Sharing data over a network

In addition to saving placemarks or folders to your local computer, you can also save place data to a web server or network server. Other Google Earth users who have access to the server can then use the data. As with other documents, you can create links or references to KMZ files for easy access. Storing a placemark file on the network or on a web server offers the following advantages:

  • Accessibility - If your place data is stored on a network or the Web, you can access it from any computer anywhere, provided the location is either publicly available or you have log in access.
  • Ease in Distribution - You can develop an extensive presentation folder for Google Earth software and make that presentation available to everyone who has access to your network storage location or web server. This is more convenient than sending the data via email when you want to make it persistently available to a large number of people.
  • Automatic Updates/Network Link Access - Any new information or changes you make to network-based KMZ information is automatically available to all users who access the KML data via a network link.
  • Backup - If for some reason the data on your local computer is corrupt or lost, you can open any of the KMZ files that you have saved to a network location, and if so desired, save it as a local file again.
Note: Before you can create a network link to an item in Google Earth, you must first store that place data on a server.

This section covers the following topics:

Saving Data to a Server

To make your placemarks or folders available to other people via a server, you need to first save the file to the appropriate location.

  • Network Server - To save a folder or placemark to a location on your network, simply follow the steps in Saving Places Data and save the file in a location on your company network rather than to your local file system.
  • Web Server - To save a placemark or folder to a web server, first save the file to your local computer as described in Saving Places Data. Once the file is saved on your local computer as a separate KMZ file, you can use an FTP or similar utility to transfer the file to the web servers.

If you want users to be able to open KML and KMZ files from a web server, you may need to add MIME types for the server. These are:

  • application/vnd.google-earth.kml+xml kml
  • application/vnd.google-earth.kmz kmz

Opening Data from a Network Server

If you are working in an organization where place data is saved to a network that you have access to, you can open that data in the same way you would open a saved KMZ file on your local computer.

  • From the File menu, select Open (CTRL + O in Windows/Linux, Command/Open Apple Key + O on the Mac) - Navigate to your network places and locate the KMZ or KML data you want to open in Google Earth. Select the file and click the Open button. The folder or placemark appears in the 'Places' panel and the 3D viewer flies to the view set for the folder or placemark (if any).

    Files opened in this way are NOT automatically saved for the next time you use Google Earth. If you want the placemark or folder to appear the next time you use Google Earth, drag the item to your 'My Places' folder to save it for the next session.

  • Locate the file you want to open - Once you have located the file on your network places, you can simply drag and drop the KMZ file over the 'Places' panel. The 3D viewer flies to the view set for the folder or placemark (if any).

    When you use the drag-and-drop method of opening a placemark or folder, you can drop the item over a specific folder in the 'Places' panel. If the 'My Places' folder is closed and you want to drop it there, just hold the item over the 'My Places' folder until the folder opens up and you can place the item within subfolders or in the list. Items dropped in the 'My Places' folder appear the next time you start Google Earth. Otherwise, you can drop the item in the white space below the 'Places' panel so that it appears in the 'Temporary Places' folder. Items opened this way appear only for the current session of Google Earth unless you save them.

About Network Links

The network link feature in Google Earth provides a way for multiple clients to view the same network-based or web-based KMZ data and automatically see any changes to the content as those changes are made. A network link allows for content publishing in a manner similar to web page/web browser content delivery:

  • A network link provides a way to deliver dynamic data to multiple Google Earth users. When users connect to your KMZ file via a network link, either you or they can specify how often to refresh the data in the file. This way, regular updates made to the content by one person are automatically reflected in all connected clients.
  • A network link is intended as a view-only reference to published content. Just as web pages are viewed by many people but only modifiable by those with permission, place data content can be linked to and seen by multiple users while set to be modifiable only by one author. As with web pages, users who are viewing the content can always save that content to their hard drive, but they can only receive dynamic content via a network link.

The following figure illustrates the parallels between web-based content and KMZ content via a network link using Google Earth.

Parallels between web-based content and KMZ content via a network link using Google Earth

Creating a Network Link

Before you can create a network link, the content you want to link to must exist on the network or web server that you are linking to. If you are authoring the content, see Saving Data to a Server for details about saving KMZ files to a web or network server. If you are only linking to the content, be sure you know either the network location of the file or the URL if it is located on a web server.

  1. Choose any one of the following ways to start:
    • Select Network Link From the 'Add' Menu. Select Network Link from the pop-up menu.
    • Right-click a folder in the 'My Places' Panel. Select Add > Network Link from the pop-up menu. When you add a network link in this way, the selected folder is automatically set as the container for the network link.

    The 'New Network Link' dialog box appears. Enter the name of your link in the 'Name' field. Enter the full path of the KMZ file in the 'Link' field, or browse to the file location if the file is located on a network. You can use a URL to reference the KMZ, such as 'http://www.test.com/myKMZ.kmz'. The 3D viewer immediately flies to the default view for the linked data.
  2. Enter descriptive text or HTML.You can enter this data in the same way you would for a regular folder. See Editing Places and Folders for more information.
  3. (Optional) Click the View tab to change the default view that this network link presents to users. Click Snapshot current view to use your current view in Google Earth. If your network link has more than one placemark, click Reset to display all these placemarks to users.

Note - The text you enter in this description is your description of the link only and is not viewable by anyone else linking to the KMZ file. Only you will be able to see the description you enter here (unless you email your link folder to other people). This is similar to creating a bookmark for a web page and then adding a descriptive note about the bookmark.