Google submitted KML (formerly Keyhole Markup Language) to the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) to be evolved within the OGC consensus process with the following goal: KML Version 2.2 has been adopted as an OGC implementation standard. Future versions may be harmonized with relevant OGC standards that comprise the OGC standards baseline. There are four objectives for this standards work:

  • That there be one international standard language for expressing geographic annotation and visualization on existing or future web-based online and mobile maps (2d) and earth browsers (3d).
  • That KML be aligned with international best practices and standards, thereby enabling greater uptake and interoperability of earth browser implementations.
  • That the OGC and Google will work collaboratively to ensure that the KML implementer community is properly engaged in the process and that the KML community is kept informed of progress and issues.
  • That the OGC process will be used to ensure proper life-cycle management of the KML Standard, including such issues as backwards compatibility.

The OGC has developed a broad Standards Baseline. Google and the OGC believe that having KML fit within that family will encourage broader implementation and greater interoperability and sharing of earth browser content and context.

KML is an XML language focused on geographic visualization, including annotation of maps and images. Geographic visualization includes not only the presentation of graphical data on the globe, but also the control of the user’s navigation in the sense of where to go and where to look.

From this perspective, KML is complementary to most of the key existing OGC standards including GML (Geography Markup Language), WFS (Web Feature Service) and WMS (Web Map Service). Currently, KML 2.2 utilizes certain geometry elements derived from GML 2.1.2. These elements include point, line string, linear ring, and polygon.

The OGC and Google have agreed that there can be additional harmonization of KML with GML (e.g. to use the same geometry representation) in the future. The Mass Market Geo Working Group (MMWG) in the OGC will establish such additional harmonization activities. OGC specifications such as Context and Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD) may be considered.


(Hover over Type for full description)
Document title Version OGC Doc No. Type
OGC KML 2.3 2.3 12-007r2 IS
OGC KML 2.2 07-147r2 IS
OGC KML 2.2 -Abstract Test Suite 07-134r2 TS
KML 2.2 Reference – An OGC Best Practice 2.2 07-113r1 D-BP
KML 2.1 Reference – An OGC Best Practice 2.1.0 07-039r1 D-BP
OGC® KML Standard Development Best Practices 0,6 08-125r1 BP
OWS-5 KML Engineering Report 0.1.0 07-124r2 DP

Official model files and encoding schemas

Official Schemas

Note: You may also download All Official OGC Schemas in a single zip file.

Revision Working Groups

This specification is currently stable, however, Working Groups are put in place to actively address future changes.

The KML 2.2 SWG group covering version 2.2.0 has a public page at:

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