Google Earth Time Animation

This example will create a database with sightings of the right whale.  The original data is at

For a case like this where you will be entering data from a file or by typing it in, the most efficient tool is probably Excel.  This will create a database with points, which is the simplest to create.

Rules for what you must do in Excel to insure that file will work.  The computer will be very picky.
  • The types of data (characters, integers, and floating point), and what you can do with each.
  • Which hemispheres are negative, especially the western
  • While dates can be entered in a single field, for earth science data it is nice to split them so you can look at the annual patterns, and you can Filter by month.
  • If you put the name of an image file (GIF or PNG) in an ICON field, that icon can be plotted on the map in both MICRODEM and Google Earth.

When done, save your file in CSV format. 

Create Icons.

Adjust icon transparency (may no longer be required).

If you wanted to get really fancy, you could have multiple icons, depending on the number of whales spotted.

Open a map.  This is nautical chart 13006 opened with New image

  Database.  The first time you should select the CSV file you created; thereafter you should select the DBF that MICRODEM will create.

To get the ICON field to be used for plotting, use Database symbol selection (Plot button on the table display window).

Get other maps to use for the base. 

Examples include sea surface temperature (perhaps that controls when and where the whales congregate).  Animating these can currently be done, but only with some drag and drop edits in Google Earth.  If you have another animation (say with your whales), each time period will be in a different folder.  If you open all the maps, you can export them all when you do the export (with the "All maps" checkbox).  You can then just drag the correct image into the folder for each time step.

Another option would be MODIS images from http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/subsets/  (directions).  There are daily images from two satellites, with several color combinations possible.  You want the Geotiff, or the JPG with ancillary files, which you can use in MICRODEM, or you can go straight to Google Earth with the KMZ file..

Put text into KML file for explanations.
Modify display in Google Earth, using layers shown in Table of contents.

A little time here can greatly increase the user-friendliness of your results.


Last revision 10/24/2015