I am trying to represent the flow direction of streams in a KML file to be used in Google Earth. As complex line symbols are not supported by the KML format, I have opted for a solution combining lines and point symbols. In ArcMap 10.1, I have populated a new field in my stream layer with the direction of the lines in degrees. I have used Feature to point to generate points. Since KML don't support point rotation either, I have made eight categories based on the line direction in degrees (North, Northeast, East, etc.) and I associated corresponding arrow symbols. So far so good, but when I opened the KML file in Google Earth, I realized that the symbols are right just as long as the view points North up. If the view changes direction (e.g. South up), my symbols do not adapt. Here (https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/earth/I668BTY7AP4), someone suggests a heading to the icon style (of 56 degrees in the example). What I would like is to have my symbols follow Google Earths view , or in other words, North, rather than an orientation in degrees.

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    This doesn't answer your question but might give you an alternate idea... put an start marker at the river source so you can identify the direction?
    – kttii
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


KML and Google Earth do support icon rotation, via the <heading> tag inside the <IconStyle>. For details, see the KML Reference: https://developers.google.com/kml/documentation/kmlreference#iconstyle

If you can add those heading tags, the icons should rotate with the view as you are requesting. I'm not sure if ArcMap has an option to export KML with icon headings, since it only supports creating a limited set of KML options.

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