Collecting Data with Google Earth

3 min read

At times you might find yourself in a position whereby you just need to create quick maps ( usually small scale) for an audience. In this case we will take for example creating a country map which shows the different provinces within that country but with a little added data or even creating maps to shows the different locations of cities in a country.

Small scale maps – refers to world maps or maps of large regions such as continents or large nations. In other words, they show large areas of land on a small space. They are called small scale because the representative fraction is relatively small.

Today we are going to focus on the quick collection of data using Google Earth. In order to successfully carry out this tutorial, you need to have Google Earth. You can either download it on their site or use it online from their site, but I’d recommend having it on your desktop.

So starting off, we need to launch our Google Earth (I will be using Desktop version for this tutorial) and always make sure you have a good internet connection. It is recommended to always read the start-up tips especially if you are new to the software

. Google Earth will display the window as show by the image above.

Now we need to collect Point data for our points of interests. In this case we are going to collect the locations of cities in Zimbabwe.

  1. Create a folder where we are going to store all the data that we collect for the cities. The folder will ensure that the data is kept in one place without having to be mixed up with other data.
    On the top navigation bar:
    Add -> Folder, then name your folder for easy recognition.
  2. Zoom in on the map until you see the desired location that you wish to collect data on.
    In our case we zoomed in on Zimbabwe until we could see the city names on the map.
  3. Navigate to your new folder located in the Places content bar and:
    Right click -> Add -> Placemark
  4. A Placemark in Yellow will appear over your map. Navigate and place the marker over the location that you intend to collect coordinate data on before filling in the details and naming the marker.
  5. After placing the marker at your location of interest, you can Name the marker and click OkThe longitude and latitude values are automatically assigned to your points of interest. You can also choose to describe and add a few images to the points depending on your intended use.
  6. Repeat these steps until you have collected all the required data for your project exercise.You can also create & collect other data types such as Polygons & Paths using the same steps but only this time under the contents bar on your folder:
    Right click -> Add -> Polygon/Path

Exporting The Data

Now we are past data collection and gathering and now need us to put the data to some good use. Data collected can be stored either as KeyHole Markup Language (.kml) or as KeyHole Markup Language Zipped (.kmz). In order to do this:

Navigate to the folder which contains the data, Right Click -> Save Place As -> Select between .kml or .kmz file type and name the package. The data will be stored in a location of your choosing and is ready to create maps for the audience.

For questions & discussions please refer to the community.

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