How to Import a KML File from ChatMap into ArcGIS

Using the Free ChatMap instead of ArcGIS Collector? Here's how to import KML files into ArcGIS

Export your data to .KML and .CSV
Export your data to .KML and .CSV

ChatMap is a great tool for collecting or annotating a map when out in the field. You can use it to drop pins, draw lines, add photos and soon will be able to add labels. ChatMap can be used as a free version of ArcGIS Collector. But how do you get the data from ChatMap into ArcGIS?

What's a KML File KML files are xml files that are used in Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google Fusion Table. KML is stands for Keyhole Markup Language; an XML-based file used for describing map objects. The 'Keyhole" part is from Keyhole Inc. which was acquired by Google. KML files are compressed versions of .KML files.

How to Export KML files Out of ChatMap

  1. Go to the channel that you want the data out of.
  2. In the top right bar, click the gear icon and select Export Data
  3. Select the items you want exported, pins, photos and or lines.
  4. A report gets generated and is available to download. Tap the share button to send the link via email to a computer.
  5. Download and unzip the report. A .KML file is in the report.

How to Import a KML File into ArcGIS

KML files cannot be imported into ArcGIS without buying ArcGIS Data Interoperability extension ($2,500). ArcGIS however can handle .GDB files or a geodatabse file. In ArcGIS, use the KML2Layer tool to convert it into a .gdb file. Here are the steps:

  1. Open ArcCatalog
  2. In the top bar, click on the ArcToolBox icon
  3. In the tree, navigate to Conversions Tools > From KML > KML to Layer
  4. Double click on the tool and follow the steps.
  5. After saving the file as .gdb, click on the .gdb file to open it.
  6. Navigate the tree to the file you converted and look in "Placemarks" for your data.

ChatMap is a free tool to use for data collection in when ArcGIS Collector is not an option for your team. You can easily import KML files into ArcGIS in just a few steps.

By Cary Evans - October 2015