clue what the area looks like.

 

Next year I am planning Japan the trip would be geocache based. But that planning got a lot harder for me.

 

cheers,

John

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:):D:ph34r:

I really liked that tool, and I used it quite frequently (at least twice a week). It was a nice feature and until yesterday it worked really fine and was a great help for planing caching tours. I really can't imagine, that only 200 users should have used it???

 

I'll really miss these little icons on my google earth to get a fast impression where I could find a nice cache on my shopping tour to a place a little bit further away...

 

Wombat97

 

:(

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:(:D We want to add our protest to the ONLY 200 users who used this feature....

"Only 200 regular users.... RUBBISH !!!. 200 thousand more likely."

We will miss this feature and we hope that Groundspeak, will listen to their members who don't want to lose this capability.

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I'd markwell the prior topic but it's late...

 

Each view you did when moving the window of the network kml amounted to a small PQ. Now imaging someone constantly panning the window, over and over and over and over.. is it still hard to imaging that maybe that was a hit to the system?

 

Now to the people that balk at the 200 user count. The 200 user count was a number that I gave to Nate and Jeremy when we were looking at the system resources.. That number can be explained. I kept detailed logs of what IP was hitting and when it was hitting. I can tell you how many people used it and how many times they panned the map. The 200# was based on someone panning the map more than 500 times a day and has stuck now as the battle cry of people in this thread. That number doesn't count the many people who panned the map once or twice or even 100 times.

 

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

 

So, my first post! :angry:

 

I never got to use this functionality, because I started Geocaching after it was discontinued. However, I stumbled across this thread, because I was looking for a better way to search for caches outside my home zone.

 

With that said, I do not quite understand the difference between panning in google earth or panning at www.geocaching.com! I would think the service was set up the same way, that if you zoomed out to far, it would not display any hits over 500. This is suppose to help offset the constant small PQ's or not?

 

Don't get me wrong, I do understand that it requires a lot of resources to offer this service, but I would think the most of us would be willing to cough up a few bucks for the cause! I know I would, because I use google earth to plan all my routes. :) Unfortunately, I have to make multiply PQ's in order to refine my caching plan.

 

Maybe you can offer a downloadable gpx file, that's updated once a month, or something to that nature. Then there is just one querie, but multiple downloads, which I would assume requires less resources then constant panning. :ph34r: Was just an idea, but I'm not sure how large said file would be! :)

 

Anyways, I just wanted to post my few cents. I don't mean any disrespect Raine, but I just don't understand the difference between panning in google earth or on the website.

 

On a positive note: WE REALLY LOVE GEOCACHING! :(

 

Team GCR0NJA

Ron&Tanja

 

CACHE THE FEELING! We did! :D

Edited by GCR0NJA
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ATTICA! ATTICA! ATTICA!! everyone with me.... ATTICA! ATTICA! ATTICA!!

Apparently, you don't remember how that movie ends. :(

 

I remember watch it live from a few miles down the road. The truth is that it ended with lots of reforms and big law suits won by some of the inmates. Not that it has anything to do with this subject.

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I'd markwell the prior topic but it's late...

 

Each view you did when moving the window of the network kml amounted to a small PQ. Now imaging someone constantly panning the window, over and over and over and over.. is it still hard to imaging that maybe that was a hit to the system?

 

Now to the people that balk at the 200 user count. The 200 user count was a number that I gave to Nate and Jeremy when we were looking at the system resources.. That number can be explained. I kept detailed logs of what IP was hitting and when it was hitting. I can tell you how many people used it and how many times they panned the map. The 200# was based on someone panning the map more than 500 times a day and has stuck now as the battle cry of people in this thread. That number doesn't count the many people who panned the map once or twice or even 100 times.

 

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

 

Two questions here.

 

1) How is that different than panning around on the maps we have left?

 

2) Why was it impossible to limit the refresh rate?

 

From our point of view it seems that perhaps we could have tried to address the shortcomings instead of scrapping the whole thing. It has the feel of junking the family car because it needs a new set of shocks.

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Wasn't it just bad programming? Isn't it possible to just load in the new caches when someone pans? Does it really have to reload all of them every time?

 

This was my main source when selecting what caches to do, it really sucks that it's been disabled.

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Sad, sad, sad, sad..... :(

 

This was one of the best tools ever published by Groundspeak, and now it shall be gone for good? Why? Traffic can't be the reason, there are plenty of possibilities to balance traffic and computation loads...

 

I really would like to hear an official announcement about that!

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Hugely disappointing that this function has now been completely pulled. I use it to scope out the terrain to see on countryside caches if I feel that it is a cache that I can do with a buggy and also if I feel the area looks an ok place to be for a mum and small child to be on their own. If it is a new area often this can be the only way I can suss out a place before visiting so it is not a waste of a long journey when I get there. Now I have to put each individual cache in and check it out rather than getting a feel for an area, this takes far too long. I realise that we may not have a huge find count, but I can see our find count will progress even more slowly now as with a small child, I don't have time to spend hours planning a caching trip.

 

Extremely disappointed that this has been removed and there are no plans to improve the service in order to be able to keep it.

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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

 

Perhaps a more customer service orientated approach would have been to find an acceptable solution first before shutting off a valued feature.

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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

 

Perhaps a more customer service orientated approach would have been to find an acceptable solution first before shutting off a valued feature.

 

Thats right. One day this valuable tool was working and the next day it was down. We never got any notification from Groundspeak warning us that this was to be taken down. Talk about bad customer service.

:(

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Each view you did when moving the window of the network kml amounted to a small PQ. Now imaging someone constantly panning the window, over and over and over and over.. is it still hard to imaging that maybe that was a hit to the system?

 

How is this different from the iPhone demands on the GC system every time an iPhone user moves around? It seems the iPhone screens are constantly updated with live info in a very similar fashion. If the iPhone is handled differently maybe there is something to learn from that.

 

I doubt there is a real need to see 500 caches at a time on GE. Could you throttle back the max number of caches displayed? How about if the user clicked on or marked a center point on a GE map and the system brought back a view of the X closest caches?

 

Make it a premium member feature. Make it a pay extra feature. Just make it available soon.

 

There is a GSAK macro that will display all the caches in a GSAK database or filter on GE. Once it is downloaded to GE that is it. There are no calls back to the GSAK database for updates as we pan around on GE. The GE screen response times are much better than when using the KML.

 

The user could draw a polygon on GE where they wanted to see caches and GC could fill that request and then sever the electronic tie to GE. It would improve our screen response times and eliminate the constant update requests as we pan around on GE. Why wouldn't something like this work?

 

How do the reviewers live without this feature? It seemed like the primary tool to evaluate a proposed cache relative to National Park, Tribal Lands and Wilderness areas. Or did you leave it switched on for them?

 

I think there is a customer service lesson to be learned here also. If this was a new feature being added, we would have received notice in the weekly notification emails. If it was a new feature, it would have been highlighted on the screens with a little "NEW" banner next to it. Lots of hoopola.

 

The termination of this was done in relative silence. Things would have probably gone smoother with the customer base with a little effort at communication up front similar to what you do to announce a new feature. (The forums don't count as communication in my mind since we have to come looking for it).

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I just don't understand why the desires of the paying members are never taken into account. This was just a slap in the face to us Premium Members who asked that this feature not be removed. No compromise, just cut it off and let them complain. No attempt to make it work, just cut it off and walk away.

 

What you need is some real competition so that you would have to learn what it means to please your customers or else they just go away.

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As some one who didn't use the Google Earth, I'm not sure my two cents is welcome on this thread but I will offer it anyway. What I see in this thread is the constant refrain, "I used this. I liked this. I want it back. I don't care if it impacts on site performance for everyone I liked it. I don't care what explanation you give me I want it. I pay you the magnificent sum of $30 per year and so I have a right to tell you what to do. I don't want to adapt. I don't want to change. Using GSAK or PQs to view caches isn't good enough. Everyone else has to suffer so I can have exactly what I want."

 

Raine has provided a clear explanation of both how the 200 figure was arrived at and the impact on site performance. What I think they are saying is that a small percentage of users of the site made use of this feature and the use of the feature significantly impacted on site performance. If this is true and I don't think any of you can prove that it isn't, I think it is reasonable to turn off a feature that was inversely affecting site performance for the large number of users who were not using the feature.

 

Remember we are talking about what a small staff can realistically accomplish in terms of updating features. Should they be spending time on modifying your beloved KML or should they complete work on the new method of PQ delivery. There are limited resources and a large to do list. I also pay to support the site and would prefer that other features take priority.

Team Taran

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I just don't understand why the desires of the paying members are never taken into account. This was just a slap in the face to us Premium Members who asked that this feature not be removed. No compromise, just cut it off and let them complain. No attempt to make it work, just cut it off and walk away.

 

What you need is some real competition so that you would have to learn what it means to please your customers or else they just go away.

 

I agree with your comments wholeheartedly and as for your second point there is no real competition so they can say stuff the customer they cant go anywhere else.

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While i am relatively new to geocaching i can tell at least 20 people that used the kml feature. Everyone i know doing geocaching used this "feature". No website will ever be that powerful or uncomplicated to use as including a kml into google earth is. No website will ever be that handy as a desktop application is. Why do you think that nearly everyone knows about google earth while hardly anyone uses or even know google maps?

 

So groundpseak, please put the kml link back to work!

I just tried the google maps based search feature again, after not using it for a long time. And it's a pain in the a** compared to the easyness opening google earth and scrolling to my home area.

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I just recently renewed my premium subscription and was very disappointed to know that the Google Earth KML option has been removed. I, like many others in the forum, found that this feature was of great value and not the sites new map feature does not replace the lost functionality.

 

Being a software engineer myself, I understand that there are times that hard decisions have to be made, but I have found that those how ignore there customers needs usually have set there goals on things other than the customer, don't understand their customers needs or do not understand their technology well enough the meet the customers needs.

 

When an organization turns their back on the customer they rarely succeed. I, for one, will most likely not renew my subscription again, as it appears that for what ever reason the customers needs cannot be met so why pay from something that can't do the job.

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Sorry, but I should have included this in the prior post. The Google Earth solution was a first class act. In our industry its is always a question of what is the best of breed and the the Google solution was it. The new map feature is not so much. I hope the investors were satisfied with what they got because the customer sure aren't.

Edited by cookieCacher
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Each view you did when moving the window of the network kml amounted to a small PQ. Now imaging someone constantly panning the window, over and over and over and over.. is it still hard to imaging that maybe that was a hit to the system?

So re-write the KML builder so that it uses the regular search (as in /nearest.aspx). If you're worried about people constantly spinning the globe and hitting the database server too hard then put a limit on the number of refreshes allowed in a given period, say no more than 2 per minute, for example.

 

[repetition] Don't shoot one of the site's best features in the foot by disabling it rather than reimplementing it the way it should have been done in the first place [/repetition]

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I'd markwell the prior topic but it's late...

 

Each view you did when moving the window of the network kml amounted to a small PQ. Now imaging someone constantly panning the window, over and over and over and over.. is it still hard to imaging that maybe that was a hit to the system?

 

Now to the people that balk at the 200 user count. The 200 user count was a number that I gave to Nate and Jeremy when we were looking at the system resources.. That number can be explained. I kept detailed logs of what IP was hitting and when it was hitting. I can tell you how many people used it and how many times they panned the map. The 200# was based on someone panning the map more than 500 times a day and has stuck now as the battle cry of people in this thread. That number doesn't count the many people who panned the map once or twice or even 100 times.

 

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

Raine,

 

Thanks for the explanation. Jeremy and Nate should learn a lesson from this. Never take numbers from a software engineer at face value. I had a boss once that said that any number from a software engineer should be squared and multiplied by Pi. (Perhaps there were 125,663 regular users :( )

 

Many people who used this system realized early on that you could adjust the refresh when you pan and zoom in Google Earth. In fact many turned off the automatic refresh and only refreshed manually - a capability that some have requested for the Geocaching Google Maps. If in fact the problem was that most people didn't change the refresh settings, did anyone consider setting the default refresh to manual. I guess this would have problems as people would see move and not get updates and think the KML file was broken.

 

I don't quite understand the claim that 200 people were panning more than 500 times a day. I may be wrong. But I thought there was a limit of 200 refreshes per day and once that was exceeded the KML would stop returning caches till the next day. Could you elaborate on this?

 

I also don't see why a Google Earth refresh was significantly more expensive that a Google Maps update. In Google Earth there was an added cost of fudging the coordinates and if you were zoomed out it selected 200 caches at random instead of returning a message to adjust your zoom level, but I'm not seeing where that would be a significantly greater load. Cleary it is harder to pan around in the Google Maps (particularly while Javascript is parsing the caches) so that probably means people use less to browse around like with Google Earth.

 

Finally, I suggested way back in post #88 a compromise. I have not seen either side respond to whether it might be a reasonable solution. The idea was to allow PQs to be previewed in Google Earth (like viewing other KML files that are generated by the site). This would count as a PQ preview not as a full PQ so you could run an unlimited number but you would have to go back and edit the PQ each time. Of courses as you moved around in Google Earth you would only see the cache that were in the preview. If you moved to a new area, you'd have to go back and change the PQ parameters and preview again.

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As some one who didn't use the Google Earth, I'm not sure my two cents is welcome on this thread but I will offer it anyway. What I see in this thread is the constant refrain, "I used this. I liked this. I want it back. I don't care if it impacts on site performance for everyone I liked it. I don't care what explanation you give me I want it. I pay you the magnificent sum of $30 per year and so I have a right to tell you what to do. I don't want to adapt. I don't want to change. Using GSAK or PQs to view caches isn't good enough. Everyone else has to suffer so I can have exactly what I want."

 

Raine has provided a clear explanation of both how the 200 figure was arrived at and the impact on site performance. What I think they are saying is that a small percentage of users of the site made use of this feature and the use of the feature significantly impacted on site performance. If this is true and I don't think any of you can prove that it isn't, I think it is reasonable to turn off a feature that was inversely affecting site performance for the large number of users who were not using the feature.

 

Remember we are talking about what a small staff can realistically accomplish in terms of updating features. Should they be spending time on modifying your beloved KML or should they complete work on the new method of PQ delivery. There are limited resources and a large to do list. I also pay to support the site and would prefer that other features take priority.

Team Taran

 

So GC should just ignore everyone because they only pay $30 per year? Under that theory Groundspeak just does what they want, regardless. Groundspeak has no customer that pays more than $30 per year so we should all just shut up and go home. I don't know how many paying members there are but if there are 100,000 premium members paying $30 each that's $3 million in revenue. The actual number is probably considerably larger. I think they are beyond the mom and pop store phase of GC.com.

 

I think what we are doing is called "customer feedback".

 

Hopefully, Groundspeak has not forgotten their legacy as a innovative, user-focused, talented group of passionate individuals. Some of thier recent actions and some of their responses to this issue feel very defensive and something I would expect to see from a large lethargic, insensitive corporation. I am fuly sympathetic to the stresses of receiving all the heated comments. It is no fun being on the receiving end of this stuff. It comes with the territory of being a seller or supplier in the marketplace. Groundspeak may have made a mistake here. They are not infallible. IT IS NOT PERSONAL.....IT IS JUST BUSINESS!

 

Raine's explanation of the 200 made no sense to me. It was not clear. (I dont' think we need a detailed explanation of the 200 anyway). It is clear from the posts on this forum that the 200 was way off. BUT....The 200 is NOT the point. The point is this was working well for lots of people...alot more than 200. The point is there was no attempt to communicate. The point is we need to make our feelings known. The point is Groundspeak needs to understand how its customers use the system.

 

I can't believe you would want to deny us, as customers, communicating with Groundspeak, would you?

 

Yes, some of us need to go to charm school and be more constructive, but when you peel away the noise there are real concerns for what Groundspeak is doing and how they are doing it. This is about making Groundspeak better so we all benefit.

Edited by UT Explore
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We were informed back in April, about the 21-22nd. There has been absolutely no positive discussion since then but there has been ongoing complaints and lame defenses.

 

They knew in advance that they were going to discontinue the KML feature and, since then, they've had in excess of three months in which they oculd or should have developed an alternative.

 

Notice there is no positive indication that TPTB intend to develop a comperable or better solution.

 

I am a very few days short of my expiring Premium Membership; thirty dollars is a lot of money and I'm now, thanks to this decision by GS, having a difficult time jutifying a renewal. This was an extremely valuable too and, as I've indicated earlier, there are very simple alternatives that do not demand the massive processing time in the replacement.

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This is really too bad. GE is my favorite planning tool for trips. I zoom into the place I'm going and can see what he cache situation looks like, then use the cache nearest to my location as center point for PQ's. It was invaluable for the 2 week Alaskan Trip in 07 and the drive to Dallas last May.

 

:(:lol:

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This is really too bad. GE is my favorite planning tool for trips. I zoom into the place I'm going and can see what he cache situation looks like, then use the cache nearest to my location as center point for PQ's. It was invaluable for the 2 week Alaskan Trip in 07 and the drive to Dallas last May.

 

:(:lol:

You can still do that with the google maps - from this page - just type in the name of the place you are going in the zoom to address box.... http://www.geocaching.com/map/default.aspx?

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This is really too bad. GE is my favorite planning tool for trips. I zoom into the place I'm going and can see what he cache situation looks like, then use the cache nearest to my location as center point for PQ's. It was invaluable for the 2 week Alaskan Trip in 07 and the drive to Dallas last May.

 

:(:lol:

You can still do that with the google maps - from this page - just type in the name of the place you are going in the zoom to address box.... http://www.geocaching.com/map/default.aspx?

 

Yup, you can. It is slower, has none of the overlays or tools GE has, returns a limited area of coverage especially in cache rich areas, and is generally an inferior tool.

 

Yes, the old system had problems, none of them were insurmountable but the choice was made to eliminate it instead of improving it. Disappointing.

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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

YAY! Time to party!

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I am sitting here in Door County, WI on vacation and I wanted to show some brother-in-laws how cool the ge kml is....wait, its gone. I used this frequently to find caches near the places I was visiting. Disabling it is a bad choice. Shame on you.

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My 2 cents worth is that I will certainly miss it. I am one of those that used it semi-regularly to check areas that I hadn't downloaded yet and needed to do a check, get coord etc to get the best results for a PQ. Fast and useful as I already use the tool for planning trips etc. as it has a whole lot more info than just mapping so you can coordinate sight seeing and caching. I didn't do probably more than a few pans at a time. Hopefully a new solution will present itself soon.

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Please, Please, Please, Bring back the KML Google earth tool.

 

That was so useful, I used it for planning hides, Checking for cool places to go and see, Figuring how to access sites without trespassing over private property

 

(I guess Groundspeak wants us to search from the ground and release several extra tonnes of CO2 on our trips, Oh well there goes the Planet)

 

Steam released

 

Take care

 

Misha

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I suppose it would be different if the geocaching site worked regularly. Unfortunately it is hot or miss and those maps seem to take a good while to load. They seem cumbersome to me with a tiny window to view it on. Oh well. I suppose that is what you get for only $3/month.

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I assume I must have been regular user number 201... Liked it a lot and used it quite often - not daily but often. In my opinion there are some things that could have been done with GE and the KML that are not doable with Maps and/or PQs - and I use those tools as well. Liked to be able to choose from the variety of tools to use the one that fits best. Sad thing, gone....

 

Regards,

 

Stoerenfried

Edited by Stoerenfried
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