Google Earth Pro Controls

  To open a KML/KMZ file:
  • Open Google Earth, and then use the File, Open menu, navigate to the file and select it.
  • Double click on the file, either on the bottom of the browser window if you just downloaded it or in the folder into which you saved it, and it should open.
  To save just the map, use the Edit, Copy image menu choice.  This will copy the map to clipboard, from where you can paste into Word or PowerPoint.
  To add a lat/long graticule: View menu, check "Grid"
  To measure distance, use the "Ruler" icon.  Pick the units to be km, m, or smoots.

Add legend:

  1. Control P
  2. Move mouse over the legend, and edit it
  3. You can uncheck legend items to remove them, and rename the ones that the program did not get right
The table of contents on the left side of Google Earth shows the map layers, which you can turn on and off individually, rename, or save individually. 



Edit symbology

  1. Right click in the table of contents
  2. Pick properties from the popup menu
  3. Go to style, Color.  Choices vary depending on the type of feature
    1. Lines, you can pick color, line width, and opacity
    2. Points, you can pick the icon in the upper right corners, and the color, scale (size) and opacity for both the label and the icon.
The slider on the bottom of the table of contents lets you make the layers partly transparent.  Moving it all the way to the left makes the layers invisible.
This shows a geologic map draped over the topography on the top, the imagery on the bottom, and a mix in the middle.
To rotate in 3D, hold down the shift key and click on the surface.  While you keep the shift key down, the mouse can rotate about that point, indicated with the white symbol.

Topographic profiles


  • To get the profile
    • Use a KML file.
    • Create the profile line
    • Pick icon on the top toolbar.
    • Draw the profile which by default is the thin white line, which in the center of this screen capture
  • Pick the profile in the TOC and right click
  • The profile will be drawn in the bottom
  • If you save the map, the profile will be saved
  • As you move the mouse along the profile, the location will track on the map



  • The DEM used to create this has limited resolution.
  • Does not work in the oceans, even where there is decent bathymetry.

Last revision 4/13/2020