Map Maker KML Image Overlay using Google Earth

Positioning your photo is much easier in Google Earth than in Map Maker. You can adjust transparency and determine the rotation and then save as a ground overlay kml file to use in the Map Maker overlays tool.

Important Notes

  • Make sure to use an image hosted on the web & not a local file
  • Google Earth allows rotation but mapmaker overlays doesn’t. If your file needs to be rotated you will need to do this in Photoshop (or other capable image editing tool) and upload the rotated image to the web

The Steps

  1. Upload your satellite file to the web.* If you are going to need to rotate your overlay image at all you can start with a local file but you’ll need to upload it and get the web link before you get to step 12.
  2. In Google Earth go to Add>Image Overlay
  3. Paste the link to your uploaded image in the link field. Do not use a file on your local machine unless you are just trying to get the degrees of rotation you will need for your final file.
  4. Reduce the opacity of the image overlay so you can see how well the satellite imagery is aligned with the google earth imagery underneath it.
  5. Adjust the image to match the google earth imagery.
    • Scale by dragging the outside edges. Constrain proportions with shift.
    • rotate by dragging the diamond shape
    • move the image with the crosshairs in the middle.
  6. If you did NOT use rotation to adjust your image overlay skip to step 12
  7. Find the degree of rotation you are using in the image overlay properties, on the location tab in the rotation field.
  8. Open your satellite image in photoshop go to Image > Image Rotation > Arbitrary
  9. Rotate by the amount determined in step 7
  10. Save as a transparent PNG.
  11. Go back to step 1 and create at new overlay using the rotated image.
  12. Right click on the image overlay in Google Earth and select “Save Place As” and save as a KML file.

  13. Upload the KML file to the web* and add the url to the kml field in the Map Maker overlay tool.
*If you need a spot to upload your files, there are plenty of options. One suggestion would be to use the public folder in dropbox. Once it’s uploaded, just right click on the file and click “Copy Public Link.” Of course you’ll need a dropbox account.