export kml track; import into google earth = kml error warning + weird behavior

bird.amy's Avatar


06 Dec, 2019 06:56 PM

QUESTION: did anything change recently in the way CalTopo constructs its kml exports? If so I suspect a recent change is causing us problems when we import into google Earth. It may be that the kml syntax you are writing is perfectly valid but google earth is buggy in trying to interpret it, so I'm simply trying to determine if there was a recent change. I don't expect you to sort out problems in the often buggy google earth program.

Using CalTopo I create a simple track with two points and a name. I export that in kml format.
I use google earth (Mac , with Google Earth preference->general->KML Error Handling is set to "Show prompts for all errors".
When I open the test kml file in Google Earth I get the warning "Unknown element <fill>".
I don't know enough about kml syntax or validation tools to assess whether there is a syntax error in the kml file or if google earth has a bug and is unable to parse a valid file.
I ignore the error and open the file anyway.
After importing that data into google earth I get weird behavior I've never seen before. My husband and I exchange data between CalTopo and Google Earth very frequently, and this weird behavior seems to have started yesterday. The problem we see is that the name of track lines are displayed, superimposed on top of the line itself - I've never seen this behavior and can't find any google earth reference to this feature. This happens not only for the imported line but often (but not always) for lines we subsequently create in the same session of google earth.

NOTES: We've reproduced our problem after reinstalling google earth and deleting prior myplaces.kml files - i.e. opening google earth with NO data. Used two different Macs and many different test cases coming from CalTopo. It doesn't appear to be limited to one particular instance of a caltopo export. Opening kml files from other sources has not caused the error warning or the weird behavior.
Thanks a ton for a great tool and your ongoing support. Amy

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Ben Lantow on 07 Dec, 2019 03:41 AM

    Ben Lantow's Avatar

    Hi Amy,
    One of the developers took a look at this. There have been no changes to this code in more than 6 months. We were able to reproduce the same thing.

    The unknown element warnings for fill and outline are legitimate bugs, those are valid properties for KML Polygon Styles but not for KML Line Styles, which is what a track / route is represented by. However, the way that XML works, Google Earth should just ignore the elements, it shouldn’t cause any problems. We will add a ticket to fix it in the long run. With a change in Google Earth about 6 months ago we also set a preference to default labels to display, they used to do this without code but now we need to trigger it.

    However, I'm 100% sure nothing changed yesterday or in the last months.


  2. Ben Lantow closed this discussion on 07 Dec, 2019 03:41 AM.

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