About KML support in ArcGIS

What is KML?

Keyhole Markup Language (KML) is an XML-based language provided by Google for defining the graphic display of spatial data in applications such as Google Earth and Google Maps. KML enables these applications to support the open integration of custom data layers from many GIS users.

Each KML file is composed of a collection of graphic elements, images, and settings. KML is used to do the following:

KML files have either a .kml file extension or a .kmz file extension (for compressed and zipped KML files).

In addition, map services published using ArcGIS Server can be served using KML. Dynamic KML content is retrieved each time the map service is accessed from ArcGIS Server. This enables up-to-date KML content to be served for dynamic GIS content.

Google Earth and Google Maps support in ArcGIS

Many ArcGIS users want to leverage Google Earth and Google Maps in their daily work. These Web applications provide digital basemaps onto which you can layer your operational GIS information and tasks. Many users want to publish their GIS content and services to a larger set of users through Google Earth and Google Maps clients—for example, to provide citizen access to government information services published from their GIS.

KML can be used to display and work with georeferenced HTML. This enables GIS users to publish rich content about their geographic features through the formatted Web pages and hyperlink capabilities provided by HTML.

KML can be accessed in ArcMap via the ArcGIS Data Interoperability extension. KML can also be accessed in ArcGlobe via its KML toolbar.

KML data can also be served dynamically on the Web using KML network links. ArcGIS Server can provide dynamic KML content through this mechanism.

Learn more about using ArcGIS Server to dynamically serve KML