How does one convert a .kmz or .kml to a shapefile using arcpy? tried the KMZ to Layer but it outputs a .lyr and a .gdb containing one feature class. I need a shapefile, or a way to convert the contents of the .gdb to a shapefile.

2 Answers 2


A KMZ/KML can store multiple geometrie-types. A shapefile just one. I guess that is the reason for the FGDB output (multiple Feature Classes). So the FGDB can theoretically contain a point, line and polygon feature class. With arcpy.ListFeatureClasses and arcpy.FeatureClassToShapefile_conversion a conversion is possible.

import arcpy 
import os

def kmz2shapes(kmz, out_folder, temp_data_name):
    temp_gdb = os.path.join(out_folder, '{}.gdb'.format(temp_data_name))
    arcpy.env.workspace = temp_gdb


    fcs = [fc for fc in arcpy.ListFeatureClasses(feature_dataset='Placemarks')]
    arcpy.FeatureClassToShapefile_conversion(fcs, out_folder)

kmz2shapes("C:/path/to/data_test.kmz", "C:/path/to/kmz2shape", 'temp_data')

The function just converts the data to shapefiles and does not delete temporary data like the filegeodatabase and the lyr-files. There will be an error when executing the function twice with the same value for temp_data_name.

  • This was very helpful, thank you!
    – jacktrader
    Aug 17, 2021 at 16:45

The KML To Layer tool will always output a File Geodatabase. I don't know why that is, but the documentation for the Output Location says (emphasis mine):

Output location: The destination folder for the file geodatabase and layer (.lyr) file.

If you need a shapefile, you will need KML To Layer first, and then Copy Features (in the Data Management tools, under Features.


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