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Java API for KML (JAK)

Posted by thlandgraf on August 14, 2009 at 12:19 AM PDT

Micromata GmbH, specialist for tailor-made software engineering, headquartered in Kassel, presents the first Java interface for easy access to KML (Keyhole Markup Language). Micromata will release JAK (Java API for KML) to the community as open source software. The open source project is now available to download at: and

The project was developed at Kassel University within the framework of a master's thesis commissioned by Micromata. The Kassel experts for software engineering clearly defined their objective: to develop an open source based Java interface, which would enable direct and easy access to KML.KML is an XML-based programming language that describes and visualizes geographic data.Originally developed for the client components of Google Earth, KML is now frequently used to program web-based maps in 2D, virtual globes in 3D and as a means of exchanging geographic data.KML was defined by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) as a standard in April 2008; many virtual globes, such as NASA's World Wind or Microsoft's Virtual Earth, are based on KML.

In spite of the high adaptation rate of KML, until now, there was no interface that enabled convenient and easy use of KML in existing Java environments, thus enabling access to geographic data in KML.Because digital information with spatial information – i.e. geospatial data - is becoming increasingly important, Micromata felt that it was high time to take action.In the past, the measurement of land masses was a tedious and time-consuming process requiring vast resources.These days, data are recorded via satellite, or underground using radar wagons, and the results are digitalized.

The challenge now is to integrate existing geographical data in a geobrowser, such as Google Earth.The majority of KML-based documents are created manually. However, the more complex and sophisticated the documents become, the more they require computer scripts able to generate data-driven KML on a large scale.Because these individually created KML documents vary enormously, they need to be adapted – an extremely laborious and costly process.

In cooperation with Kassel University, Micromata GmbH supported a master's thesis in the Information Technology degree program to develop a simple solution for just this task.It was clear from the outset that the results of this work would be made available to the community as an open source version.

"When developing our customized solutions, we also benefit considerably from all the tools, solutions and codes available in the open source community".

"It therefore goes without saying that we are also keen to share our knowledge and innovations with this community – so we are extremely proud that, as a result of this master's thesis, we have provided the world's first Java API for KML and thus been able to give back some of that know-how and expertise.

Micromata GmbH has worked closely with Kassel University for some years now and regularly oversees master and diploma theses.

With JAK, the open source community now has a universal interface for KML.

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Thanks for your contribution, I'll have to check it out! Just to be set the record straight though, I think the first KML library for Java was this project:

Brilliant, just what I and my mates have been looking for. It looks so easy to use and I like the way you have implemented it. Very refreshing!

Excellent news. I've always been guessing whether I wasn't able to search for a KML API for Java or such an API did not really exist. As a consequence I used XJC for parsing it, but in a quick-and-dirty way for some specific needs. I'll convert to JAK as soon as possible. Thanks.