Creating a KML file

Have you ever wanted to create a KML file for use with Google Earth and/or Google My Maps?  Here are some instructions which I hope you find useful.

What is a KML file?  KML stands for ‘Keyhole Markup Language’.  It is an XML based file format which is used to display geographic data in an Earth browser such as Google Earth.  There are serveral ways to create a KML file, but this is the way I was shown some time ago (courtesy of Ian VK1DI).

Lets create a KML file of the VK1 Parks for the VKFF program.

To start, head to parksnpeaks and click on ‘Parks’.

Screenshot 2016-05-12 18.15.56

Then scroll down to WWFF VK1 List.

Screenshot 2016-05-12 18.19.26.jpg

Highlight all of the entries/data in the WWFF VK1 List and then copy those contents.

Next up, open Excel and paste the copied content into a new workbook.  It should show up in Excel as follows, after pasting.

Screenshot 2016-05-12 18.23.10.jpg

There are some portions of the spreadsheet that we need to delete and some changes that need to be made.  First up, you need to delete columns that are not required.  They are:-

  • Type
  • State
  • Region
  • District
  • Area
  • Info
  • Count
  • Last

If you included lines 1 & 2 as I did above (including the WWFF VK1 List) title, you will need to delete that as well.

You also need to change the column headings to match what our KML creator (which is GPS Visualizer) requires.  The columns required are:-

  • Name (was originally ID on the spreadhseet)
  • desc (was originally Name)
  • latitude (was Lat)
  • longitude (Was Long)

Screenshot 2016-05-12 18.33.19

You should end up with the following….

Screenshot 2016-05-12 18.37.03.jpg

To convert this excel spreadsheet into a kml file, next open up GPS Visualizer.

From the home page, click on Google Earth KML.  See below…

Screenshot 2016-05-12 18.28.52.jpg

The screen below will appear.  Where it says ‘Or paste your data here’, do exactly that.  Paste the copied info from the spreadsheet.  Under the heading ‘General map parameters, change the  Output file type to .kml (compressed).  Then in the ‘Google Eath doc name’ area, name the file as you choose.  In the Waypoint options area, change from small square to Paddle, and then set the Icon colour that you would like.

Screenshot 2016-05-12 18.29.38

Then press the ‘Create KML file’ button.

Screenshot 2016-05-12 19.16.43.jpg

After pressing the create button, you should see a link to your kml file.  Save the link as whatever you like and then open up the file in Google Earth or My Google Maps.  You should end up with something like this….

Screenshot 2016-05-12 19.20.29

2 thoughts on “Creating a KML file

  1. Hi Chris,

    Once you’ve given it a crack a few times, it is an easy process. You can even make up a KML file of the parks you have activated, or perhaps the parks you haven’t. Its a good way of seeing on Google Earth where you have, and where you haven’t been.

    Ian VK1DI was the guru who showed me some time ago how to do this.



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