Beginners Education 3 - Build a CSV POI File with Google Earth



STEP 1: Start Google Earth. If you do not have Google Earth, then:
a) Go to to download Google Earth. You will have to agree to Google’s Term of Service. BUT you probably do not want to include Google Chrome in the download. It is up to you. When you click on “Agree and Download”, you will be taken to another screen. Internet Explorer will likely give you the “yellow bar” telling you that it has blocked something. Click on the “yellow bar” and click “Download file”. Save the file wherever you usually save downloads.
b) Install Google Earth
c) When Google Earth is up and running, click in the Menu bar on Tools > Options and you should be on the “3D View” tab. In the “Show Lat/Long” pane, change the selection to “Decimal Degrees”. Click “Apply”, then click “Ok”.

STEP 2: Input data on several addresses near you. It really doesn’t matter what the addresses are because this is just an exercise, but try to pick addresses that you will be visiting soon. If she lives in your town, your mother would love a visit.
a) Start with entering your own address in the “Fly To” box. Google Earth will zoom in about 4,000 ft on a side.
b) As you move the cursor into the map, it will change from a pointer to a hand. Notice that, as you move the hand, the latitude/longitude at the bottom of the map adjusts. Put the hand on the address you selected.
c) Write down the longitude and then the latitude - exactly the reverse of the way it is shown on the screen. Why? POI files of the .csv type start with longitude and then latitude. Note that the longitude probably has a minus sign before it.
d) Repeat for several more addresses

STEP 3: Build a .csv POI file which we will call FirstPOI.csv. The simplest files have one row of data for each location and 3 values in each row:

  1. longitude
  2. latitude
  3. name

You can add an optional fourth column for a comment/description. In this case, the four values in each row are arranged:

  1. longitude
  2. latitude
  3. name
  4. comment (which might include the address)

For the name and comment values, it is best to always enclose them in quotation marks so that any special characters are interpreted as text
a) Open Notepad or Wordpad.
b) Enter a row of values for each of the addresses you entered in Step 2 above

Here are some example rows:
-85.206844,35.008629,"Walmart","Skurlock Rd & Cornelison Rd"
-85.217847,34.998767,"Parkridge East Hospital","941 Spring Creek Rd"
-85.209434,34.989596,"Portofina Pizza","6407 Ringgold Rd"
-85.211035,34.981610,"Sunset Market","1810 Mack Smith Rd"

c) Save the file by clicking, in the Menu, on File > Save As; then, in the File Name, enter “FirstPOI.csv”. Enclosing the File Name in quotation makes sure that you get that exact name without any other extension (like .txt) added.

You have now created your very own POI file.

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Change History

  • jgermann - Sep 17, 2012
    9/17/2012 title change