Keyhole Markup Language: KML

XML-based data file encoding standard now managed by Google.

Keyhole Markup Language, or KML, is a simple but powerful file format for displaying geographic data in an earth browser, such as Google Earth or Google Maps. Increasingly, people are starting to use it in their own applications to represent geographic data.

KML has some scaling limitations in the number of items that can be quickly represented, but gains considerable credibility from its use in Google tools. Exchanging data between applications, however, can sometimes be a challenge.

Google has modified KML to incorporate a <Metadata> element, allowing more complete metadata descriptions to accompany the existing KML. See their best practices document for more information on this tag.

Maturity Estimate: