Turn online collaborative spreadsheets into live KML (!)

Valery35 and KASSPER over on Google Earth Communty pull off a great hack. Using the online collaborative spreadsheet service www.editgrid.com, they’ve managed to create spreadsheet-driven KML that can be linked to directly from within a network link.

It took me a while for the implications to sink in, but boy what implications. Import any old spreadsheet with coordinate or placename data into editgrid, add a sheet or two with wrapper KML code, use the concatenate formula to wrap the data into the valid KML code, put the end result in one cell, and then link to it directly from a network link via a cell-specific URL. Presto — your spreadsheet returns KML via some clever templating. No programming required.

What’s more, the spreadsheet can be altered collaboratively, and the results will change live for users, as soon as the network link is refreshed.

The best early example is this spreadsheet by Valery, where the data is concatenated into valid KML in cell K12 of sheet 4. Put that latter link into a network link in Google Earth, or just stick it into Google Maps, like so. Awesome, and I’m not using the term lightly.

The main innovation here (in addition to the great idea) is that editgrid.com gives individual spreadsheet cells unique URLs, and that these return the value of the cell. I could not find an equivalent feature in Google Spreadsheets (despite having a good look around). This is a clear case of convergence outpacing Google’s own inhouse efforts.

7 thoughts on “Turn online collaborative spreadsheets into live KML (!)”

  1. I was banned at keyhole for trying to get them to enforce a law that is being broken on the board. COPPA is designed to protect any members that may be under the age of 13. It is law that the BBS operators know who is under 13 in order to protect their identity. Lrae (aka. Robin Ziegler) deleted every post and ignored my PM’s regarding this matter. COPPA is law, not a suggestion.

    How many of the 500,000 + member are under the age of 13 and have posted in the ‘where do you live?’ thread or how about the new forum dedicated to just that:

    Member-centric Locations

    Where you live, went to school, work, or play.

    Every bit of this is liable to Robin Ziegler directly, since he was notified by me in December of 2005 regarding this matter. He has neglected to enact any form of age verification, which the software supports. The reason why the software supports it, is because of the nature of the COPPA act. The act is titled 16 CFR Part 312 and has international support from all Western Nations.

    I sent him private messages on numerous occasions regarding this law, and none of my messages were replied to. When I mentioned anything in the open board about the site not following the COPPA law, the posts were immediately removed. This in my opinion not only shows his unwillingness to follow the law, but to muzzle any recommendation about it.

    For me showing persistence in trying to get this changed on the site, I was banned.


    If you guys need a developer, let me know.


  2. Hi KASSPER,

    I was all ready to agree with you, but I went and read COPPA, and it is clear to me that the law only applies to web site “operators” collecting such data. From the COPPA site:

    “To determine whether an entity is an “operator” with respect to information collected at a site, the FTC will consider who owns and controls the information; who pays for the collection and maintenance of the information; what the pre-existing contractual relationships are in connection with the information; and what role the Web site plays in collecting or maintaining the information.”

    A bulletin board where users start up a voluntary topic like “where do you live” is different to Google asking for personal information from registrants and then posting that. It is the very nature of bulletin boards that they are user generated; in that regard it is not any different from the comments feature in this blog. I am not going to check how old you are just in case you write something about yourself. Just my 2 cents.

  3. The law states, “The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and Rule apply to individually identifiable information about a child that is collected online, such as full name, home address, email address, telephone number or any other information that would allow someone to identify or contact the child.”

    The ease to which a child who is using Google Earth, and I hope they are, to post their own house is just a bad medium to not have COPPA.

    I gave my 9 year old daughter Google to play with and within an hour she had found the layers. My 9 year old does not have an email account to create an account, but there are many that do.

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion. But to censor my posts in reguards to this matter is not only bad busines, it also shows a tad bit of naivity.

    I would have to guess that the Google Censorship policy is now worldwide. They censor Germany and France: http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/050117-090638

    And they censor china: http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/060130-080248

    Here is a list of sites they censor in Germany and France: http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2005-01-15-n50.html

    And they censor a US Citizen (me) concerning a US Law (COPPA).


  4. Zothip = Kassper = CompB = PETN = banned 4 times from keyhole, banned from Wikipedia, banned from a USMC site. There seems to be a recurring theme here, or is everyone out to get Thomas

    ? You decide.


    Your user name or IP address has been blocked from editing

    You were blocked by Zoe

    Reason given: Autoblocked because your IP address has been recently used by “Zothip”. The reason given for Zothip’s block is: “legal threats.”. (see our blocking policy)

    Guess they never heard of a Proxy


    This person is listed as the author of several books, but of the two where the publisher isn’t listed as unknown, one is a church, and one is “Pentland Press”. If that’s Pentland Press, Inc. of North Carolina (there was apparently a UK publisher named Pentland Press that went into liquidation) the only information I can find about the publisher is its imprint Ivy House, which describes its “mission” as “to offer an investment-based program, whereby an author has every chance of financial recuperation. You would fully invest in the first edition of the publication.”[1] I’m sure this was written by someone who thought Dr. Kring was a wonderful person, and you know what? I’m sure they were right, I’m sure he was a great guy. But being a great guy, and being notable enough to merit an entry in an encyclopedic, are different things. If the greatest claim to the subject’s encyclopedic notability is having some books privately printed, which it currently appears to be, that’s not really enough. — Antaeus Feldspar 03:36, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

    I have added the author’s book, Herman Melville’s Religious Journey. It is indeed published by the known vanity publisher Pentland Press, NC, there is no indication that its theses were ever recognized anywhere, and for what it’s worth, its Amazon sales rank is 1,504,475. Pilatus 14:00, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

    The book gave never before seen insight into the the Religion of Herman Melville, and also has documented proof that Herman Melville was beating his wife. There are records and letter from Herman Melville’s wife to Henry Whitney Bellows. Zothip 10:00, 4 February 2006

    Delete per own nom. — Antaeus Feldspar 03:36, 4 February 2006 (UTC) Strong Delete; the only source of information we have for most of this is the article’s author, who has demonstrated that at the very least, he has severe difficulty accurately interpreting what he reads and reporting it again factually. — Antaeus Feldspar 23:55, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

    Vote specified to include Herman Melville’s Religious Journey as well. — Antaeus Feldspar 21:28, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

    Delete. Agree with nom, this individual does not merit a page. I know plenty of people who have their own books “published,” but hardly would I want to see them on Wikipedia. –Kinu 03:49, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

    Extending my vote to all related articles included herein by the nominator. –Kinu 20:07, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

    Keep –HasNoClue 05:02, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

    His claim to fame is also in his pottery which was shown at the World’s fair, and for the ‘Kring Red’ Glaze he invented as well as his work on Hermen Melville. He was a Minister for most his life and was in the Navy during 2 major battles as a Chaplain. I will edit the wiki when I can get more information. I also have alot of his books he published here, that I will need to dig out to get the ISBN and publisher, the information on the wiki now is just what I could find on web. Thank you for the book information, I will update his complete works ASAP and I agree that his published works should be at the bottom of the page. This is my first page I have done, so some help would be appreciated. He was also involved with the ‘Timothy Leary Acid Tests’. I will need to get information about this, but he also had some influence in the NYC area regarding ‘Malcom X’ and the ‘Black Panther’ movement of the 60’s. I also have the audio version of his funeral service on MP3. Zothip

    Comment. The above post is by Zothip, the author of the page in question. Please sign your comments (four tildes). Also, there is nothing rude about the nominator’s comments, IMHO. He simply pointed out that, while the subject may be a decent human being who had an impact on the lives of some, the information is not worthy of encyclopedic entry here at Wikipedia. (As per my vote above, I agree. I must also point out that the additional information you provided above does not make it more so, either.) –Kinu 07:24, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

    Temporary Keep in the spirit of WP:BITE. I doubt this is ever going to be an acceptable article, but it’s possible, and someone can always renominate it in a month. If the guy really worked with Malcom X and the Panthers he may be notable. –djrobgordon 08:10, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

    If this article is removed, then you may want to remove Herman Melville’s page as well. – Zothip

    Why? Herman Melville is encyclopedically notable; there is little question about that. But notability is not transitive; one does not automatically become notable just by writing about Melville. Also, in regards to your now-removed statement that you would like to tell me “where to go shove it!” I will say two things: first of all, how in your mind would it be possible for anyone to raise any question about whether this person is encyclopedically notable, without you assuming that the question is so “rude” that it fully justifies you being so very rude in return? secondly, please read Wikipedia:No personal attacks; if you intend to stay and contribute to Wikipedia, you will have to do so in a manner befitting a mature adult. No, merely saying “I would like to attack you with rude anatomical insults” is not a way around this rule. — Antaeus Feldspar 17:58, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

    Herman Melville had Religion and was a Unitarian: Herman_Melville#Religion Furthermore, for you to say that “was written by someone who thought Dr. Kring was a wonderful person, and you know what?” is attacking him and me. So maybe you should read the policy. Zothip 2:56, 4 February 2006

    Boy howdy, if that doesn’t take the cake. Here’s the full passage. “I’m sure this was written by someone who thought Dr. Kring was a wonderful person, and you know what? I’m sure they were right, I’m sure he was a great guy.” So, yes! Black is white, up is down, freedom is slavery, and calling someone a wonderful person is attacking them! That makes perfect sense and perfectly justifies you telling me to stick it up my rectum. — Antaeus Feldspar 21:28, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

    YOU accused my grandfather of not writing the book nor doing the research. I do beleive that is called slander or making false claims of Plagiarism! If it was up to me, your rectum would be in court. Please also look at the notes I put in for Henry Whitney Bellows Zothip 21:47, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

    WHAT?! What on God’s green Earth are you talking about? The only false claims here are the ones you’ve just made, pretending that I ever said anything about your grandfather not writing the book or not doing the research, and those are false claims I’ll thank you not to make! That sort of lying will not be stood for! — Antaeus Feldspar 22:44, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

    Your quote, “I’m sure this was written by someone who thought Dr. Kring was a wonderful person, and you know what? I’m sure they were right, I’m sure he was a great guy.” http://www.efl-law.com/int_lib.html Zothip 00:05, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

    I worked for DISA as a Computer Security Investigator. I am contacting my lawyer. This is not only libel, but it is defamation as well. Zothip 01:00, 5 February 2006 (UTC

    I would like it known that I am not pressing charges in order to try to get this article kept, I could care less. But what was said in this OPEN FORUM by this one person is illegal, my lawyer will be contacting wikipedia on Monday. Zothip 16:31, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

    Please see WP:NLT. Stifle 02:03, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

    Delete. There is no indication that the author’s work has found any wider recognition either in academia or outside. Pilatus 14:00, 4 February 2006 (UTC) Zothip 00:59, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

    I added the ISBM numbers and publishers for his other ‘works’. I am waiting on some FAX’ed information from the Church of All Souls about his Black Panther Party involvment. Zothip 12:27, 4 February 2006

    In order to keep the wiki ‘Polically Correct’, I used the term ‘Black Empowerment’, but the information is up. Zothip 12:49, 4 February 2006

    Weak keep, but Merge Herman Melville’s Religious Journey into Walter Donald Kring. Because of the amount of books published and it includes Beacon Press which is a small publishing house, it probably meets the 5,000 books threshold. The article itself is complete and professional, so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. However two articles would be a bit much and the book can be discussed on the author’s page. Dr Debug (Talk) 23:59, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

    I am awaiting a call as to his involvement with Timothy Leary. I know he was in the Timothy Leary Acid Tests, But I do not know when nor to what extent. I remember his words to me were, “It did nothing to me”. So he probably got the placebo… Zothip 00:19, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

    Delete Non notable person.Obina 00:22, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

    Delete, non-notable bio and novel. –Madchester 00:36, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

    I added the ‘Kring Copper Red Cone’ glazing and firing technique to the Pottery Section. To include the recipe. Zothip 02:29, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

    Delete both as non-notable bio/novel. Stifle 02:03, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

    Delete as non notable bio. JtkieferT | C | @ —- 03:18, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

    Copyright Violation: I checked Amazon, and the text on the Herman Melville’s Religious Journey page is 100% lifted, save for the typos, from the front flap. –Kinu 07:12, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

    Copyright Violation: So is the other one. Surprise. –Kinu 18:25, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

    Well, that about wraps it up for good. Delete per nom, nevertheless. Also, all these legal-threat shenanigans gave me a fair few laughs. –Agamemnon2 12:03, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

    Delete. Legal threats, copyright violation. Preaky 17:34, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

    Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Walter_Donald_Kring%2C_PHD”

  5. Hello Robin Ziegler,

    I have that exact same PM from you in the keyhole logs.

    Redirection of the issue will not change the fact that you are wrong.

    Have a nice life, hippie. And it is a $10,000 fine for every member under the age 13.

    Sergeant Thomas P McManus (ret)

  6. Well there Mr. Sergeant Sir, I LOLed when I saw that you are trying to hang out your military rank as if it would give you any more credibility.


    Here’s some law for you, private web site operators can censor people any which way they want, the First Ammendment does not apply to private entities. Meaning if I own a web site, I can delete your comments all day long without that you can do anything about that.

    … and a bit LOL at the whole COPPA thing as well, really looking forward to you guys forking out all the legals feels to “get” Google, and Google just shrugging the whole thing off.

    A bit LOL to that. Go on guys, be Internet heros!

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