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MapInfo Products Knowledge Base


Product: MapInfo Professional
Version: 10.x, 9.x, 8.x, 8.x
Platform: Not Platform Related
Category: Import-Export

Summary:
MapInfo Professional and exporting .kml files for use in Google Earth

Question:
Can MapInfo Professional export to the .kml Google Earth format?

Answer:
From the MI Pro 10.5 On-Line Help:

Link Utility for Google Earth™
Tool Description

The MapInfo Professional Link Utility for Google Earth gives you a way to export and display MapInfo Professional raster and vector map data on top of detailed Google Earth-hosted aerial photos from all over the world. You can export these maps as raster images (in .jpg format) or in Google data format (known as .KML).

What are Raster and Vector Maps?

Raster maps are made up of columns and rows of pixels that can give you a high resolution picture of a particular geography. This is an example of a raster map.

Figure: Raster Map of a Section of the Hawaiian Islands


Raster maps can make visualizing your data more concrete because you can see it in relation to recognizable landmarks.

Vector maps are made of lines, text, and shapes that represent objects or groups of objects such as regions, landmarks, and streets. These types of maps can give you a sense of spatial relationship by allowing you to control which data displays and how it displays. With vector maps you can move the objects, shade them and place other data within the objects to provide more insight into the information you are depicting. The next figure is a vector map that shows an outline of the same area.

Figure: Simple Vector Map


When we add the ocean, cities, and labels, the same map starts to provide perspective.

Figure: More Complex Vector Map


You can export both types of maps from MapInfo Professional using the Link Utility to the Google Earth application.

Accessing the Link Utility for Google Earth

To access the Link Utility for Google Earth:

  • Do one of the following:
Add the tool using the Tool Manager by choosing Tools > Tool Manager and selecting the Google Earth Connection Utility check boxes, or
When you have a map open, select Map > Google Earth Link and then the submenu option
Exporting a Map to Google Earth

Thematic maps and style overrides must be sent to the Google Earth application as a raster image.

To display a view of your point, line, or region thematic map on a Google Earth map:
1. Create the thematic map you want to display using the Link Utility. Refer to the MapInfo Professional User Guide for assistance.
2. Display the view you want to export in the Map window. The limits of your map view will represent the limits of your exported map.

Figure: Thematic Map before Export



3. Select the Map > Google Earth™ Link > Export to Google Earth™ or click the button on the Tools toolbar. The Export to Google Earth™ dialog box displays.

Since you did not select a particular object in this image to export, the utility assumes you want to export the whole image as a raster map.





4. Complete the entries in this dialog box. Click OK. If you did not select the Send to Google Earth Now option, the Google Earth map displays with the thematic map view you exported on it.

Figure: Thematic Map Exported to Google Earth with Legend


You can also export WMS and WFS images using this utility.

Enhancing the Display of your Exported Map

In the Places list, the MapInfo Saved View entry represents the exported thematic map.


When you export a MapInfo Professional map to the Google Earth environment, it displays under the Temporary Places section of the Places list. As you add new views, Google Earth stacks them in this list, placing the most recent map at the top of the list.

You can use the check box beside the MapInfo Saved View and Thematic Legend entries to display or hide the exported map or legend beside it. For example, if you add a new map, you may want to hide the previous map to see if it displays better.

The horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of the list allows you to set the transparency of the thematic image. To change the transparency of the map and not the legend, highlight the MapInfo Saved View entry and use the scroll bar to get the desired effect.

Figure: Thematic Map Exported to Google Earth with Transparency Change


Exporting your Map Selection to Google Earth

When you want to export a map selection, you can export it as a vector map into .KML format. If you try to export a selected map object as a raster, the utility ignores the selection and exports the whole view instead.

Figure: Population Map


The labels and borders in this map are supplied by Google Earth. The legend was created in MapInfo Professional.

You can export your map selection as a vector map using the Google Maps .KML format. When you use this format, you preserve all of the data associated with those objects and can access that metadata in Google Maps. KML is an object description language similar to GML or XML. To export the currently selected objects as .KML to Google Earth:
1. Display the map in MapInfo Professional.
2. Select the map object you want to export and do one of the following:

  • Select the Map > Google Earth™ Link > Export to Google Earth™
  • Click the button on the Tools toolbar.

Using either method, the Export to Google Earth™ dialog box displays.

This dialog displays when a Map window is the active window and you have selected an object in it. If you do not select any objects in the Map window, MapInfo Professional assumes that you want to send the map as registered raster image.
3. To export the selected objects, click Export selected objects (.KML) Click OK. The Export Map Objects to Google Earth™ dialog box displays.



4. Click the OK button to export the map with all of your selections in the Google Earth application.
5. In the Google Earth application, you can display the data associated with a particular area of the superimposed map. Click the Place Name and then double-click the region on the map. A data box displays.

Figure: Map with Data Box


Choosing Columns to Display in Google Earth

When you export map objects as a .KML object to Google Earth, you can choose the data columns to be exported using the Choose Columns button. This might shorten the amount of time it takes to display the map when not all of the data in a map needs to be exported.

To select objects you want to export:
1. Open the data and select an object you want to export using MapInfo Professional.
2. Click Google Earth to display the Export to Google Earth dialog box.

This feature only applies to the .KML option because it is a vector image that can retain the data associated with it when you export it. This feature is not available if you select the raster image option.
3. Click Export selected objects (KML) and click OK to display the Export Map Objects to Google Earth dialog box. The Choose Columns button displays at the bottom.
4. To choose columns to send to Google Earth from the selected vector data, click Choose Columns. The Choose Columns dialog box displays.

The tool "remembers" the selections you make for this table in this dialog box from export to export as long as the Link Utility is loaded or MapInfo Professional is open. If you unload the tool, change tables, or close MapInfo Professional, the column selection reverts to All Columns.

If you make no selections in this dialog box, no data is sent to Google Earth.
5. Highlight the columns you want to send to Google Earth and use the Right Arrow button to move them to the Selected Columns list. Click OK when you have selected all of the columns you want to export.

To remove a column from the Selected Columns list, highlight it and use the Left Arrow button.

Use the Shift key to select multiple contiguous columns and the Ctrl key to select multiple non-contiguous columns.
6. Click OK in the Export Map Objects to Google Earth dialog box to begin the export process. MapInfo Professional only exports the columns you selected
Adding a Custom Copyright Message to Exported Raster Maps

When you export data from MapInfo Professional to Google Earth, you should credit the data company that provided the information. We have added functionality that allows you to do this from within the Link Utility for raster maps.

You must download the Google Earth application and load the Link Utility for Google Earth tool in the Tool Manager before you can export your maps to the Google Earth process.

Adding a Custom Copyright Message

To add a custom copyright message to a raster map in the Google Earth window:
1. Open the data you want to export using MapInfo Professional.
2. Click Google Earth to display the Export to Google Earth dialog box.
3. Click Export Map window as raster image (.JPG) and click OK to display the Export Map Image to Google Earth dialog box. The Specify a file containing the copyright text field displays at the bottom.

The Send to Google Earth Now check box allows you to save the raster file locally rather than displaying it in Google Earth.
4. Select the check box beside the Specify a file containing the copyright text field and use the button to find the file that contains the copyright text.

You may need to create this text file yourself.
5. Select the Send to Google Earth now check box and click OK to display the copyright data you selected on the Google Earth map you prepared.

Figure: Google Earth Map Containing Your Copyright Information


Important Google Earth™ Licensing Information

Google, Inc. provides three product levels to Google Earth, which you should investigate before using the Link Utility. For the most timely and complete Google Earth licensing options, please consult Google's web site and license agreement.

Please choose the Google Earth product that meets your organization's needs. Pitney Bowes Software Inc. does not authorize or license any of these products for your use.

Third-Party Data Licensing

When you use licensed data within MapInfo Professional to create files for export to Google Earth, make sure you have the appropriate rights from Pitney Bowes Software Inc. or the data provider to share those exported files with third parties.

Depending on the data you use, you may be responsible for displaying a copyright on any maps that result from exporting maps from Pitney Bowes Software Inc. software. Additionally, you may be required to purchase additional data licenses.

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