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I'm trying to create this effect in a KML to be displayed in Google Earth. I am writing in KML 2.1 as a reference.

I know it is possible to create a polygon that is circular in appearance, but can that same polygon be "stood on its edge," similar to how a U.S. penny sits when it is showing both the heads and tails side?

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This can certainly be done with KML. I am not aware of any tools that make it easy, like a user interface where you can draw a flat shape and then rotate it in 3D space. But if you can manually (or programatically) generate the KML polygon and give its coordinates the correct altitudes, then you can make a polygon that rises up vertically. Below is a very simple example with a rectangle. You can copy/paste it into Earth Pro to see the results.

<kml>
    <Placemark>
        <name>Vertical Rectangle</name>
        <Polygon>
            <altitudeMode>absolute</altitudeMode>
            <outerBoundaryIs>
                <LinearRing>
                    <coordinates>
                        -122.4632,37.8227,100 
                        -122.4678,37.8141,100
                        -122.4678,37.8141,800                       
                        -122.4632,37.8227,800 
                        -122.4632,37.8227,100
                    </coordinates>
                </LinearRing>
            </outerBoundaryIs>
        </Polygon>
    </Placemark>
</kml>

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