I have a layer containing polygon data which is supposed to be used in Google Earth. We want the users to see the polygons without getting their coordinates. Right now I solved this using a WMS service, so the user just gets pictures of the data. But all the scaling in Google Earth makes those WMS-layers, containing a lot of small and edgy polygons look pretty bad. If I load the data as polygons inside a KML the visualization is much, much better. Also the WMS-layer is not clickable, I would like the user to be able to click on the polygons and receive additional metadata.

If I use the KML-output of the GeoServer both is possible, but the KML contains the coordinates in plain-text. I know that it is not possible to encrypt kml-files, I searched around a lot, but maybe GeoServer offers a different solution?

I know that of course anything I transfer to the client can be copied somehow (he could also just copy the wms-images and recreate the polygons), but I need it at least safe enough that only "bad ass programmers" can get the data :)

Is there any way to hand out the data as polygons to the user, without him being able to just copy the coordinates of the polygons?

Or maybe a way to output the WMS in Google Earth with less "destroying" of the image?

1 Answer 1


The simple answer here is that if you publish the data as a WFS, you are publishing the data, that is giving away the coordinates. Even if you publish the data as a WMS, you are just obfuscating the data, that is, a determined user could through digitization, or data extraction, or point querying through multiple GetFeatureInfo requests get a good version of the raw data.

  • I was afraid of this. I already set the layers to queryable=0, so that you cannot get the data via getFeatureInfo. I suppose it has to be a WMS then, the best of bad solutions. Thanks
    – tommueller
    Commented May 7, 2014 at 12:12

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