I'm a PhD student new to ArcGIS.

I'm digitizing features from Google Earth to use in ArcGIS (I work in India, where the mapping in GIS is at best scanty). I drew along a river in Google Earth, saved the line as a .kml file and then used the 'from KML' feature in ArcMaps10 to convert to a layer file. It worked, except my line is about 270m north of where it is meant to be. I tried downloading some python scripts from the ESRI website to convert .kml to .shp - they load fine into ArcToolbox but then won't run my .kml files, citing bad magic numbers. I also tried using an online converter which still left the line north of where it is meant to be.

All my inherited raster and vector files for the area should be in GCS_WGS_1984 as they were either in this format or I've converted them. I've also added XY data I took using a GPS and converted from DD.MM.MMMM to DD.DDDD which is all correctly aligned with the raster and vector files. The .kml file I converted to a layer file says it has the same coordinate system and datum (D_WGS_1984). I'm banging my head against a brick wall trying to see where the problem is!

Any suggestions would be immensely valuable.

2 Answers 2


I can't help with your data, but maybe i can offer some advice for future digitising:

Did you know that you can add Bing maps or other basemaps directly in ArcGIS: see this help entry

This way you can edit the data inside ArcGIS and you won't have any problems with the projection anymore. Editing in GIS is more powerful than editing in Google Earth.


you can try the Xtools extension which easily converts KML and KMZ file alongwith several functions second google digitisation willl not be accurate always that will require allignment and scaling to my experience still accuracy is not workable for GIS always.

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