Dropbox: KML file hosting synced from your desktop

dropboxlogo.pngValery Hronusov discovers that Dropbox, a new free (2GB) or premium (50GB for $10/month) file syncing and sharing service, works great for hosting KML and KMZ files, including network links. What’s truly innovative about Dropbox is that it in addition to syncing specific folders across the internet to other computers, it also automatically syncs a public folder on your hard drive with an internet-accessible directory — just like Apple’s MobileMe, except that Dropbox also provides unique URLs for the files, making them easy to link to.

This means, for example, that if you keep and update KML files in a designated public folder on your computer at home, these will automatically update on the web in a fully scalable fashion.

The upshot: If you have desktop software that automatically produces, say, KML files of your georeferenced photos (as Houdahgeo for Mac does) you should be able to create some nice automated workflows that lets ou publish directly to the web. [Update: iPhotoToGoogleEarth would work great too.]

There’s more: As Valery points out, Dropbox seamlessly handles network links (after all, they are just files), and of course they can be made to reference other Dropbox URLs. So: If you were to keep one fixed network link whose URL you make public and don’t change, you could have it reference other KML files via their Dropbox URLs which you do update. To illustrate this point, I just converted my recent Egypt trip KML file from last month to Dropbox, which required nothing more than updating two URLs. Here it is. And from now on, all I need to do to change their content on your Google Earth is to update them on my laptop. No FTP needed.

(The only thing that hasn’t been properly tested yet: What is the bandwidth limit for DropBox: Can it handle lots of simultaneous uploads, like Google Earth Community can? Feedback on speed appreciated.)

5 thoughts on “Dropbox: KML file hosting synced from your desktop”

  1. Sounds awesome, I’ve been meaning to set up files on MobileMe so that I can keep changing them and have them appear online smoothly. Having DropBox would be great for collaborating with non-Mac users.

    Are you hearing the news about iPhoto ’09 and it’s embedded Google Earth view? it might put my iPhotoToGoogleEarth program out of business, but I welcome it if they do a good job. I’ll be getting it asap.

  2. I’ve been using Dropbox with KML files for a few months now, mostly to keep my desktop and laptop files in sync. I can’t comment on the bandwidth efficiency (just a single user, my KML/KMZ files are not terribly huge, etc) but the convenience factor is off-the-scale.

  3. Very handy, especially now the Google Earth Community forum is down. For several days now, an enormous amount of links to kml/kmz files is broken on the net…

  4. Hronusov post isn’t reachable due to some site maintenance. Could anyone point me at similar instructions on how to publicly share a kml/kmz file with Dropbox?


  5. How stupid I am… simply put the kml in Public Dropbox folder… ehm egh… :) I don’t use it so much…

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