Importing generic text files

This feature is available to Google Earth Pro and Google Earth EC customers only.

In addition to importing vector data in SHP, TAB, and other formats, you can define your own point data and import it into Google Earth. However, only point data can be created and imported using generic text files.

Generic text files need named columns whose values are separated either by commas, spaces, or tabs. Do this by creating your data in a spreadsheet application such as Microsoft Excel and then saving the file as either CSV or TXT format. Alternatively, you could use a programmatic method to extract data from a database and produce a final output file in either CSV or TXT format.

If you attempt to import more than 5000 features (i.e., 5000 point data lines) into Google Earth, this process can take a long time.

You can use geographic coordinates (latitude, longitude) to indicate the position of the point data in your text file. For importing generic text files, Google Earth supports coordinates described in

  • Degrees, minutes, seconds (DMS)
  • Decimal degrees (DDD)
  • Degrees, minutes, with decimal seconds (DMM)

Refer to Entering Advanced Coordinates for a detailed description of the latitude/longitude coordinates supported in Google Earth as well as the type of syntax supported.

Optional and Descriptive Fields

You can use any number of fields in your custom data file to label and describe the points and display them the Google Earth application. Optional fields can be defined as the following values:

  • Text or strings - A string field can contain both numbers and alphabetic characters. What actually defines a string with respect to style templates is that the string itself is either enclosed in quotation marks, or contains white space so that it cannot be interpreted as a number.

    This is an important distinction to keep in mind when using style templates applied to fields.
  • Integer
  • Floating point value

With style templates, you can take advantage of these field types to create useful visual effects in the 3D viewer such as graphs or color-coding of data based on the values in the fields.

At minimum, generic text files that you import must contain one or more fields that specify the location of the point on the earth in order for the data to be correctly positioned on the globe. This can be specified either with address fields or with geographic coordinates. However, you cannot use a mix of geographic coordinates and address fields in a single file.