Customer Tip! Export MapInfo Professional Maps to Google Earth
By Kevin Ryan
Editor's note: This tip was the judges winner in the contest announced in the previous issue. Thanks to Kevin for an excellent article.
The following is a demonstration of how MapInfo Professional can create and send output seamlessly to Google Earth. My particular area of work is in a local authority water services department, and I will show how MapInfo helps me empower colleagues with the knowledge of a water distribution network.
1. Accessing Google Earth utility
The Google Earth connection utility can be found in the tool manager if it is not already enabled.
2. Using Google Earth utility
MapInfo Pro can export data in two different ways. Firstly it can export a raster image of the current view within MapInfo, secondly if you select any number of items from a MapInfo table, MapInfo will only export those selected items without any background mapping etc, similar to a vector mapping file.
2.1 To export the current map window view simply zoom into the area of interest and press the export map to Google Earth utility.
MapInfo will create a .kml file which is the file type Google Earth and indeed Google Maps uses. The following window appears in which you can choose where to save the file and where you can input a file name.
By selecting the 'send to Google Earth now' checkbox, MapInfo will seamlessly open Google Earth upon which Google Earth will automatically zoom into the area where your file is geographically located.
As you can see from the following screen shots the MapInfo image is inserted into Google Earth in its exact geographical location. Anyone with Google Earth downloaded on their pc can now navigate through the image using all the Google Earth functionality we are all used to.
2.2 To export selected objects only simply select any number of objects from the MapInfo map window and again press the Google Earth utility. MapInfo will now ask if you want to export a raster image or export the selected objects. Highlight 'export selected objects' and press ok.
MapInfo now opens the following window which is similar to the previous example but has more functionality.
Here once again you can enter where the file is to be saved, a file name and description.
Unlike the raster image, exporting map objects in MapInfo lets you make use of the browser information to set height of the objects and lets you choose which columns from the browser are to be exported.
After completing this window MapInfo will open Google Earth in the same way as the previous example. However only the selected objects will be shown, but importantly the objects can be selected in Google Earth and the browser information chosen in the previous step will be shown for each object.
This is a very powerful option as you can now make full use of the Google Earth functionality including viewing the exported objects in Street View.
I find this tool especially useful when I want to share detailed GIS information with a colleague who is not a MapInfo user. As a result I have found this MapInfo Pro tool has made GIS information very user-friendly and can enrich peoples work. I find that colleagues are now requesting GIS data from me instead of me requesting it from them. I have used my own work discipline as an example of how this tool is used, but in my opinion this MapInfo tool could be used in many and varied situations.