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OpinioNate

GE KML Redesign

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It should be obvious to anyone who spends time in these discussion forums that a difficult and controversial decision was made recently by Groundspeak to discontinue support of the Geocaching Google Earth Network KML. This decision was made with some urgency after finding that the network KML was a serious threat to the stability of the site.

 

Our first choice when this happens is always to find a suitable replacement before removing a feature, but in this case time was not on our side. When faced with a situation where the entire site performance is made to suffer for the benefit of a single feature, however highly rated by the geocaching community, we felt that that feature needed to be sacrificed to ensure the integrity of the website.

 

Fast forward to the present day...

 

Raine has been working hard, including spending his own time, to rush a replacement service to production and is at a point where he feels it can be released to the live site. The design of this version is greatly streamlined and incorporates the latest changes to KML version 2.2. Here is a screenshot:

 

3744330834_8393352be6_o.png

 

One concession is that there will be reduced number of refreshes allowed per day for Basic and Premium members (More for PMs than Basics of course). This number can also be changed as needed and outside the regular code release cycle.

 

You may find that these limits are a hardship, or you may find that they suit you just fine. I hope you all will be honest with yourself and us about the performance from your point of view so that we can make the right decisions going forward. As always, your feedback drives our efforts and the site where you want it to go.

 

Raine and I will be around to answer any questions you have. We anticipate releasing this next week with the regular monthly code release, provided nothing exciting (read: catastrophic) happens between now and then.

 

Thank you very much to everyone who has offered level-headed and constructive feedback during the time the KML has been offline!

 

Edit: Updated the screenshot

Edited by OpinioNate

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Yet again - I am humbled by the devotion shown by the professional staff at Groundspeak to listen to Geocachers. Thanks for the hard work.

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The content in the info bubble will change until we release as I test for performance on returning more data.

 

-Raine

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Just a suggestion -- i prefer the smaller icons which GoogleEarthTweaker provides. The large icons as above block out a lot of the map.

 

(to see the smaller icons, run a GPX file through GoogleEarthTweaker with 'small icons' checked and open the kml with google earth)

 

-Ben

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I am highly impressed with the response to this and very much pleased with the return. Thank you Groundspeak!

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notworthy.gif I am impressed, amazed, and extremely thankful for the speed at which this was done.

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The content in the info bubble will change until we release as I test for performance on returning more data.

 

-Raine

 

many thanks for yuor explanation and the goal you are heading for, i think this will great for everybody who likes this hobby so mutch,i am glad so many people response to this forum, for us cachers, it seems we are all determine to want this feature back,and we let our voice speak, and for yuo as organisation i am glad you heard our voices, so from today we must go on together to help eachother,and interact

 

in short,when its not oke,its not oke,but when its oke,SAY IT!!

 

many thanks from the netherlands

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Again thanks for the efforts and thanks for the heads up on what is coming! I'm sure the feature will be greatly appreciated. I was never a big user of the feature, but many times it was nice to have, and I did miss it. I will be glad to see it come back. Thank you Raine for your hard and dedicated work and thank you OpinioNate for the information. I look forward to giving the newest release a test drive.

 

Jim

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Many, many thanks for this feature return. I really didn't think you had totally abandoned the feature, but were working to resolve the core issue - that being "too many hits by too few users". The "shut it down" instant response was fully appropriate, given the situation. We fully understand.

 

And we thank you for the heads-up information. The screen shot looks perfect. Just sorta hope the description returns in the popup but that's a minor inconvienence compared to the service this will provide.

 

The old limit was 200 hits per day - much more than I ever used. I did use the feature 2-3 times per week but rarely more than 10-15 views each time. I would turn the feature on and off as I panned so I wouldn't use up my "view allowance" and to speed up the panning. So, a much lower limit is perfectly acceptable. I alluded to just this condition in a previous post.

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And only today, I told a friend that Google Earth, just wasn't as much fun without geocaching KML.

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Thank goodness that Groundspeak has seen the light to bring back a fantastic feature! We are eternally greatful for their consideration and work to bring back the KML with GE feature. Thank you, thank you, thank you - it is very much appreciated.

 

We look forward to the new KML version next week. We don't mind the size of the icons or anything like that - just letting us know that a cache is in a certain place on Google Earth is great for a start.

 

:( Greetings from South Africa :D

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Thank you for bringing back this feature. AS many of said I found it useful for recon, and then would go to the site to take care of any actual searching.

 

Can a suggest a link to the cache page.

 

As others have said I rarely used more than 5 refreashes, and never used more than 50 of my 200.

 

Thanks again

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Raine and I will be around to answer any questions you have.

Just a quick one, to which I assume the answer is 'yes' but would like to know. Will the results of the new KML overlay be fuzzy as per the old version?

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sound´s good, many thanks!!! if somebody of you is on holiday in Cologne, Germany give us a call and you´ll get a or two beer for free - cheers!

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Raine and I will be around to answer any questions you have.

Just a quick one, to which I assume the answer is 'yes' but would like to know. Will the results of the new KML overlay be fuzzy as per the old version?

 

Yes, there is still a slight fuzz at the fifth decimal place.

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Raine and I will be around to answer any questions you have.

Just a quick one, to which I assume the answer is 'yes' but would like to know. Will the results of the new KML overlay be fuzzy as per the old version?

 

Yes, there is still a slight fuzz at the fifth decimal place.

:(

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I had given up hope of ever seeing the KML again. You've made my day, thank you!

 

Ditto!

 

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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May I add my Thanks as well, I find this tool extremely valuable when planning a visit to a differant part of the country.

 

THANK YOU

THANK YOU

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Again thanks for the efforts and thanks for the heads up on what is coming! I'm sure the feature will be greatly appreciated. I was never a big user of the feature, but many times it was nice to have, and I did miss it. I will be glad to see it come back. Thank you Raine for your hard and dedicated work and thank you OpinioNate for the information. I look forward to giving the newest release a test drive.

 

Jim

 

I simply ditto Jim's words above. They would be just as my own. Thank you Raine for even working on your free time.

Edited by Frank Broughton

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Raine has been working hard, including spending his own time, to rush a replacement service to production and is at a point where he feels it can be released to the live site. The design of this version is greatly streamlined and incorporates the latest changes to KML version 2.2.

 

Raine ROCKS! trophy.gifbacon.gifbadger.gif

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Yes, I am happy.

After my vacation i wil used it verry often, just like the old good version

 

Thanks for a new version

 

Greetings from The Netherlands

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Yes, there is still a slight fuzz at the fifth decimal place.

The fifth decimal place? Sounds good to me :D:(

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GREAT!

 

Thanks for restoring my favorite planning feature.

 

And thanks for listening to your customers, and working to satisfy them.

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One concession is that there will be reduced number of refreshes allowed per day for Basic and Premium members (More for PMs than Basics of course).

Technical question, since I'm curious: How can the add-in know whether you're a PM, a regular member, or just somebody off the street? (Even a complete non-member could get the KML file from somebody who is.)

 

For normal web surfing, your browser stores the login cookie, and AFAIK GE has no connection to any browser on your system ...does it?

 

Those old assumptions that "Everybody has Internet Explorer" don't work these days, not even on Windows. I run GE and Firefox on Linux, and I'm pretty sure the GE installation has no knowledge that I have or use Firefox.

 

So how would it know I'm a premium member? Would it ask for login separately inside GE?

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You like me, you REALLY REALLY like me <in my best Sally Fieldd imitation>

 

Thanks!!!

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Many thanks for all the hard work being done to bring back something that I, personally, miss.

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Yes, there is still a slight fuzz at the fifth decimal place.

The fifth decimal place? Sounds good to me :):(

 

lol ok you know what I mean. :D

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One concession is that there will be reduced number of refreshes allowed per day for Basic and Premium members (More for PMs than Basics of course).

Technical question, since I'm curious: How can the add-in know whether you're a PM, a regular member, or just somebody off the street? (Even a complete non-member could get the KML file from somebody who is.)

 

For normal web surfing, your browser stores the login cookie, and AFAIK GE has no connection to any browser on your system ...does it?

 

Those old assumptions that "Everybody has Internet Explorer" don't work these days, not even on Windows. I run GE and Firefox on Linux, and I'm pretty sure the GE installation has no knowledge that I have or use Firefox.

 

So how would it know I'm a premium member? Would it ask for login separately inside GE?

 

The link to download the KML is encrypted with your username. It can technically be shared amongst users, but they will all make withdrawals from the views "bank" for that particular KML. The more people who use it, the more useless it would become.

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One concession is that there will be reduced number of refreshes allowed per day for Basic and Premium members (More for PMs than Basics of course).

Technical question, since I'm curious: How can the add-in know whether you're a PM, a regular member, or just somebody off the street? (Even a complete non-member could get the KML file from somebody who is.)

 

For normal web surfing, your browser stores the login cookie, and AFAIK GE has no connection to any browser on your system ...does it?

 

Those old assumptions that "Everybody has Internet Explorer" don't work these days, not even on Windows. I run GE and Firefox on Linux, and I'm pretty sure the GE installation has no knowledge that I have or use Firefox.

 

So how would it know I'm a premium member? Would it ask for login separately inside GE?

 

The link to download the KML is encrypted with your username. It can technically be shared amongst users, but they will all make withdrawals from the views "bank" for that particular KML. The more people who use it, the more useless it would become.

 

Hear that people? Keep yer stink'n fingers off'n my KML! :(

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I'm sure that this is taking a lot of work so a big thanks for the effort.

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lol ok you know what I mean. :(

Sorry, just kidding - couldn't resist :)

 

(For those wondering, accuracy to the 5th decimal place is better than a GPSr can get :D)

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Many thanks to the developers for taking up the challenge and designing a new version that will retain much if not all the previous functionality and mitigate the stability concerns of the old version.

 

Many thanks to all those that shared their take on the issue in the previous forum, I would like to believe our words did not go unnoticed.

 

I look forward to trying out the new version.

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I really didn't miss this feature at all but I have got to say that I am most impressed with your fast turnaround of an alternate solution that looks pretty good! Thanks for all the hard work and for listening to the users.

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Doubt if I will use it any more now than I did before (hardly ever), but thanks for making the forums less angsty.

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Technical question, since I'm curious: How can the add-in know whether you're a PM, a regular member, or just somebody off the street? (Even a complete non-member could get the KML file from somebody who is.)

A login token can be passed in the download link (from the Groundspeak server that knows if you're logged in, if you're a PM, etc.) into the network link.

For normal web surfing, your browser stores the login cookie, and AFAIK GE has no connection to any browser on your system ...does it?

Earth can't read cookies or login state from your browser. If you want to split bytes about how Earth works, that's a good discussion for the Earth support community.
Those old assumptions that "Everybody has Internet Explorer" don't work these days, not even on Windows. I run GE and Firefox on Linux, and I'm pretty sure the GE installation has no knowledge that I have or use Firefox.

I have confidence that, like the previous iteration, it'll work fine on Linux and Mac and the browser you use doesn't figure in. Earth knows to look at the host browser preferences to open an appropriate browser window/tab in whatever browser you use for viewing the actual cache page.

 

 

It's not a plug-in and it's not an add-in. It's plain ole KML.

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The link to download the KML is encrypted with your username.

Does this mean that we might eventually see additional features such as the ability to hide "My Finds"? (Now I'm really getting excited!)

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You never know what those crazy developers at Groundspeak are bound to do...

 

But then again, you do have PQ's that can fill that need. :( If you were to filter out your finds ever time it pans GE, that's an extra hit to the database for filtering.

 

-Raine

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Okay, another technical question. (Thanks BTW for the fast and succinct reply on my first one!)

 

Functionally, it looks roughly the same. What's different under the hood to make the new version a lighter load on the servers?

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So if the "200" users of the old KML had followed the advice of some to "just shut up and accept that it is gone forever", would it have ever come back?

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b&j, would my reply to you really matter since you're still using the "200" line?

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Viajero Perdido: A few of the changes "under the hood" are:

 

New KML rendering library.

SQL specific tweaks like CTE's, indexs with included columns.

And a few other things that we want to keep secret :(

 

-Raine

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