Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How to Add USGS Topographic Maps to Google Earth

Did you know that you can overlay every available USGS topo map on Google Earth for free? And that you can set it up in a matter of minutes? Here's how:

1) Install Google Earth if you haven't already.

2) Download the Google Earth topo map layer from the ArcGIS Services Directory (it's the NGS Topo US 2D (MapServer) file).

3) When prompted, save the file to your computer.

4) Find and double-click the file. It will open automatically in Google Earth.

5) At this point, you're essentially done and can begin zooming in and out on topo maps for the entire country. You need to take one more step, however, to ensure that this file remains available for future use. When you first open the file, you will see a "NGS_Topo_US_2D" icon under the "Temporary Places" folder in the left-hand "Places" column. To make this a permanent addition, move the icon to the "My Places" folder; just drag it over and drop it into "My Places."

One great feature of this layer is that you can change its opacity. That is, you can fade it in and out so that you either see just the topo map, just the satellite image, or both simultaneously. To do so, simply slide the bar in the opacity adjustment (circled in red in the bottom picture below).

To demonstrate, here are three shots of Tuckerman Ravine as the topo map is faded out.

Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.


Charles Carrigan said...


Dana said...

Fascinating...A little overload in GE but still nice! :D

X said...

I've tried to get this to work in GE on my Android tablet. I thought it would handy to be able to browse topo maps when I'm away from my PC, or even on the trail. Selecting either the link, or the file itself opens GE, but no topo maps. A search on Google hasn't turned up an answer yet. Has anyone gotten this to work?

Larry Mastin said...

This file is awesome. A couple colleagues and I noticed however that it only works if you open it by double-clicking the kmz file (stored on your computer) or by clicking the link above. If you save it under "my places" in the left sidebar of GE, then close and re-open GE, it doesn't work. Perhaps there's a minor bug fix in order.

Daryl Sawyer said...

Confirmed. Only works when opened as a file. But it appears it is no longer supported, so we're stuck with it.

tribalromp said...

The version here appears to be supported, and worked for me:

Outerspace Visitor said...

Are there other kinds of map overlays available for Google Earth? For example, FEMA flood zone, altitude, property subdivision boundaries, tax zones, etc.?

Smith said...

How about someone remove old, incomplete, bug ridden, contradictory information like this article? It's perfectly apparent this is a time waster for most viewers.

Clayton Stewart said...

The article isn't outdated so much as the maps you're trying to download might be. I downloaded Earth Point Topo Map from USGS and it all works exactly as described. I couldn't figure out how to change the opacity though, so thank you for showing us where the slider is!

safeformens said...

I thought it would convenient to have the capacity to peruse topo maps when I'm far from my PC, or even on the trail. In the event that you spare it under "my places" in the left sidebar of GE, then close and re-open GE, it doesn't work. For More Info: Viagra Generic

We Claire said...

I should have tested them for one Louis Vuitton handbags and then purchased a second one after. Anyways, I bought both Balenciaga Handbags and sent in my payment through wire transfer but it took them over a month to ship out my handbag since they had some kind of an issue with supplying it.After this delay I finally got my Chanel handbags and they turned out to be utter garbage. The leather on the Replica Rolex was so flimsy, I could spot it as a Replica Watches a mile away and I am not a Hermes expert by any means.

John Walker said...

Thanks for the great information, it helps me a lot to add sitemaps on my phone. Treat ED easily with use of generic drugs, which are available at online store at affordable price.

Bambang Wisanggeni said...

Cara Menyempitkan Miss V
obat alami untuk kutil kelamin
Obat alami untuk kutil di sekitar kemaluan
obat alami untuk kutil kelamin
obat alami untuk kutil di penis
obat kutil kelamin yang alami
obat kutil kelamin yang manjur
obat alami untuk kutil kelamin

Bima Sena said...

obat kanker serviks di apotik
obat kanker serviks yang sudah parah
obat kanker serviks akut
obat kanker rahim yang sudah parah
kanker serviks herbal
kanker rahim herbal
obat kanker serviks herbal
pengobatan kanker serviks herbal
herbal kanker serviks
pengobatan kanker serviks dengan herbal
pengobatan kanker serviks secara herbal
pencegahan kanker serviks secara herbal

joey chen said...

First, IWC increased Rolex Replica Watches UK the diameter of the case from 44 to 46 mm, which automatically Replica Watches UK affected the diameter of the sapphire crystal as well. Then, IWC added the new bezel system, which Rolex Replica UK not only meant that the dive scale would be covered by the crystal, but – as you might have figured out by now — also meant the crystal had to be substantially larger than what one would normally want

Святослав Николаев said...

Fantastic, very useful article. It program help me to find office of my new job Bet4rate

Zombie Tsunami said...

I would like to thank you for your nicely written post
Download retrica camera includes more than eighty different filters with many different styles and include retrica , and play zombie tsunami game is the ideal game for anyone who loves the running game genre

Post a Comment