For the last two weeks I’ve been engrossed in KML files. I love the idea of generating geo-specific data to share with others. In my case it was data concerning my professional engineering fraternity, Theta Tau. I’m helping to launch a new website and I want to take advantages of services like Google Maps to keep our fraternity map up to date and interactive for our members.
To do this project I first found data from the US Census Bureau in a text format I could parse with Python. Then I made a text file of all the fraternity specifi data I wanted to display. The life saver was something called Element Tree for Python. I understand that it’s a standard feature in Python 2.6, but I still installed it using MacPorts (which convinces me every day to switch to a mac).
Once I had the Element Tree imported in my Python program I found that generating the KML file was a snap. The most difficult part was actually locating the image files that Google uses for the pins in the map. And while I have a friend helping me develop some customized pins, I like the look and feel of the Google ones and still prefer them.
Will I do more KML work in the future? Probably. It was such a snap to do and the outcome was so rewarding I think I’ll definitely employ this somewhere in the future. For now it was a project well done and an interesting lesson in XML.