Is there any difference in the KML script to allow different versions of Google Earth to see it ?

If I write

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<kml xmlns="http://earth.google.com/kml/2.1">


How would the KML file content change if using a different Google Earth version ?

(I would like to be sure that the KML files I create are visible on currently downloadable Google Earth versions, e.g. 5 to 7.03)

I plan to use simplekml (PyPI) to generate the files. They will use GroundOverlay, NetworkLink, Region... (as created by simplekml, which I trust to do a better job than my own brain)

I tried to find any information on version changes (for Google Earth) but have been unsuccessful.

  • KML is backwards compatible, it will ignore new elements/features in old versions. Google Earth is Free to download/upgrade to users should use the most recent version.
    – Mapperz
    Commented Apr 19, 2013 at 13:35
  • 1
    More information on KML here: digitalpreservation.gov/formats/fdd/fdd000340.shtml
    – Mapperz
    Commented Apr 19, 2013 at 13:39

1 Answer 1


I think you'll be safe with any of those pretty simple, standardised elements. I'd just make it KML 2.2 (definitely supported in Google Earth 5.0 and later - back to 4.2 IIRC).

There are some elements that are "Google extensions" (in the gx: namespace) that are only supported in later versions. You can see these in the KML Reference. For example, Camera and LookAt only support <gx:ViewerOptions> in Google Earth 6.0. Using those extensions shouldn't break Google Earth (or any other KML viewer) - they'll just be ignored.

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