Here’s a short post recapping my series on free (or cheap) ways to export shapefiles to Google Earth’s KML format:
Exporting Shapefiles To Google Earth I – Quick And Simple
Using GPS TrackMaker to quickly export point and line shapefiles into KML format. Not a lot of flexibility, though, and limited attribute export.
Export Shapefiles To Google Earth II – Shp2KML Converter
Shp2KML exports point, line and polygon shapefiles, with more attribute data than GPS TrackMaker. No ability to modify KML plots based on attribute data, limiting usefulness, especially for polygons.
Exporting Shapefiles To Google Earth III – shp2kml
shp2kml uses a wizard approach to export shapefile data to KML format. Allows you to export multiple attributes, and to vary plot color depending on attribute value. Has some problems with large shapefiles.
Exporting Shapefiles To Google Earth IV – Shape2Earth
The only paid solution here ($29.99), but by far the most flexible and powerful.
A Free And Easy Shapefile Coordinate Converter
Since the first two solutions above require the shapefile to be in Google Earth’s native coordinate system (geographic coordinates, WGS84 datum), here’s a great program to convert shapefiles in virtually any coordinate system to the right one for Google Earth.
ArcGIS 9.2 with 3D analyst can export directly to KML.
In the toolbox go to
3D Analyst Tools > Conversion > To KML -> Layer to KML
To go from KML to Shapefile use the GPS Utility
ESRI is limited in exporting attributes from what i’ve found.
I 3D model in a program called Google SketchUp, which uses information imported from Google Earth to model buildings. I would like to be able to capture the view from GE set points for the footprint of a building from that view, or add those points from field locations,(which is something else I would like to ask about, like how to simply do that.)and be able to create shapefiles from that information. Modeling from shapefiles is very accurate, and it updates current GIS information which is a benefit to our city.
Could you give me steps on how this could be accomplished? I see bits and pieces of this being answered through your posted articles, but I would like more directed way to accomplishing this.
Sure would appreciate your input.
Google Earth positions can be off by anywhere from 10-30 meters in the US from the true positions; you’d be better off using aerial imagery from the USGS Seamless Server, with 1-meter resolution and spot-on accuracy. You can load these images into a GIS program, then trace the buildings – there are posts on my sites about a number of GIS programs that can do this (try MapWindow to start).
Accurate field positions (within a meter) require expensive GPS receivers – consumer models won’t cut it.