Friday, January 29, 2016

Improved Google Earth Integration

A lot of people use Google Earth to supplement CalTopo's route planning features.  Given that, I'm happy to announce a big step forward in integration between the two.

First, the export menu now has two Earth options - the traditional KML file, and a KML network link, which provides for automatic syncing between Earth and your CalTopo map.  When you open the network link file in Earth, changes get pulled from CalTopo every 10 seconds - move a marker or draw a new line, and boom, it will appear in Earth within seconds.


Data only syncs one direction; changes made in Earth will not be picked up by CalTopo.

The second big change is better layer integration.  I've always provided a few "super overlay" files for loading topos into Earth, but it was an obscure feature limited to a handful of layers.  Now, basic and pro subscribers have access to an improved file, located on the account tab of the account dialog.


Download this file, open it in Earth, and you can pull in a wide variety of CalTopo layers, including previously-inaccessible transparent ones.


A few examples:

Desolation Wilderness with the MapBuilder Overlay layer
Slope angle shading on a popular Tahoe backcountry ski spot

Public/private land boundaries

14 comments:

  1. Hey Matt, this isn't working for me, nor is the superoverlay.kml.

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    1. I just checked and it's working for me, whether signed in or not. The superoverlay.kml file is only available for people with at least a basic level subscription, but otherwise you get an error message when trying to download it. Could be that we're using different Google Earth versions, or something else.

      Can you provide me with some details of what specifically isn't working, and what you see in Earth? A few screenshots would help. You can email info@caltopo.com.

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    2. My goof, it is working Matt! I tried to download the file from the url you showed in the post. Your post wasn't very clear as to where access to the file was located. Figure it out! Thank you very much for doing this! Going back and forth between GE and CalTopo was a pain before!

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  2. Matt,

    I also tried this feature and the layers from Caltopo do not seem to get exported to GE. I can see a track created in Caltopo in the .KML file exported to GE but can not see the layers from Caltopo.

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    1. Can you confirm that you're downloading the superoverlay.kml file linked to from the account dialog in order to get the layers, separate from exporting the map data?

      What do you see in Earth when you open that file?

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  3. When I open superoverlay.kml in GE, I see the layers, but points, shapes, etc that I create are not displayed.

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    1. superoverlay.kml is just for the layers. To get points, lines and polygons, you need to also download the network link for a saved map (export -> download network link).

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    2. Thanks! Working perfectly now.

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  6. Replies
    1. Can you be more specific as to which link you're using?

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