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Export Geotagged Photos for Viewing in Google Earth

Google Earth can be a great tool to explore – and show off – your photos: as “balloons” pinned to the locations where they were taken. Add a GPS track log and you get a bird’s eye view of your trip and the spots where you stopped to take photos.

Photo viewing in Google Earth is not limited to holiday snapshots. A real estate agent, for example, can create a Google Earth file with photos of a particular property. Buyers can download this file. It lets them explore the property and neighborhood – and see the exact vantage points from where the photos were taken.

Google Earth: Leopard in a tree
Google Earth: Leopard in a tree

With HoudahGeo, it is easy to prepare your geotagged photos and GPS track logs for viewing in Google Earth.

  1. Load the photos into a HoudahGeo project
  2. If you have a GPS track log, add it to the project. HoudahGeo will automatically geocode your photos
  3. Switch to the “Process” tab. Double-check and adjust locations. Add titles and descriptions to your photos
  4. Switch to the “Output” tab and use either Export to Google Earth or Export to KML.

Export to KML creates a folder that contains a KML file as well as JPEG previews of your photos. KML (Keyhole Markup Language) is the native file format for Google Earth.

Export to KML can also upload images to Dropbox or create a KML file that is ready for uploading to your own web server. These KML files can be used with Google Maps.

Export to Google Earth creates a KMZ file. This compresses the same KML and image files into a single file. For most purposes, KMZ is the best choice. The single file is easier to handle, archive and share.

When you have a larger number of images to show, consider using a KML file hosted on Dropbox or your own web server. Viewers need only download the relatively small KML file. Google Earth will get the images from the web server only as needed.