Displaying a lat/lon grid

Google Earth provides a special layer accessible from the View menu that displays a grid of latitude and longitude lines over the imagery in the 3D viewer. To turn on the grid do one of the following:

  • Select View > Lat/Lon Grid.
  • Type CTRL + L (Command/Open Apple Key+ L on the Mac)

    The grid appears over the earth imagery as white lines, with each latitude/longitude degree line labeled in an axis across the center of the 3D viewer. You can position a geographical feature in the 3D viewer and determine its basic geo-spatial coordinates using this grid.

    As you zoom in, the level of detail of the degree lines increases. For example, from an eye elevation of about 100 miles, Las Vegas, Nevada, appears north of the 36th parallel, and just west of the 115th meridian.

    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Imagery Date: June 22, 2009
    c. 2010 DigitalGlobe


    As you zoom to an eye altitude of just above 2000 feet, you can see that the marker for Las Vegas, Nevada, sits at W115 08'11" and N36 10'29".

    Las Vegas, Nevada

    The grid lines continue increasing in granularity even after you have zoomed past the base resolution of the earth imagery.

Switching to Full Screen Mode

Note - Currently, this feature is not supported for Mac versions of Google Earth.

You can use the Google Earth application in either window or full-screen mode. To enter full-screen mode, or to return to window mode from full-screen mode:

  • Select View - Full Screen from the menu
  • Press the F11 key

Switch to full-screen mode for the most dramatic display of earth imagery, such as when touring places or making presentations.

In full-screen mode the 3D viewer occupies the entire screen
Image c.2010 TerraMetrics
c. 2010 Cnes/Spot Image

Setting the View Size

Use the 'View Size' options in under the 'View' menu to select a number of pre-set aspect ratios designed for best playback modes or printing modes. The selected option resizes the 3D Viewer for the best display for your intended purpose. For example, if you have set your computer's display to an overhead projector, you can choose the best aspect ratio supported for that projector. For best video-quality output, choose the appropriate TV view setting.

For playback, you can choose 'Computer' or 'TV'. For print, you can choose from 4 aspect ratios for different paper sizes (see Printing Images for more information). Settings for each mode include.


spacer View Mode Modes
Computer Playback 320 X 240
640 X 480  
  800 x 600  
  TV Playback NTSC (720 x 486)
  PAL (720 x 576)  
  Print Output View Settings 8.5" x 11", Landscape
  11" x 17", Landscape  
  4" x 6", Landscape  
  5" x 7", Landscape  

Note: Once you choose an aspect ratio, you can always manually resize the 3D viewer.