To understand what a KML is, you first need to understand what XML is. XML is a language that is readable by machines or humans and explains a set of rules for a document. A KML does exactly this, but for mapping programs.
For example, uploading a KML into Google Earth will let the program know what needs to be marked up on the map. These markups include place markers, pictures layered on the map, polygons, text or 3D images. Take a look at the KML documentation.
Example ways to view a KML
Free ToolGoogle My Maps: Users can import KML files and create their own maps. As well as importing the file users can add points of interest, lines and draw other polygons on the map.
Google Earth: satellite imagery program that allows users to view GIS data on a 3D earth. Users can import KMLs and also see 3D model imagery and view street-level data.
ArcGIS: Esri’s GIS system used for creating maps and analysing geographic data.
MapInfo: Pitney Bowes’ GIS system used for maps and location analysis.
Converting your KML
It’s possible to view a KML file in various formats including (but not limited to):
- ESRI shapefile (SHP)
- GPS exchange format (GPX)
- Comma-separated values (CSV)
Do you need travel time polygons?
We can create a travel time polygon such as ‘All locations reachable within 30 minutes drive from my location, departing at 9am’. This data is exported as a KML and can be imported into any GIS or mapping program.