In this guest post, ERST607 student Aimily Li gives us some detail on how to export data from Google Maps and Google Earth – useful stuff!


Sometimes in our daily life, the GIS data we collect may come from some other programs like Google Maps and Google Earth. These applications are more commonly used by non-GIS users to collect and upload their own data. This post will give you a hint about using the data from Google Maps and Google Earth, and how to import them into ArcGIS for further analysis.

Google Maps to ArcGIS

If I want to collect the location of museums in the Christchurch city centre, for example, we can use Google Maps and get the result directly. The steps below will guide you on how to export the location of museums out and import them into ArcGIS.
Firstly, you need to log in to Google Maps with your account. Click the menu button at the upper left hand corner of the screen.

Then, select “Your Places” in the menu list. In “Your Places”, there are four options –‘LABELED’, ‘SAVED’, ‘VISITED’, and ‘MAPS’. Select “MAPS” and choose “Create Map” at the bottom.










Now a new map comes up and allows you to create your own map. You can change the name of the map at the upper left hand corner. In this project, I’ve called it “Christchurch city centre museums”.
Zoom the map into Christchurch City centre, or you can search “Christchurch City”. We only want to collect the location data of museum within (note: The red frame was drawn by myself using a digital pen. It just indicates this is a scenario that I only want to use the museums within this area.  You don’t need to create a frame on the map.)

Use the search bar, type “museum” and click search – several dots will pop up. Each of the dots represents one museum. You can see a list of them at the left. At the bottom of the list, click “Untitled layer” and rename it to “Museum”

There are two ways to insert places in the “Museum” layer.

You can put your cursor on the name of the museum in the list on the left and click the small “plus” sign to add that museum to the layer.

The other way is to click the green symbol of a museum on the map. A window with more detailed information of the selected museum will pop up. Click “Add to map” to add the place into the museum layer.

After adding all the museum to the layer, you will get a list of museums:

The next step is to export the layer from Google Maps.

From the left side, click the three vertical dots button next to the map name.  Select “Export to KML/KMZ”.

Then, a dialog window pops up. To export the museum locations instead of the whole map, you need to change the layer from “Entire map” to “Museum” layer. Do not forget to tick the second box “Export as KML instead of KMZ”. Then click “Download”. Remember the location where you saved the file.

Now, the points from Google Maps have been collected. The next step is to import them into ArcGIS.

Create a new map in ArcGIS called “Christchurch City Museums”. Click “Tools” from the Analysis tab at the top.

On the right side, search and click the “KML to Layer” tool in the geoprocessing search box.

Click the folder symbol of the “input KML file” box and select the museum file, then leave the defaults as they are. Click “Run” at the bottom right corner. You will get a new layer called “museum” on your map.

Now we have imported the data from Google Maps to ArcGIS successfully. The new layer on the map may be hard to recognise. We can change the symbology of the layer to make it clearer.

In the Contents pane, expand the museum layer. Click the cross button to edit the symbol for the museum.

On the right side, there are many symbol options for you to choose. I chose one style randomly – the point on the map will be changed.

After changing the symbol, the location of the museum is shown on the map clearly. There is also a way to change or hide the black label of each museum next to the point.

Right click “SymbolID” from the Contents on the left and you can click “label” to either enable or hide the label. Or you can choose “Labeling Properties” to change the colour, format, or the size of the label.


The data from Google Maps has now been exported to ArcGIS successfully. If you click the point on the map, you can see the detailed name of the museum.


Google Earth to ArcGIS

Exporting Google Earth to ArcGIS is the similar to exporting from Google Maps. If your client sends you the boundary or a path of a place from Google Earth, you can export it to ArcGIS to do further analysis.

For example, here is a polygon layer of Hagley Park.

At the left “Places” area, right click the name of the file. Choose  “Save Place As…” Keep the file type as “KML”

Remember the place you saved and click “Save”.

In ArcGIS, select the “KML to Layer” tool from geoprocessing toolbox using the KML file from where you saved it as the input. Click “Run”.

Now the Hagley Park polygon has been imported into ArcGIS from Google Earth!

You can use the same way to import paths, points, or layers from Google Earth into ArcGIS. The key is to save the file as KML, and use the KML to Layer tool to import it.