GoogleEarth related tools

On this page there are some usefult tools when working with GoogleEarth.

  • GoogleEarth is maybe currently the most known and widely used virtual globe. One of the questions when working with virtual globes (in this case GoogleEarth) is how to utilise it to display GIS data from other projects, for example in shp-format.


To address this question there are a number of possibilities:

Shape2Earth for MapWindow GIS
Use Free and Open Source GIS to convert shapefiles to KML

Shape2Earth Engine
A standalone application for quickly and easily making thematic maps in Google Earth using GIS data.

Shape2Earth Globe
Capture and share Google Earth imagery in other applications
(subject to Google’s terms of use)

An open source plugin for MapWindow GIS that converts KML and KMZ files into shapefiles.

A nice freeware tool what does exactly what it is supposed to do: convert shp-files to kml files. While there is the possibility for some settings it appears as the tool is unfortunately not developed further…

  • Some libraries that can help to convert from/in a different file format:

GDAL – tools ships with a command line tool (ogr2ogr) that will convert amongst large variety of GIS formats. Probably the easiest way to install GDAL on Microsoft Windows is using FWTools (  Once installed, you can run this from the command line:  ogr2ogr -f KML input.shp output.kml

Some more information (such as basic commands and advise how to use it) for OGR2OGR with fwtools can be found on:


Google Maps Engine (lite)

Google wants to turn more of its Maps users into map makers. End of March the company launched a new, free custom map editor, Google Maps Engine Lite beta. Google says it is an easy-to-use tool.

Some backgrounds:

Google Mapmaker

Goolges street maps are fairly good for navigation but of course not always free from errors or maybe not uptudate with the latested developments. Similar to OpenStreetMap you can edit and hence improve GoogleMaps. The tool required is the Goolge Mapmaker.

GoogleMaps – Earth and Enterprise

(commercial product)

Google Maps Engine makes it easy for you to create beautiful maps, share them with others, and reach your audience no matter where they are. It’s built on the same platform that provides Google services to millions of people worldwide, so your users have a consistent and familiar experience wherever they are.”