KMZ files are placemark files which are used by mapping applications in Google Earth and the related Earth Viewer software. Files that contain the extension .KMZ are compressed files that contain the content from a KML (Keyhole Markup Language) file, which is used for importing geographical data into Google Earth.
KMZ stands for Keyhole Markup Language Zipped and compresses all KML folders and subfolders into one file which can be accessed using a geo-browser. The purpose of a KMZ file is to reduce the amount of disk space which is typically occupied by large KML files. By packing all the KML files into a compressed KMZ format, the file takes up less bandwidth and can easily be imported into programs which support this type.
In terms of specific content, KMZ files contain geographical data, such as latitude and longitude coordinates for a specific location, 3D model data, and other geographical information, such as maps that pertain to any given location.
How to Open KMZ Files
Google Earth is the most common program to open KMZ files since it also supports KML and ETA formats. If you are unfamiliar with Google Earth, it is a global mapping program you can download to obtain views of different locations. This means that KMZ files will also contain 3D images which can also be viewed using Google SketchUp, Googleâ€™s version of CAD (Computer Aided Design).
If you use Windows, you can open KMZ files with the above named programs in addition to Global Mapper, ESRI ArcGIS Desktop, and Blender with the Google Earth Importer plugin. You can also open KMZ files with compression software such as WinRAR or WinZip which will unpack the KML files contained in a KMZ file. Additional programs for opening KMZ files in Windows include RoboGEO, Superoverlay Pro, and GeoVisu.
For PCs equipped with Mac OS X you can open KMZ files using Google Earth, Google SketchUp or Blender with the Google Earth Importer plugin. If you use an iPad tablet PC in the field and have multiple layers of data related to a KMZ file, you can open the file with Mapbox by using iTunes to copy the KMZ file over to the iPad. You can also use Google MyMaps by simply signing into your account, choosing Create a New Map, and then clicking on Import. Then you can upload KMZ files and access them from the Google Earth iOS app which helps you to activate each layer individually, so you can easily view the contents.
Google Earth and Blender geo-browser can also be used to open KMZ files in the Linux operating system. You must use the Blender version for Linux, which also works well with UNIX and is compatible with both KMZ and KML files.