Declan Butler, reporter This is the personal blog of Declan Butler, a senior reporter at Nature. All views expressed here are mine, and not those of Nature. Contact me at

March 26, 2006

A guide to using Arc2 Earth to get data into Google Earth

Filed under: GIS,Google Earth — admin @ 11:18 am

I’d been thinking of documenting the process of using Arc2Earth to quickly export existing GIS data to Google Earth format, as used in the avian flu maps. But Brian Flood, who built Arc2Earth, has now posted a walk-through guide that does the job. See Getting Data into Google Earth using Arc2Earth

“A quick scan of Plant Geospatial led me to CCAer’s post on the EPA’s Toxic Maps program. Perfect. Interesting and relevant data that was already in workable GIS form.

So I fired up ArcMap and loaded the downloaded data from the ToxMap site. The main shapefiles contain the location point data but not the in depth attribute information about the Superfund sites themselves. Thankfully, the ToxMap site also contains downloadable text files containing this additional information. From there, I simply connected the data using ArcMap’s Join functionality. Done. I now had all the Superfund sites with their relevant status and attribute information.”

As Brian points out, there is much existing data available on the web in GIS format. We can expect to see much more of these, including scientific data, being distributed in GE formats in future.

…. “So there you have it, a compelling display of data in Google Earth without any programming. It took more time to write up this post then to actually create the KMZ file!”

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