How to Convert an Address List to KML
By John Granby
KML is the native datafile format used by Google Earth. KML is a fairly complex XML format and it is not easy to simply create a KML file from scratch, especially if you are starting with a list of street addresses. It is far more simple to use an automated script to convert these addresses into a KML format which can be imported into Google Earth. From that point, you can add icons or use the map you have created in a presentation or to send to friends and family.
Download and install the KML Geocode utility from the download link provided in the Resources section of this article. Geocoding is the process of converting addresses into latitude and longitude data which is needed by Google Earth. This tool provides this service.
Convert your list of addresses into an Excel spreadsheet if it is not already in that format. The first column should be the description of the data. For instance the first cell is Street Address, then City, then State, then zip code. Then each cell should be populated with your address list. Save the address list in Excel .xls format. It is important to use .xls, which means select the "Save As" option in Excel and ensure you save as file type "Excel 97-2003 Workbook (*.xls)."
Launch the KMLGeogode.exe file and click on the "Select Input File" button. A standard file navigation dialog will appear. At the bottom next to the filename text box is a filter drop down menu. Select "Excel files (*.xls)." Navigate to your address list from Step 2 and click "Open." You will see your data appear in the data window as an example of how the utility is parsing your address list. If there are any errors in the data, go back to Step 2, correct them, and restart Step 3.
Select the drop down menus next to each of the selections in the "Specify Data Fields" to tell the utility which column the associated data is in. For instance, if your first column is a number or some other information, in the Street Address drop down menu you will click the column name that contains the street address data in your file. Do the same for each of the fields. If no data exists for a field, leave the default "None" selected.
Click the "Set Output File Name" button and select a location and name for the kml file to be saved.
Click the "Process" button at the bottom after you have selected your output file name and location. The utility will present you with a window telling you how many addresses it completed successfully. Click "OK" and the utility will exit.
Launch Google Earth, click on "File" in the top menu and select "Open." Navigate to your kml file you created in Step 6 and click "Open." You will see the address appear as push-pins on Google Earth.
John Granby began his writing career in 2000 as a founding member of a tech industry website targeted at WAP developers. He has provided in-depth coverage of the wireless industry, served as a speaker at several conferences and authored a book on Bluetooth. Granby earned a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering from Purdue University.