Interactive geographic information systems (GIS) and techniques are disclosed that provide users with a greater degree of flexibility, utility, and information. A markup language is provided that facilitates communication between servers and clients of the interactive GIS, which enables a number of GIS features, such as network links (time-based and/or view-dependent dynamic data layers), ground overlays, screen overlays, placemarks, 3D models, and stylized GIS elements, such as geometry, icons, description balloons, polygons, and labels in the viewer by which the user sees the target area. Also, “virtual tours” of user-defined paths in the context of distributed geospatial visualization is enabled. Streaming and interactive visualization of filled polygon data are also enabled thereby allowing buildings and other such features to be provided in 3D. Also, techniques for enabling ambiguous search requests in a GIS are provided.