The function is used to create and write a KML file for a PNG image overlay for Google Earth.

kmlOverlay(obj, kmlfile = NULL, imagefile = NULL, name = "R image")



a GE_SG object from GE_SpatialGrid


if not NULL the name of the kml file to be written


the name of the PNG file containing the image - this should be either relative (same directory as kml file) or abosolute (fully qualified)


the name used to describe the image overlay in GE


The function is used together with GE_SpatialGrid to wrap around the opening of a PNG graphics device, plotting code, and the closing of the device. The computed values take account of the adjustment of the actual data bounding box to an integer number of rows and columns in the image file.

The approach may be used as an alternative to writing PNG files from SpatialGrid and SpatialPixel objects in rgdal using writeGDAL, and to writing KML files using writeOGR for vector data objects. The output PNG files are likely to be very much smaller than large vector data KML files, and hinder the retrieval of exact positional information.

Note that the geometries should be in geographical coordinates with datum WGS84.


x is a character vector containing the generated lines of the kml file


Duncan Golicher, David Forrest and Roger Bivand

See also


opt_exask <- options(example.ask=FALSE) qk <- SpatialPointsDataFrame(quakes[, c(2:1)], quakes) proj4string(qk) <- CRS("+proj=longlat +ellps=WGS84") tf <- tempfile() SGqk <- GE_SpatialGrid(qk)
#> Warning: CRS object has comment, which is lost in output
png(file=paste(tf, ".png", sep=""), width=SGqk$width, height=SGqk$height, bg="transparent") par(mar=c(0,0,0,0), xaxs="i", yaxs="i") plot(qk, xlim=SGqk$xlim, ylim=SGqk$ylim, setParUsrBB=TRUE)
#> agg_png #> 2
kmlOverlay(SGqk, paste(tf, ".kml", sep=""), paste(tf, ".png", sep=""))
#> Warning: CRS object has comment, which is lost in output
#> [1] "<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>" #> [2] "<kml xmlns=''>" #> [3] "<GroundOverlay>" #> [4] "<name>R image</name>" #> [5] "<Icon><href>/tmp/Rtmpe6erim/file28a0a28364ef8.png</href><viewBoundScale>0.75</viewBoundScale></Icon>" #> [6] "<LatLonBox><north>-10.72</north><south>-38.59</south><east>188.158103454744</east><west>165.67</west></LatLonBox>" #> [7] "</GroundOverlay></kml>"
if (FALSE) { #library(rgdal) #qk0 <- quakes #qk0$long <- ifelse(qk0$long <= 180, qk0$long, qk0$long-360) #qk0a <- SpatialPointsDataFrame(qk0[, c(2:1)], qk0) #proj4string(qk0a) <- CRS("+proj=longlat +ellps=WGS84") #writeOGR(qk0a, paste(tf, "v.kml", sep=""), "Quakes", "KML") #system(paste("googleearth ", tf, ".kml", sep="")) } options(example.ask=opt_exask)