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KML Text Labels For Google Earth

While labeling items in Google Earth, you’re able to modify the font color, size and opacity. But one curious omission is the inability to change the font; you’re stuck with the Google Earth standard:

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The font also stays the same size regardless of how far away you are from the labeled area, which can be useful sometimes. But if you have a lot of labels, this can result in lots of labels overlapping, and cluttering up the image. Label text is also all on one line, which can lead to long labels if you want to include lots of text.

Sergey Devyatkov has created a new tool called Placemarker that generates a KML link to a text label that is converted to graphic format, and used as an image overlay. With this tool, you can specify:

  • Font family (Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana), type (bold, italic), size, color
  • Shadows and outlines, with specifiable shadow color
  • Alignment within a text box (left, right, center)
  • Choice of icon (or no icon at all)
  • Height of the label/icon above the surface

You can view the results immediately in a Google Maps interface:

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Click on Refresh whenever you make a change; Move to center moves the label to the center of the view. The KML code is shown at the bottom of the page, and you can always copy/paste that into a text editor. But clicking on Create KML gives you the option of immediately downloading a KML file to your system (“sample.kml”), or opening it directly in Google Earth:

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As you zoom further away, the text becomes smaller in size in the Google Earth view. There’s an LOD (level of detail setting) in the KML file so that the text disappears completely at a certain zoom level; there doesn’t appear to be a setting for that, but you can always modify that in the KML code if you need to. A neat little option for creating labels for Google Earth, and other programs that support image overlays. Hopefully they’ll add support for the Google Earth plugin on the label design page in the near future.

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2 Responses to “KML Text Labels For Google Earth”

  1. 1 Madhu

    Wondering if you knew what happened to this Labels application. I thought it would be very useful but can’t find it anywhere..

  2. 2 Leszek Pawlowicz

    The application has been renamed to Placemarker, and the web address changed. I’ve updated the post to link to the new name and site. Thanks for letting me know.

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