I am trying to use After Effects to create an animation portraying GPS data of several different animals over a large study area. I have a separate KML file for each animal that contains a few thousand waypoints each. I want to animate the opacity for each animal individually, but not each waypoint individually. So, I have been trying to import each file using Illustrator to group all of the points together into a single shape, but AE seems like it is still trying to import each point as a separate shape, so it ends up crashing midway through importing just one file. If I convert the file into a JPEG or PNG then some of the points that are closer together end up merging together because of the lower resolution. Is there another method of importing something like this that allows me to maintain the resolution?
Ideally you would convert them to JSON or CSV data and then link that data file with expressions as explained in the online help on data-driven graphics. That way you can perfectly control which points are to be used where and how many there are at any given point. Otherwise there's a somewhat costly script package at AEScripts.com called GeoLayers which might help hugely for your project and can import this data natively and selectively. If you have a budget for it, it may be worth a spend.