Links to KML Files

The different maps presented on the Google Maps Examples page are just an illustration of what can be done with KML in Google Maps. To date, the functionality does not match that of Google Earth, so I have provided links to the original KML files on that page, in addition to a number of new files. You can save these files to your own computer and then open them in Google Earth if you are interested in exploring more. Some of the features associated with the KML files can only be viewed in Google Earth (such as time animation - read on below, and more here).

One exciting new feature that has been in Google Earth since the release of version 4.0 is the 'time slider'. This allows us to add another dimension (i.e. time) to the display of map data. Although it is possible to map the migration data using start and end dates for origin and destinations, I have taken a different approach. I have chosen to animate the KML files by different variables, such as distance or flow magnitude. In this way it is possible to get a better understanding of the spatial dynamics associated with individual locations. Technically, Google Earth's KML Time Stamp functionality is for time series data, but I see no good reason not to use it to animate data in different ways. It's still rather experimental but the results are quite effective.

Google Maps Examples (Links to KML Files)
  1. Carlisle Inflows - 10+
  2. Carlisle Inflows - 10+ by Ward
  3. Manchester Central Inflows
  4. Glasgow Inter-Ward Flows, 50+
  5. Glasgow Outflows 100km+
Note: if you simply click on any of the above links it will open the KML file in your web browser where you can see the original code. To download the file, right-click and select 'Save Link As...' (Firefox), 'Save Target As...' (Internet Explorer) or the equivalent if you're using a different browser or on a Mac.

Further Examples for Viewing in Google Earth
  1. UK Inter-District Migration of 250 or More
  2. Manchester Central Inflows - animated by distance, symbolised by origin country
  3. UK Inter-District Migration of 250 or More - animated by flow magnitude
  4. England Inter-District Commuting of 500 or More, 2001 - experimental file just to illustrate approach for different data.
Note: if you are unfamiliar with the time slider functionality in Google Earth, it is controlled by the slider bar to the top right of the screen, as in the image below. You can pause the animation at any time. Clicking on the small clock face will allow you to access the options. It is possible to click and drag the time slider at your own preferred pace and to zoom in and out at the same time.


These examples are illustrative of the kinds of geovisualisations now possible through a combination of standard proprietary GIS techniques, more bespoke add-ons and web-based technologies. The purpose of all this is not simply to show who or what goes where, but to increase understandings of spatial interaction in an increasingly connected world. Another goal is to increase access to data that historically has been hidden from public view, at least in the United Kingdom. Ultimately, it is hoped that such an approach can help us move from being data rich to knowledge rich. For now, though, these are the beginnings of such an approach.