Convert Compressed KMZ to KML

In the previous sections, we looked at using and Mapshaper to convert geospatial files. However, not all file types can be converted with these tools. This chapter shows a particular example of a commonly requested .kmz <-> .kml pair conversion with Google Earth Pro.

KMZ is a compressed version of a KML file, and the easiest way to convert between the two is to use free Google Earth Pro (if you remember from Convert to GeoJSON format section, KML is a native format of Google Earth).

  1. Download and install Google Earth Pro for desktop.
  2. Double-click on any .kmz file to open it in Google Earth Pro. Alternatively, open Google Earth Pro first, and go to File > Open and choose your KMZ file.
  3. Right-click (or control-click) on the KMZ layer under Places menu, and select Save Place As…, like is shown in Figure 14.20.
In Google Earth Pro, right-click the KMZ layer and choose Save Place As.

Figure 14.20: In Google Earth Pro, right-click the KMZ layer and choose Save Place As.

  1. In the dropdown menu of Save file… window, choose KML format, like is shown in Figure 14.21.
Save as KML, not KMZ.

Figure 14.21: Save as KML, not KMZ.

Alternatively, you can use any zip-utility to extract a KML file from KMZ. KMZ is simply a ‘zipped’ version of a KML file!


In this chapter, you learned to use pivot tables to count addresses (points) by geographical area, such as states or cities (polygons). You lerned that geospatial data can be vector or raster. The best file format to store, share, and use vector data is GeoJSON. You can use to create, edit, or convert geospatial files inside your browser. Mapshaper is another online tool to convert, simplify, join or crop geospatial data.

In the following chapter, we will talk detecting bias in charts and maps. so that you become a better storyteller and a more critical reader.