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).
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
The case of the WGS 84 system is not equal easy as it could be. The Mappinsupport.com 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.
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)…
… 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).
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).
At the outcome you should have a new .html file sorted with a different colours depends on the code. (Pic. 15).
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.
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? 😉
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.
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.
Last part of this article refers to the utulising the coordinate grids in Google MyMaps. The Nearby.org.uk 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.
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).
Next open your GoogleMyMap and import this .kml file there (Pic. 24).
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.
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.
Editing the .kml file is easy, because the Keyhole Markup Language is simply the XML code for expressing the geographic annotation.
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.
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. Earthpoint.us: 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. Nearby.org.uk: many useful .kml files for Google Earth
9. UTM grid zones of the world
10. Google Earth coordinate system grids
12. WGS-84 system
13. QPS: WGS-84 system
14. The US Military Grid Reference System