Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Convert GPS data to KML or KMZ for Google Earth

There are a number of sites mentioning how to convert GPS data to KML or KMZ format for Google Earth use. Google Earth only allows KML file format to display geographic data in its Earth browser. Therefore, any GPS data you have, which most likely are in UTM (Easting and Northing), must be compatible with Google Earth's requirements.

If you have a GPS data in Easting and Northing, convert them first to latitude/longitude format. Read this post for the easy steps on how to do it.

Once you have the data converted into lat/long format, you can save them as a text file or put it in an excel file. If you opt for the excel file, put the data in three columns: first column is the description, then the latitude, and lastly the longitude values.

Then use this very handy online tool: The GPS Visualizer. It has a link where you can "convert your GPS data for use in Google Earth." Import your GPS data file, or plain-text data (tab-delimited or CSV), and create a KML file that you can view in the Google Earth application or import into Google's "My Maps" system.

Upload your GPS data then click "create KML file." It will immediately create the file for you and will give you an option to save it to your hard drive. The file will carry the extension .kml.

If you have already installed Google Earth, double clicking the .kml file should open the application (yes, in Google Earth). Of course you can send the kml file to your colleagues and let them view your GPS coordinates as well.

I hope this helps.

For more readings:

- Submit Your Geo Content to Google

- KML Tutorial

Leave your comments for questions.


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