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Though there are many answers to this question on the Web, I've found none that are recent or correct.

The prevailing view seems to be that one exports a KMZ from Google Maps which one then edits in Google Earth where it is supposed to be possible to simply drag an element from one folder to another. This doesn't work for me.

There's no way in Google Earth to move an element from one folder to another that I can see.

What is the (currently) correct way to combine layers in Google Maps?

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As far as I'm aware, No there is no such feature that performs the actions you are specifically looking for. As a workaround, you could export the layers as KML, import them into My Maps, that will get rid of the folder hierarchy creating a single layer map, and reimporting the custom map to MEL into a new layer.

As a step by step here:

If you want to combine two My Maps custom maps:

  1. Go to first map and select "Add a New Layer"
  2. Go to the second map and in the top menu ( three dots) and choose Export to kml-->save the file to your computer
  3. Go to first map, click into the new layer and choose Import--> import the kml file you previously saved.
  4. The two maps are combined.

There is no other method for combining maps in My Maps

  • The suggestion that I can "export the layers as KML, import them into My Maps, that will get rid of the folder hierarchy creating a single layer map" is among the instructions that don't work for me. Is it possible that the creator of the map has implemented the folder structure as a "linked" KML, and that that prevents me from doing any of the things the instructions say are possible? – orome May 23 '17 at 13:57
  • I believe you are correct. – whyzar May 23 '17 at 13:58
  • And the only way to "unlink" (or even confirm that they are linked) is to open in Google Earth and do something there (perhaps "Save As..."?). – orome May 23 '17 at 14:12
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    I would assume so, because when you "Save As...", you are able to establish a new file/dataset as result with a different file name/properties. – whyzar May 23 '17 at 14:15
  • And am I correct that there's no way to do this in the new (Chrome-based) Google Earth; just in the (frighteningly) old (or at least old looking) desktop version (7.1)? – orome May 23 '17 at 14:20
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I ran into similar issues attempting the proposed solutions to merge layers in Google Earth & MyMaps. However, I found some useful opensource tools from MapBox that use NodeJS. They have a tool that will convert KML files to geoJSON, then another tool for merging geoJSON, then another tool to convert it back to KML. After that process, re-importing the final KML file will have the layers merged together.

You can run these tools on your computer with NodeJS, but to make the process easier, I created a web app using javascript. It might help with your issue, or perhaps you can modify the source code of my web app to better suite your needs.

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