Creating KMLs

IGIS Tech Notes describe workflows and techniques or using geospatial science and technologies in research and extension. They are works in progress, and we welcome feedback and comments below.

Google My Maps

My Maps is part of Google Maps and can be used for creating KMLs that can be exported and shared. Below are two ways to access My Maps (you'll need a Google account compatible with Google to login).

Accessing My Maps and Creating a New Map
  • Directly: My Maps. (You can also use a Google Search of 'My Maps' to find this link)
  • Either open an existing map or create a new map by clicking '+Create a New Map'


  • Via Google Maps
  • Head to Google Maps and sign-in
  • Use the 3-line menu on the left to access additional options and click 'Your Places'. Your Places menu will now be visible


  • Click the 'Maps' tab on top. From here you can access your existing maps (see below for instructions on exporting these as a KML) or create a new map my clicking 'Create Maps' at the bottom

Create a Polygon

Once you have an existing or new map open in My Maps (optionally, name the map), click on 'Add Layer' which will create a new Untitled Layer (optionally, rename the layer).


Note: Before moving on, make sure the layer is selected by clicking somewhere on the layer. The selection is indicated by the blue line on the left of it.


On the map, navigate to the area where the polygon is to be created. Notice you can change the base map from the option found at the bottom of the layers pane - it is usually much easier to decide where to draw a polygon using satellite imagery.


Drawing the Polygon

Start by clicking the 'Draw Line' button and choose the 'Add Line of Shape' option:

 (Found below the search bar)


On the map, click on the location of the first vertex of the polygon. Create additional vertices by sequentially clicking on the map to create boundary around the area of interest (AOI). Finish by clicking the first vertex - a popup will appear (optionally rename the polygon).



Click 'Save' on the popup. This polygon will be visible in the layers pane on the left. Create additional polygons the same way (this can be done within the same layer).


Exporting the KML/KMZ

To export KMLs from My Maps, click the 3 dot menu at the top of the layers pane and click the 'Export to KML/KMZ' option. From the Export Menu, select the layer to be exported then click 'Download'.

Note: This will export as a KMZ file, which is a zipped version of KMLs. KMZs are suitable for sharing, but if desired, force a KML by selected the 'Export to KML file' option.