I have a KML that 3970 layers. I am trying to read it into R using the following script:

lyr <- ogrListLayers("file.KML")
mykml <- readOGR("file.KML","Layer1")

This works but what if I want to read all layers; something like:

mykml <- readOGR("file.KML",lyr)

Is there a way to accomplish this?

  • Yes all of them are of the same type.
    – rjss
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 18:33

2 Answers 2


A simple function can do that for you. Here's how:

allKmlLayers <- function(kmlfile){
  lyr <- ogrListLayers(kmlfile)
  mykml <- list()
  for (i in 1:length(lyr)) {
    mykml[i] <- readOGR(kmlfile,lyr[i])
  names(mykml) <- lyr

use it with:

kmlfile <- "se\\file.KML"
mykml <- allKmlLayers(kmlfile)

Farid Cheraghi's solution works well. Alternatively, you can use lapply from the apply family of functions (so named because it returns a list) instead of a for loop. If you don't care about saving the process as a new function, you can slim the task to three lines:

lyr <- ogrListLayers("file.KML")
mykml <- lapply(lyr, function(i) readOGR("file.KML", i))
names(mykml) <- lyr

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