Importing A KML File Into Google Maps

This article is a “Part Two” of the story Manually Recording A Set Of Waypoints With Maps n Tracks.  In this article, we’ll be discussing how to get your KML file into Google Maps, and from there, sharing the file. Also, this article assumes you have been able to record your map in Maps n Trax, and exported the map to a location on your computer as a KML file.

To get the KML file into Google Maps, follow these steps…

figure one app box

Figure 01: App Box

Step 01: Log into your Google account. Once there, you can click on the Apps box and locate the Maps app within it. If you need to, click More to locate the Maps app. By-the-way, the Apps icon is a box shape made up of 9 boxes (see Figure 01).

Step 02: Click on “My custom maps”. The option will be located in the upper-left-hand region of your map screen (see Figure 02).

figure two my custom maps

Figure 02: My Custom Maps

Step 03: Click on the “Create” icon (see Figure 03, the green box highlights what to click). A new tab will open in Chrome.

figure 3 create

Figure 03: Create

Step 04: Click on the “Import” icon (see Figure 04, the green box highlights what to click). The “Import” icon appears in the top left area of the map screen.

figure 4 import

Figure 04: Import

Step 05: The import dialog will have now appeared. I generally like to use the “Select a file from your computer” button which is highlighted as a blue rectangle (see Figure 05). You can also drag your KML file from your file folder if you prefer. When you click on the button, a standard file navigation folder will appears. You will need to navigate to the location where you dropped your KML file in order to retrieve it.

figure 5 choose a file to import

Figure 05: Choose A File To Import

Step 06: You will now have your waypoints imported into Google Maps (see Figure 06). From here, you can change the Map Title from “Untitled Map” (top left hand area of screen) to a more meaningful name, which I won’t be showing you how to do directly. I’ll concentrate on a couple of other nifty things you can do.

figure 6 imported list of waypoints

Figure 06: Imported List Of Waypoints

Step 07: Sharing is quite straight-forward. To share the map, click the top-right-hand button called “Share” (it is a green rectangle). When you have clicked “Share”, a dialog appears showing the owner of the map (which is you). See Figure 07. There are also options to change who has access, invited people, and permission setting. By default, a map is set to locked (“Private – Only you can access”), which means no-one but yourself has access. You can change these settings if you wish, although I’ll only be going into explaining the “Who has access” options.

figure 7 sharing

Figure 07: Sharing

Step 08: In the “Who Has Access” section of the dialog are two items (see Figure 07 again if you need to refresh your memory). The first item you can change if you wish. It is set by default to “Private – only you can access”, and highlighted with a “lock” icon to its left. To change the privacy settings of the map, you can click the “Change…” link which appears as blue text to the immediate right of “Private – only you can access” statement. Click the “Change…” link.  A new dialog will display which will allow you to set visibility options (see Figure 08). The options available are to share publicly, to anyone with the link, or to specific people (the default). For my needs, I’ll be leaving it as the default.  If you make a change, be sure to click the green “Save” button to save your changes.  Clicking Cancel will simply return you to the previous screen without saving your changes.

figure 8 visibility options

Figure 08: Visibility Options

Step 09: If you don’t wish to share the map with anyone, click Done, your sharing is complete (Done appears at the bottom of the dialog – see Figure 07 if you need to refresh your memory).  If you do wish to invite people to share your map, enter people you wish to invite to the map in the “Invite people” box. It is near the bottom of the dialog. You will need to enter their email address (eg., If your friend does not have access to Google, they will need to create a Google account with their email address in order to access the map (this step is out of the purview of this document).  It is important to also stipulate whether the person or people you are sharing with are able to edit the map or to view the map.  This is done by changing the “Can edit” option to “Can view”.  The “Can view” option restricts the invitees to being able to read the map only.  The “Can view” option provides the ability to the invitees to change the map.

By default, the “Notify people via email” option is ticked, which will automatically send an email to the invited parties.  You will need to click Send in order to complete the sharing process.  If you don’t wish to send an email to the invitees, you can deselect the option to send a message, and the Send option will change to an “OK” option. However, Google will force an email to be sent if it cannot locate at least one of the recipients in the list you have added in its account database.

figure 9 invite people

Figure 09: Invite People

Once you have clicked Send or OK, you are done.