Google is Supporting GeoRSS

GeoRSS, a very simple to use OGC format that extends RSS by adding location data, can now be consumed via Google Maps and the Google maps API. Congrats to Mikel and the OGC! As Google stated on the Google Maps API blog:

To start we now support GeoRSS as a data format for geographic content in Google Maps. We want to enable users to create data in whatever format is most convenient for them, and feel that by supporting both KML and GeoRSS we can enable a wider variety of people and applications to contribute content to Google Maps. We’ve built support for the Simple, GML, and W3C Geo encodings of GeoRSS — all you have to do is enter the full URL of a GeoRSS file into the Maps query box to load the file. For example, take a look at SlashGeo’s GeoRSS on Google Maps.

Most importantly, we’ve extended support for displaying geographic data — both KML and GeoRSS — into the Google Maps API. Now in addition to programatically adding content to a Maps API site, you can create your content as KML or GeoRSS and load it into the Map with a simple function call. This means that the more than 1 million KML files that are available from all over the web can easily be mashed up with the map on your site.

Additionally, KML is on its way to becoming an OGC standard (and as you can see from this Slashgeo poll it’s a popular idea). It’s great for them to begin accepting this OGC standard best practice as they begin that process.

Accepting GeoRSS and making KML a standard are very significant moves for Google and the geoweb. It’s long seemed odd to me that Google, a company built on opensource software and such an avid supporter of open standards, did not follow a similar path in the geospace with these two formats (being proprietary with one and not accepting the open one). These moves are going to bolster the importance of both formats, lead to more web content being geotagged and keep Google feeling love from geohackers for a while.

I expect this means that GeoRSS will be accepted as a Google Earth layer soon and that GeoRSS will start showing up in Google Earth’s Web Search. This would provide even further incentive content sites to join the likes of Flickr (as an aside compare with Flickr’s map feature with a Google Map consuming the same feed – I think Flickr’s is cleaner, but it does not have Google’s flexibility) and Upcoming by exporting in GeoRSS (as if today’s announcement wasn’t enough). WordPress bloggers can start using the GeoPress plugin (Radar post) right away (I already do on the Ignite Seattle blog — it’s very easy to use).

The schedule for the Where 2.0 conference hasn’t been updated to reflect some of the recent talks we’ve signed but I’m happy to say that John Hanke (Google Earth), Michael Jones (Google Earth, CTO), and David Schell (OGC, CEO) will all be speaking and I am sure that we will get their take on these recent developments and what is coming next.

Thanks Mike Liebhold for the pointer and Rev Dan Catt for the Flickr assist — it turns out to get your Flickr photos exported as GeoRSS you have to add “&georss=true” at the end of your URL. I hope that gets a little easier soon – hint, hint

Update: Don MacAskill pointed out in the comments that his photo-sharing site, SmugMug, has had GeoRSS for over a year for every user’s photo feed. They also have their own map for each user and gallery — compare the SmugMug map with the Google map for the same gallery.

Update 2: I originally stated that GeoRSS was an OGC standard. It is not, though the OGC is heavily involved. It’s most formal OGC status is “best practice”. Mikel, the driver behind GeoRSS, has clarified this positioning in the comments and provided us with some of the backstory around the format.

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