I am struggling to convert a KML file to a layer which can be read in GIS software.

The data is offshore geological data for the UK, which was downloaded from the onegeology.net portal as a kml (http://portal.onegeology.org/OnegeologyGlobal/). After isolating the KML layer of interest, the resulting file looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<kml xmlns="http://www.opengis.net/kml/2.2" xmlns:gx="http://www.google.com/kml/ext/2.2" xmlns:kml="http://www.opengis.net/kml/2.2" xmlns:atom="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">
    <name>UKContShelf BGS 1:1M Seabed Sediments</name>
    <Snippet maxLines="0"></Snippet>

I can open the data in Google Earth, but it fails to convert to a GIS layer using ArcGIS KML To Layer (ERROR 000401: No features were found for processing).

I thought that perhaps the problem was that the underlying image to the KML file is stored online, and not locally. Hence, I tried to download it, using the URL in the KML and wget, with the aim of creating a new kml file for conversion in ArcGIS. The download process I followed is outlined in the following question: Saving MapServer output to file? However, it just downloads a blank white image, using the code below:

wget "http://ogc.bgs.ac.uk/cgi-bin/BGS_Bedrock_and_Superficial_Geology/wms?
TRANSPARENT=TRUE&amp;CRS=CRS:84&amp;LAYERS=UKCoShelf_BGS_1M_SBS&amp;&mode=map" -O out.png

How can I convert the KML file into a GIS layer?

  • Remove & mode=map and try if it helps.
    – user30184
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 16:18
  • The underlying data is a raster that is cached by mapserver (the kml just creates a networked link to the png) not sure what format you are expecting to get out for arcgis?
    – Mapperz
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 18:59
  • youtube.com/watch?v=eW41DrPFquQ tHIS VIDEO SAVE MY LIFE, YO COULD CONNET ARCGIS SERVER TO QGIS AND then WORK. Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 21:36

1 Answer 1


The KML output of the OneGeology portal is just a wrapper around the WMS service to allow that service to be viewable in Google Earth, it doesn't expose the underlying data.

You may use any WMS directly in a GIS desktop client (such as ArcMap or QGIS), but you only ever get the image provided by the service, though you get the ability to query any point location through a GetFeatureInfo request.

As far as the OneGeology portal is concerned, you could try to see if there are any associated WFS services associated with the service, or you could contact the data provider directly (not OneGeology as the portal doesn't actually host any data or services) to see if they are able to provide any data directly.

See the OneGeology How To pages to get information on how to access this information.

In the case of the service you reference there is currently an associated Simple Feature WFS, see http://ogc.bgs.ac.uk/cgi-bin/BGS_Bedrock_and_Superficial_Geology/ows?service=WFS&request=GetCapabilities&

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