GIS For Biologists: Tip #11 – How To Transfer Data Layers Between Google Earth And A GIS Project

29 May

Google Earth is an incredibly powerful mapping tool, and one that contains a huge amount of spatial information. However, it can be sometimes be difficult to work out how to extract this information so that you can use it in your GIS projects. Luckily, the Google Earth interface provides you with a number of tools which can be used to extract information from the images it contains. This includes tools for creating point, line and polygon data layers, and these can be used to capture almost any type of feature which is visible within any Google Earth image.

Once data layers have been created in Google Earth, you then need to know how to transfer them into your GIS projects, and this is the subject of the video below. It shows how to take a data layer created in Google Earth and add it to a GIS project using QGIS, the leading open source, and so freely available, GIS software package.

In addition, this video shows how to take a data layer created in a GIS project and turn it into a .KML (Keyhole Markup Language) layer which can be plotted in Google Earth. This can help both with survey planning, and with sharing your data with non-GIS specialists. This is because Google Earth provides a very user-friendly mapping interface, and it’s one that many people are already familiar with.

While not covered in this video, if you are using a GIS software package that does not contain native tools for transforming data layers to and from the .KML format used by Google Earth, then you can consider using a stand-alone third-party software package, such as DNR GPS, which, like QGIS, is free to use.

If you have any questions or queries about this video, feel free to comment on this post and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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Dr Colin D. MacLeod,
Founder, GIS In Ecology
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One Response to “GIS For Biologists: Tip #11 – How To Transfer Data Layers Between Google Earth And A GIS Project”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. GIS For Biologists: Tip #12 – How To Make A New Data Layer Using The Google Earth Interface | GIS In Ecology - 05/06/2015

    […] mentioned in Tip #11, Google Earth is a very useful resource for biological GIS users. In particular, it provides […]

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