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No KML in Bing Maps v7 AJAX!? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Well I started to port the EcoMapCostaRica.com maps to Bing Maps AJAX v7. So far it has been fairly simple. Of course all the class names have changed. The code for the tile layers is now simpler, as is the code the JavaScript-drawn survey grid layer (now an EntityCollection). With two tile layers it looks to be working fine on the ipad with multi-touch. All good stuff even if it takes time to re-write.

    However I find there's no KML support!  This is a big black mark for v7 as far as this project is concerned. All the data (ground-derived mapping, data locations, etc) are in KML. There are a range of reasons for this - KML can be easily hacked in the field, I have some scripts that convert data into KML, it can support pushpin-popups as well as vector data, and it is an industry standard. KML also carries rendering information (unlike GeoRSS and GML). In fact that is why KML has become the de facto standard for web map annotation - it is relatively simple but includes style information. (contrast with GML which is excellent for rich data transfer but is usually complex in implementation and contains no style information)

    Yes I've searched the web and seen Rick Brundritt's GeoRSS parser. Unfortunately that will not work for me: I need style info (for example a KML layer file will typically have multiple shapes with different colors or pins) that GeoRSS does not support; also it uses ASP.NET which isn't available. I guess I could write my own parser, but quite frankly, I think my time is better spent getting one of the other versions working better (eg. layers and Z-order with Google Maps;  or updating the original 'classic' OpenLayers version; or 'making do' with v6 even though it is broken in Firefox)


    Richard Marsden
    MapPoint Add-ins at Mapping-Tools.com
    • Moved by Ricky_Brundritt Friday, March 9, 2012 5:37 PM (From:Bing Maps: Map Control and Web services Development)
    Thursday, May 12, 2011 9:14 PM

Answers

  • From what I've been told it will be a while before v6.3 will be retired as moving people to v7 would require a complete rebuild of applications. I do not expect them to retire that API anytime soon. As for KML support, I agree with Alastair that the support for this has always been minimal and I've had a lot of people convert their KML files to GeoRSS as that was better supported in v6.3. That said adding basic KML support to v7 isn't overly difficult. I wrote a plugin for GeoRSS support a few months back. I have KML on my TODO list but that list is a mile long so I'm not sure if/when I'll get to it.
    Windows Live Developer MVP - http://rbrundritt.wordpress.com | http://inknowledge.co.uk
    Wednesday, May 18, 2011 6:50 PM

All replies

  • I always found the KML support in v6.x to be distinctly limited anyway so, to be honest, I haven't missed it at all in v7. I guess that, at some point, somebody might create a custom module to add a KML parser for v7 - it shouldn't be a massive job, but it depends whether anyone has the inclination and skills to do so!

    You can of course continue using v6.3 for now - there has been no announced retirement date for v6 and I expect it will be around for another year or so at least. There is a discussion about the problem with custom tile layers in FF4 here: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/vemapcontroldev/thread/17efab17-d70c-40b3-9e50-75c65d59385e . It is a known bug, but there are some suggested workarounds that seem to have helped some folks.


    twitter: @alastaira blog: http://alastaira.wordpress.com/
    Friday, May 13, 2011 7:58 AM
    Moderator
  • When renewing our license a few months ago, our customer service rep said when the announcement was made about version6.3 being deprecated it would be a period of 2 years from that date; that being said, I don't know if we got that in writing. But you should have plenty of time to switch to Google or OpenLayers, if you choose.


    Sasha dos Santos Software Engineer Pro Tech Monitoring, Inc. http://www.ptm.com
    Friday, May 13, 2011 1:50 PM
  • Yes I've kept v6.3, but I've managed to kick last year's "experimental" (ie. translation "will probably crash") GM version into a usable form to be the primary map. This is an annual thing so I'll revisit it in a year's time. Perhaps there will be a KML parser available, or perhaps Bing Maps v8 will be out :-)

    One advantage of using something like KML is that it is relatively easy to switch between providers. I initially started KML with OpenLayers & MapServer. For my KML (simple shapes, alpha, and pushpins) Bing Maps v6 actually does a better job than Google Maps. Google Maps auto-scales the pushpin icon sizes - ignoring the icon image size and the KML's pushpin scale. Contrary to popular opinion, I've found the only reader with full KML support is the original Google Earth / Keyhole application.

    Sasha: Your reply came through as I was typing the above. Yes these are options. The map originally started off as MapServer/OpenLayers back in 2008 due to poor satellite coverage of rural Costa Rica. MapCruncher made Bing Maps practical (and Google Maps it turns out - it can use the same tiles). In the past 12 months, Google added a hi-res image for the nearest large town (a big tourist place), but Murphy/Sod rules and the tile doesn't quite extend to the study area!



    Richard Marsden
    MapPoint Add-ins at Mapping-Tools.com
    Friday, May 13, 2011 2:05 PM
  • From what I've been told it will be a while before v6.3 will be retired as moving people to v7 would require a complete rebuild of applications. I do not expect them to retire that API anytime soon. As for KML support, I agree with Alastair that the support for this has always been minimal and I've had a lot of people convert their KML files to GeoRSS as that was better supported in v6.3. That said adding basic KML support to v7 isn't overly difficult. I wrote a plugin for GeoRSS support a few months back. I have KML on my TODO list but that list is a mile long so I'm not sure if/when I'll get to it.
    Windows Live Developer MVP - http://rbrundritt.wordpress.com | http://inknowledge.co.uk
    Wednesday, May 18, 2011 6:50 PM