« Extremes of the Earth | Main | Discovery Sunrise on Google Earth »

29 de Enero 2007

Shape2Earth - GIS Data to Google Earth

Shape2Earth screenshot in Google EarthOne of the more basic outputs of GIS applications is a file type called a shapefile. A shapefile is a geospatial vector data format developed and popularized by GIS software maker ESRI, but used by other GIS software makers as well. For example, it's possible to use free GIS applications like MapWindow to produce shapefiles. There's an inexpensive ($29.99) application called Shape2Earth (Windows only) available which will let you convert shapefiles into KML so you can view your GIS data in Google Earth.

For more sophisticated GIS to Google Earth conversions, there are two other tools to consider. Arc2Earth ($99 - $299) is probably the most sophisticated (mentioned at GEB last year) which provides many tools for converting data and visualizations from ESRI's ArcGIS software. Arc2Earth has been updated substantially since it was first released. Also available is an application called KMLer ($20 - $50) which also has support for ArcGIS (see last year's GEB write-up).

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 29 de Enero 2007 a las 09:35 AM

  • Google Earth Blog © 2005, 2006, 2007 Copyright de Frank Taylor. Todos los Derechos Reservados.
  • Todas las imágenes de Google Earth capturadas de pantalla son Copyright de Google

  • Comentarios

    Maptitude and TransCad users should check out the
    free Google Earth conversion add-ins developed by Marcelo Luna:


    Enviado por: Bill at 29 de Enero 2007 a las 10:32 AM

    Thanks for the review, but it would be really much more helpful if you would note what operating system the programs support in the review (i.e. Microsoft XP, Vista, etc; Mac OSX, Linux). As a Mac user I spend a lot of time going to the programs reviewed only to find out they are not available.

    Thanks, Eric

    Enviado por: Eric at 29 de Enero 2007 a las 03:50 PM

    Hi. Thanks Frank for mentioning Shape2Earth. I wanted to just make a couple of comments here. One, I want to thank the developer of Shape2Earth for making this plug-in. Also, its not clear in the quick news piece, but Shape2Earth is a plug-in for MapWindow, which is a free open source GIS that only runs on Windows. However, it does run very well with Parallels on an Inel Mac and it is this environment which I mostly use it. So for basically $30 you get plug-in that otherwise would require spending over a grand for ESRI's ArcGIS plus another $99 at least for Arc2Earth. While Arc2Earth has more features, Shape2Earth is very good and the developer seems very committed to making it even better. So, even if you are a Mac user, this tool has its place if you use Boot Camp or Parallels on an Intel Mac. qGIS is a nice open source GIS on the Mac, but I have yet to see any developers making a similar module as Shape2Earth for KML creation from shapefiles.



    Enviado por: keene at 29 de Enero 2007 a las 08:09 PM

    Thanks Keene, I'll check out qGIS for Mac. I as yet do not have a newer Intel based Mac, and the older Microsoft Virtual PC is painfully slow running any graphic intensive programs. I may have to write my own program to simulate Shape2Earth.

    Thanks - Eric

    Enviado por: Eric at 30 de Enero 2007 a las 07:25 AM

    Hi all,

    I thought I should add to this thread that there is another option for producing KML from arbitrary GIS data -- the FME spatial data translator. There's a free evaluation at http://www.safe.com. While FME does cost more than the other products mentioned here, it can also translate GIS and CAD data from a wide variety of formats into KML, and as well it has a number of enterprise-friendly capabilities such as powerful configurability and can be deployed both in batch as well as on the server. And hey, it works *quite well* under WINE/Crossover office on Intel Macs...


    Dale Lutz
    Safe Software Inc. (Makers of FME)

    Enviado por: Dale at 31 de Enero 2007 a las 01:48 AM

    Hi Frank,

    I enjoy your posts very much and make it part of my daily RSS Reader reviews.

    Many large GIS installations will have licenses for Safe Software's ( http://www.safe.com ) Feature Manipulation Engine (FME). One of its many (over 150) input/output formats is KML. While the license fee is significantly greater than the products you have reviewed, if an organization already has FME licensed for other purposes, they could use it to create KML files.

    There is an article at http://sworldwatch.blogspot.com/2007/01/fme-as-spatial-intelligence-tool-for.html that describes how FME was used to create a KML "report" from the Smallworld GIS.



    Enviado por: Alfred at 31 de Enero 2007 a las 09:20 AM

    for Mac users there is TNTmips from www.microimages.com where you can export any combination of georeferenced data layers displayed in a View into kml.

    Enviado por: C Dreiser at 2 de Febrero 2007 a las 07:45 AM

    Wow, thanks Chris. TNTLite (free) looks like a great place for me to start (the license fees for TNTmips are quite high!). It appears that support for Kml is only available in the newest release (2007). I'll play around with it a little and see what I can do with it.



    Enviado por: Eric Moeller at 7 de Febrero 2007 a las 04:39 PM

    For those readers with access to ESRI's ArcGIS Desktop 9.1 (ArcMap & ArcCatalog), there is a free extension to convert shapefiles to KML files. It's available on the ESRI's ArcScripts website. Here's the link: http://arcscripts.esri.com/details.asp?dbid=14273

    I'm not sure how it stacks up to the paid apps. suggested above, but it has done wonders for me!


    Enviado por: Lance at 10 de Febrero 2007 a las 08:57 AM

    Try XTOOLS, this is a simple add on for ArcGIS, has lots of tools including a KML export tool.

    Just google XTOOLS.

    Enviado por: Nathan at 29 de Marzo 2007 a las 10:08 AM

    Envíe un Comentario:

    NOTA: Use español o Inglés. Los Comentarios son revisados previa publicación.