John's KMZ files

I've been doing web page design (using both HTML editing and WYSIWYG design software) since the late 1990's. My background is in cartography, and in the final year of a Cartography degree at RMIT University (in 1997) I was taught web design. I've had web pages online since then, mostly for my railway/astronomy/4WD'ing hobbies.

My first 'play around' with KML and Google Earth aerial imagery was back in 2008-2009. I had a go at tracing maps off Google Earth to create KML files for the following topics:
However, there are both better maps and aerial imagery on the web than Google Earth/Maps and so at the time I saw no reason to take a closer look at this.

In mid-late 2013, I was given the task at work of putting information from a spreadsheet into GIS (Geographic Information System) software and then in to Google Earth (as KML/KMZ files) for an in-house setup. After finding that this was fairly straightforward, and the results looked good, I thought to myself "what else could this be used for?", and several possibilities came up. I found that I could repeat the process at home using freeware/open source software, and then things really looked interesting. This was especially as tables and photos (I have many photos on Photobucket from past activities) can be added as well.

At work, I use commercial CAD and GIS software - at that time, I couldn't afford this at home.

At home, things had changed a lot since 2008. I was making regular use of GIS at work (for asset data capture) so building up my experience with that. At the same time, in 2012-2013, Vicmap digital spatial data was now available for free. This can be selected and emailed to you via setting up a free account at the Vicmap Data products or Data.Vic.Gov.Au websites. Data is available in both CAD and GIS formats.
At home, I use freeware CAD software (DraftSight) and open-source GIS software (Quantum GIS). The freeware HTML editing software is 1st Page, which I've used for several years, and more recently Website Builder 4.

For activities done in the past:
Where Vicmap digital spatial data is used, I start off by ordering the this data for the area of interest, usually Vicmap Property or Transport (sometimes also Hydrography or Elevation) for the locality or localities as needed (in DWG format, and on MGA94 coordinates). When this arrives, I attached it as a reference file in DraftSight, and then trace off the feature/s of interest. These 'tracings' are then exported as a DXF file.
In Quantum GIS, the DXF file is attached and then exported as a KML file.
The KML file is opened in Google Earth to check that the location is correct, and the line styles/colours etc. are edited as needed. As well, a 'pushpin' or similar feature is added. A description added for features in Google Earth can help locate these features back in the KML code.
In the HTML editing software, a table is added to the KML file (this can be done using standard HTML coding; I've created 'templates' for these tables to speed things up). Relevant information for the table is then added along with a link to a photo.
This KML file is reopened in Google Earth again to check that it is OK, and then saved as a KMZ file.

If you want custom icons (rather than the limited range available with Google Earth), you can get them from such sites as Map Icons Collection or Fugue Icons.

An alternate option (for point features at least) is getting coordinates from maps/imagery from online interactive maps such as Vicmap Interactive Map or Forest Explorer, or NSW Spatial Information Exchange. Coordinates can be converted from MGA to decimal degrees via the Map Grids conversion software if required.

For activities in the future:
In the future, GPS combined with GIS looks as though it will be the way to go.
I have a Magellan eXplorist GPS on loan from a friend (along with the older Magellan Triton still on loan). Here, tracks / waypoints are downloaded to my computer and converted from GPX to KML format, either via the Quantum GIS software or a website such as KML to GPX. The KML file is opened in Google Earth and then edited as above.
I have now bought myself (Spring 2014 - having saved up enough and seeing the future potential) a licence of the MapInfo Professional GIS software for my home PC, and this is a benefit as it can export spatial data in KML format.
I now have a large amount of Vicmap and Geoscience Australia data in GIS format. This will allow me to use such data as a 'base' and to check GPS tracks & waypoints against.

Alternatively, a marker can be placed in Google Earth in the approximate location and then saved as a KML file. Exact coordinates from the GPS (in the GPX file) can then be copied and pasted into the KML file.

While I have a GPS in my (compact) digital camera, the accuracy of this is not likely to be as good as a handheld GPS.

A friend who works in electronics referred me to an article in the November 2013 Silicon Chip magazine about a GPS Tracker which can record trips and points and write these as KML/GPX files to an SD card. The tracker could be used in a similar way to a handheld GPS.
By mid-2015, I had paid this friend to build one of these GPS Trackers for me and started using it.

Information sources are as follows:
I realise of course that there is both better-quality imagery available than Google Earth (eg. NearMaps) as well as better-quality mapping online than Google Maps (see my Spatial Sciences and 4WD Links pages for examples, such as Vicmap Interactive Map or NSW SiX). However, it is likely that more people - especially outside of the spatial information area - are more familiar with Google Earth/Maps than some of the other sites.

The options for viewing the KMZ files below are:

It is also worth noting that if you have a smartphone (especially one with a larger screen), as well as a web browser and GoogleEarth installed, you may be able to open these files on that.

KMZ files produced so far:
At work, I'm pretty much "staring at a computer all day, every day", so home computer use is limited. Therefore, adding new KMZ files will be done in 'dribs and drabs' as time permits.

Note also that these KMZ files are located only on this page and not within Google Earth or Google Maps itself. I haven't worked out how to put the KMZ files on Google Earth's own 'Primary Database' yet, such that they will appear independent of this web page. If you can provide advice on this, please contact me - details below.


Information in tables: Mostly from church database on Presbyterian Church of Victoria/Presbyterian Church of Australia websites.
Spatial data source: Vicmap digital data.


Information in table: From Victorian Heritage Database website.
Spatial data source: Vicmap digital data.

Information in table: From Australian Railway Routes 1854-2000 (ARHS), VR 1927 Grades Book and VR 1957 Directory of Stations.
Spatial data source: Vicmap digital data.

For those who are interested, the VicSig and Railtrails have Google maps on them, however I'm doing things a little differently. The Hairylegs KMZ file is Australia-wide and quite detailed but may not have the information on my Warburton line sample.

Heritage and Historical

Information in table: From Dromana & District Historical Society website.
Spatial data source: Vicmap digital data.

Information in table: From National Trust website and Victorian Heritage Database website.
Spatial data source: Vicmap digital data.

Parks, Reserves and Forests

Information in table: From Parks Victoria website.
Spatial data source: Vicmap digital data.

Information in table: Mostly from Parks Victoria website.
Spatial data source: Magellan Triton 300 series GPS and GPS in Canon Powershot SX260 HS camera.


Information in table (Cheviot Tunnel): information board at tunnel.
Spatial data source: Vicmap digital data.


Information in table: Mornington Peninsula Astronomical Society website.
Spatial data source: Magellan Triton 300 series GPS.

Information in tables: websites for Alpine Shire Visitor Info, Victorian Heritage Database, Bright & District Historical Society and Wandiligong Maze.
Spatial data source: Vicmap digital data.

Information in tables: Golden Chain Motel directory, valid to 1 April 2014.
Spatial data source: Vicmap Interactive Map.

Spatial data source: Vicmap Interactive Map.

Information in table: Victorian Heritage Database and Engineers Australia - Heritage Register
Spatial data source: Vicmap Interactive Map.


Spatial data source: Magellan Triton 300 series GPS.

Real-estate is another possibility although given its nature, such KMZ files would have a temporary use.

The future
What I have so far can serve as a 'portfolio' of my ability with such maps. See also my personal webpage under 'Portfolio' for my GPS and GIS skills.

Road-trip holidays as well as 4WD'ing have also been useful for 'unofficial' field-checking of maps, this being for the Melway Street Directory (since around 1996), and also of Spatial Vision's Vicmap Books since they first came out (in 2006). I've also been doing feedback on Vicmap hardcopy & softcopy maps as well as digital spatial data in more recent years.

Some of the most enjoyable times I've had have been when on road-trip holidays and 4WD trips - therefore my desire to get outdoors more often. They have been a great way of relaxing and unwinding away from the office.
I can navigate very well using paper maps (of which I have many) and GPS is very rarely used for navigation purposes at least (usually only for getting UTM/MGA coordinates which can then be checked against a paper map).
See also my web pages at Spatial Sciences and 4WD Links for more mapping-related links.

I'm also quite fit and a fast walker, so checking out walking/hiking tracks is something that can be considered.
I have now made a start with 'Round 2' KML files.

Contact details:
Please feel free to email me if you have any comments or feedback. See also my LinkedIn web page for more information about me.

John Cleverdon