Google Calendar of events via RSS?

My job is very close to the major convention center in Boston. I’ve noticed that when I leave work and get on public transportation that if there is a major event at the convention center, that the public transportation line I take, the silver line, is extraordinarily jammed. Now you’d think that the MBTA, who runs the system here, would figure this out and add some more buses so people like me didn’t have to cram on top of other folks to make sure we can catch our train home on time.

But that’s not what this is about. Because of this, I realized that I need to be more aware of big events at the convention center, so I can give myself a bit more time to catch my train on those days. It turns out the convention center has a good schedule of events online, but that isn’t something is easily viewable in a calendar format. Luckily they have a RSS feed too.

So then I thought to myself, “Self, wouldn’t it be great if you could see this as a dedicated calendar, perhaps via Google Calendar.” That’s where I manage the rest of my non work events, so it just seemed logical. I wanted to simply create a new calendar, add the RSS feed of events, and have Google figure it out. But Google Calendar doesn’t enable that. I searched for a while to figure out if I was missing something, but I wasn’t. It seems there are a lot of people that want to do this though, so I figured I’d document my solution here.

I learned that you can create a Google Calendar via an iCal URL. So then all I needed to do was figure out how to convert the RSS Feed to iCal. Here’s what I did.

1) I found this useful site to convert the RSS Feed to iCal.

2) I copied the converted URL

3) I went to Google Calendar and under “Other Calendars” and then clicked “Add by URL”

4) I pasted the URL of the iCal feed into the “Add Feed” window that popped up.

5) That’s pretty much it. I had to make a few other tweaks to Google Calendar, like changing the name of the calendar. But if you want to see it, or use it, it’s here for all.

Now I wish that Google would let me control permissions on the calendar like it does for native Google Calendars but that’s a pretty minor request. Overall, I’m happy I solved my problem quickly, and hope that others will benefit too.