There is a few ways to show the coordinate grids in Google Earth. The easiest way to show the coordinate grids in Google Earth is select “Grids” from the “Tools” options. Then you will have full zoomable coordinates grid cover (Pic 1 – 3).

Google Earth coordinates1

Google Earth coordinates2

Google Earth coordinates3
Pic. 1 – 3 The WGS-84 coordinate grids provided by Google Earth with details depend on the zoom factor.

Default coordinate system bounded to Google Earth is the WGS-84. WGS-84 is an Earth-centered, Earth-fixed terrestial reference system and geodetic datum. This geodetic reference system is also used by GPS. Initially WGS 84 was developed for the US Defence Mapping Agency, also known as the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)(Sickle, 2004).
Google Earth gives you option to change the coordinates from WGS-84 to UTM on the same basis, where details depends on the zoom factor.

Google Earth UTM
Pic. 4 The UTM coordinate grids shown in Google Earth.

The Universal Transverse Mercator coordinate system (UTM) uses a 2-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system to give location on the surface of the Earth. The UTM works in horizontal position representation likewise the traditional method of longitude and latitude. The UTM projection divides the world into 60 zones, that begin at longitude 180deg, the International Date Line (Sickle, 2004).
The last kind of coordinate grids offered by Google Earth is MGRS (Pic. 5).

Google Earth MGRS
Pic. 5 The MGRS coordinate grids shown in Google Earth.

The Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) is the geocoordinate standard used by NATO militarues for locating points on the Earth. This system is designed for use with UTM grids. The Earth is generally divided into 6deg by 8deg geographic areas, each of wchich is given a unique grid zone designation (Guyer, 2015).
Is worth to remember, that all types of coordinate grids will be displayed both in Earth and Moon and Mars (Pic. 6) as well all another .kml objects, that we input to the Google Earth.

Google Earth Mars coordinates
Pic. 6 The UTM coordinate grids seen on Mars in Google Earth.

There are basically 3 kinds of the coordinate grids, that can be shown easily by Google Earth. All you have seen above. Many people wonder how to switch the coordinate layers in Google Maps. Considering the 3 kinds of coordinate grids described above the easiest to find is the UTM, which has been implemented by MappingSupport team. These intractive coordinate grids plotted with Google Maps are clear and easy readable for everyone (Pic. 7).

Google Maps UTM grid mapping suppirt
Pic. 7 The UTM coordinate grids on the Google Maps (

The same like UTM also the MGRS coordinate grids has been provided by this website (Pic. 8, 9). In the right bottom of the screen you can find the local coordinates depends on your center poind and coursor location (Pic. 9). These coordinates are available both for UTM and MGRS grids for google maps.

Google Maps MGRS grid

Google Maps MGRS grid2
Pic. 8, 9 – The MGRS coordinate grids on the Google Maps ( Pic. 9 shows the local coordinates depend on your coursour and center point location on the map (red box in the right bottom).

The case of the WGS 84 system is not equal easy as it could be. The at least currently provides only the WGS-84 coordinates box for Google Maps (Pic. 10). Unfortunately the coordinate grids doesn’t appear. Moreover is difficult to find another website, that could cover this lack. It doesn’t mean, that there is no chance to have the Google Maps map with full zoomable coordinate grids.

Pic. 10 The Google maps with WGS-84 coordinates box in the right bottom corner without grids. Blue box shows the coordinates of the center point, red one shows a current coursor coordinates (

I have found the Bill Chadwick’s Google Maps Demos website, that includes the sample of WGS-84 coordinate grids for Google Maps (Pic. 11)…

Google maps grid 84
Pic. 11 The example of the WGS-84 coordinate grids on the Google Maps (

… although map is quite small itself and not necessarily I would like to see the Southampton area. Obviously I can always drag the map to different area, but if you wish to see the WGS-84 coordinates on Google Maps fir example in Australia? You would be really patient when zoom out and next drag your map until you reach your area, then zoom in. A lot of things to do I am afraid. I can show you maybe not the quickest way to make it, but I can assure you, that your map won’t be touched again.

Having this map open you have to make a few steps to adjust this Google Map for your needs:
1. Set your mouse coursour outside the map, right click and select “View source” option.
You should receive the HTML code, that builds this Google Map page (Pic. 12).

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Pic. 12 The  HTML code source. Red box shows the prefix to the web address added automatically when viewing the HTML code.

Otherwise you can do as per the pic. 12 and add the prefix “View-source:” to your http:// address. The result will be the same. Look now what should be next. I assume, that you have one of the web editors. I have the Notepad ++, so I will show the next steps in this software.
2. Select a whole HTML code from this web source and copy.

3. Next paste it in the Notepad ++ new file (Pic. 13) and save as an HTML document (Pic. 14).

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Pic. 13 The  HTML code source copied to the Notepad ++.
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Pic. 14 Save your code as a HTML document.

At the outcome you should have a new .html file sorted with a different colours depends on the code. (Pic. 15).

4. Now focus on the 2 lines in the JavaScript code (marked pink), although you can amend 4 lines shown below:

center: new google.maps.LatLng(51, -1),
zoom: 10,
maxZoom: 21,
mapTypeId: google.maps.MapTypeId.SATELLITE,


If you wish to change your Google Map to road map remove the SATELLITE and put ROADMAP.

When you finish with your JavaScript section go to the bottom, where you will able to change your map size:

width:800px; height:800px"
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Pic. 15 The newly created html file from previous source: with elements adjustable to your needs marked pink within the JavaScript code and green within the HTML code.

OK Now you can thing, that everything is done. You are opening the newly created map and unfortunately there is no cordinate grids there. So do you think, that my advise was a rubbish? 😉
5. You have missed something very important. Go back to your html code and find the Javascript file attached (Pic. 16).

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Pic. 16 Another, external script, that have to be attached to your html code.

As you can see the another script is required, the external one. You have his name in the source but where is it? Anyway you have not it neither in your HTML code nor somewhere in the folder. What you actually need to do is copying the JavaScript filename and paste into the http:// path (Pic.17). When the filename stands in the “src” code alone we can be sure, that our external script and html file are in the same folder on the server. Copying the filename into the http:// address would not be a problem then. Remember to leave the main site address intact! Missing at least 1 letter will result a failure.

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Pic. 17 From the address: remove the ll_grat_v3_demo.htm and replace it by v3_ll_grat.js. You can do it with or without the view-source: prefix. The effect will be the same, becuse JavaScript code doesn’t display content our website but is essential to make our website working.

The other way to do this (only with View-source: prefix) is click on the blue link (Pic. 18), which will redirect you to the JavaScript file located on the server.

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Pic. 18 The blue marked links in the html code will redirect you to the JavaScript file.

6. Once you do this do the same thing like previously: select a whole code, copy to the Notepad ++, save as a .js file (Pic. 18) and set it in your output folder wherever you like.

Notepad saving
Pic. 19 Save your code as a .js file.

7. When everything is alright you should have your map in the location desired. For instance I changed the LatLon on “magic” (50,20) – the Cracow city, where I studied GIS and Geography. You obviously will set your preferable location. See my Google Map with WGS-84 coordinate grid here.

Pic. 20 My Google Map with WGS-84 coordinate grids:

Last part of this article refers to the utulising the coordinate grids in Google MyMaps. The website offers a ready prepared .kml files for UTM and MGRS coordinate grids for a whole globe. Unfortunately is too big to open in the Google MyMaps after import and you can use it in the Google Earth only.
There are 2 ways to get the coordinates into Google Mymaps. First solution bring you the points, that will show a rough coordinates. I have created a small VBA Excel macro, that can generate the coordinate values quickly (Pic. 21) and save it as a .csv file, required to input the MS Excel data to Google Earth. I will not describe this process here, because there is many tutorials in the web. However this is the example how can you get the cordinates into Google MyMaps quickly.

Pic. 21 My own built simple VBA tool, that can generate the coordinates and save it as a .csv file to further utilise in the Google Earth.

When you generate the coordinates in my VBA tool, that is available here you can import this .csv data to Google Earth and next save it as a .kml file (Pic. 22, 23).

Google Earth VBA

Google Earth VBA2
Pic. 22, 23 The WGS-84 Coordinate points imported to Google Earth and the saving process.

Next open your GoogleMyMap and import this .kml file there (Pic. 24).

Pic. 24 Importing the .kml file to GoogleMyMap.

When everything is fine you can enjoy the coordinate points on your map. My VBA Excel tool generates the coordinates only for a few degrees of longitude and latitude, so it is designated for particular regions only. It works only in the newest versions of MS Excel. Don’t try in 2007 or 2010 version, because you may have trouble with getting the .csv data.

Pic. 25, 26 The coordinate points in GoogleMyMaps.

Having a points rather than lines may not be fully comfortable, so there is another way to bring the cordinates to GoogleMyMaps.
You can prepare yourself the WGS-84 coordinate grids. You must be clued-up with XML language and write the code on your own in Notepad ++ for example or make a simple line in Google Earth, save it as a .kml file and open it in the editor. It’s up to you.

Pic. 27 Bornholm island with WGS-84 coordinate grids in GoogleMyMap.

Editing the .kml file is easy, because the Keyhole Markup Language is simply the XML code for expressing the geographic annotation.

XML coordinates
Pic. 28 The XML code for WGS-84 coordinate grids.

At the summary I can add up, that definitely the easiest way to get the coordinate grids in all systems presented is switching on the “Grids” in the Google Earth. The WGS-84 coordinate grids are the most difficult to get in the Google Maps and GoogleMyMaps. I have presented the ways how to get it over and implement the WGS-84 coordinate grids both to Google Maps and GoogleMyMaps at least for a specific areas.

Mariusz Krukar

1. Guyer P.J, et.all, 2015, An Introduction to Geodetic Reference Systems for Land Surveys, The Clubhouse Press, El Macero, California
2. Sickle J.V., 2010, Basic GIS Coordinates, 2nd edition, CRC Press, London, New York

1. Initial Google Map with coordinate grids
2. Convert your coordinates
3. Google Maps with UTM coordinates
4. Google Maps with coursour location
5. Google Maps MGRS coordinate grids
6. UTM to WGS-84 coordinates conversion
8. many useful .kml files for Google Earth
9. UTM grid zones of the world
10. Google Earth coordinate system grids
11. Online_mapping
12. WGS-84 system
13. QPS: WGS-84 system
14. The US Military Grid Reference System 



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