Syncing Google Earth’s ‘My Places’

We have in the past shown you how to move Google Earth’s ‘My Places’ from one computer to another. However, if you regularly use Google Earth on more than one computer, it can be useful to sync your ‘My Places’ between the computers. By utilizing a cloud based synchronization service this is now relatively easy to do.

Before trying any of this, remember that modifying the registry incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall Windows. Also, if you have any important placemarks in your ‘My Places’, be sure to back it up first.

The first step is to decide which cloud service to use. We used Microsoft’s One Drive but you can also use others such as Google Drive, Drop Box or iCloud depending on what operating systems your computers have and what your personal preferences are. Ideally, the service you choose should automatically sync a particular folder between your computers.

Instructions for Windows:
Decide which computer has the placemarks you wish to start off with. Google Earth stores your ‘My Places’ as a KML file called ‘myplaces.kml’ typically located in the folder:

C:\Users\%username%\AppData\LocalLow\Google\GoogleEarth

Once you have located your ‘myplaces.kml’ file, copy it to a location in your cloud services shared folders and take note of the full path of the folder.
Change the location that Google Earth loads the file from by editing the following registry key and updating it to reflect the new location of the file:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Google Earth Plus\KMLPath

or in Google Earth Pro

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Google Earth Pro\KMLPath

On the other computer, just update the registry key without copying the ‘myplaces.kml’ file. If you wish to combine the two ‘My Places’ then you can open your old ‘myplaces.kml’ from the second computer later on in Google Earth and copy the places into your new ‘My Places’.

kmlpath in the registry
Setting the KMLPath in the Windows Registry.

For Mac or Linux?
We do not have a Mac or Linux machine to experiment with, but we did find this thread on Google Groups that suggests using symbolic links. Have any of our readers tried this? If you try this, be careful not to include the Google Earth cache, as that is typically quite large (up to 2Gb) and you don’t want that to be synced.

Notes:
We found with Microsoft’s One Drive that it was necessary to ensure that the ‘myplaces.kml’ was set to be ‘available offline’ on both computers, but other than that we have not experienced any problems with the set up.

You should avoid using Google Earth at the same time on both computers, and allow time for the file to sync before switching computers. The ‘myplaces.kml’ file is read once when you open Google Earth, and then saved when you exit.

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.






PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.

Comments

  1. There is no need to change location of myplaces. Especialy on pc that u dont have administration rights. Best app to do sync is Syncovery because u can config there to sync only one file not entire folder. Im syncing myplaces, myplaces.backup, and myplaces as zip with timestamp in other folder because myplaces losing proper structure sometimes.

  2. Besides the myplaces.kml file, what else do I need to move to the new location? I’m seeing all kinds of .jpg and .png files in the GE folder, as well as a bunch of sub-folders.

  3. rgbarsotti says

    All done, it works for 3 or so times, and then, when you open the GEarth Pro, a warning window appear, saying that the actual folder you set up in the regedit is not available (although it is, with all main folder pasted), and it’s changing back to \AppData\LocalLow\Google\GoogleEarth. Is there any further steps it might be taken? I tested on Win 8.1 and 7.

    • Have to right click on Google Earth Pro in the Start Menu and change permissions to enable “write” for your user account. That fixed it for me.

  4. I’ve used this [same] method as outlined here… http://mutterances.com/google-earth-change-location-of-my-places-kml-files/#comment-132379 and it has worked flawlessly across 2 PC/Laptops via dropbox. On occasion any additional place marks added to the GE file will lose their connection & need to be re-connected or sometimes the file sync causes them to be duplicated.

    One thing to be noted for for those pulling to GE app on smartphone… if you open the file, any place marks or folders that are not checked will not show up on GE. I’ve gone to save individual folders [or folder groups] into one kml file then opening them as need be on my iPad or iPhone… where you can open several in succession to have them all showing.

    Off to find how to sync that file to a Macbook now. Hopefully that link above proves successful

  5. Is there really no way at all how 2 instances of Google Earth can make use of the myplaces.kml file at the same time? I have it stored in a dropbox folder that I share with a colleague because we co-operate in a project where we both need to see the same myplaces. So it may happen that we both have Google Earth open at the same time and use that myplaces.kml file at the same time. Any solutions for this?

    I’m sure this has been said before, but I am surprised that Google hasn’t made synching easier yet. You shouldn’t have to change registry keys etc.

  6. ben parkes says

    Hey Guys,
    Easiest way to do this is on OSX is creating a symbolic link between the “google earth” folder in application data of the home folder to a synced location:
    ln -s /Users/benparkes/Google\ Drive/Google\ Earth /Users/benparkes/Library/Application\ Support

  7. It would seem that if you save locations in My Places while signed in, you should be able to access them by signing into Google Earth from other computers. Apparently not. My computer crashed recently and I purchased a new one. I installed Google Earth on the new machine and signed in. There was nothing in My Places. All of my locations have apparently been lost.

    • Frank Taylor says

      @Dirk: That is correct. The need for a central place to store My Places so you can move from machine to machine is one of the most frequent requested features.



PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.