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Drawing paths and polygons

You can draw free-form paths and polygons in the 3D viewer and save them in your My Places folder just as you would a placemark. Paths and polygons share all the features of placemark data, including name, description, style view, and location. Once you create a path, you can select and play a tour of it. For more information on modifying paths and polygons once you create them, see Editing Places and Folders.

Follow the steps below or watch the video(English only) below to learn more about how to draw a path or polygon in the 3D viewer.


Watch the video



Read the steps


  1. Name and Style your Path or Polygon - Position the 3D viewer to best contain the region you want to mark. The more detailed your view, the more closely your drawing can follow the land feature. From the Tool Bar at the top, click Add Path (CTRL + Shift + T) or Add Polygon(CTRL + Shift + G). The New Path or New Polygon dialog box appears and the cursor changes to a square drawing tool. Enter the properties for your drawing just as you would for any other type of places data. See Editing Places and Folders for details. Hint: Change the style color (Style, Color tab) for the line or polygon from the default white to better visualize the shape you're about to try.
  2. Draw your Path or Polygon - Click in the 3D viewer to start your drawing, and use the following methods to create your desired shape:
    • Free-Form shape - Click once and drag. The cursor changes to an up-arrow to indicate that you're using free-form mode. As you drag the cursor around the 3D viewer, the outline of the shape follows the path of your cursor. If you're drawing a path, a line appears as a result. If you're drawing a polygon, a shape evolves from the path of your cursor, always connecting the beginning and ending points.
    • Regular shape - Click and release. Move the mouse to a new point and click to add additional points. In this mode, the cursor remains a square drawing tool, and the path or polygon that you draw is exactly the same as the path and polygon creation described in Measuring Distances and Areas.
    • You can save the paths and polygons you draw with the Measurement tool. Just select the Measurement tab within the Path or Polygon dialog box, and click in the 3D viewer to start drawing. The measurements appear in the dialog box as you draw. Note: You can also view measurements for shapes you draw using the Drawing tool.

    To learn more about measuring, check out Measuring Distances and Areas.

    You can use a combination of these drawing modes to combine curved edges with straight edges. To transition from a free-form mode to a regular mode, just release the mouse button, position the pointer to a new place, and click. A straight edge is drawn between the last point and the most recent one. Reverse the process to enter free-form drawing mode again.

    Hint: To navigate in the 3D viewer while creating a new path or polygon, use the keyboard controls or the navigation panel.
  3. If you're creating a polygon or path, you can make the shape a 3D object. To do this:
    1. Click the Altitude tab.
    2. Choose the appropriate option in the drop down menu
      • Relative to ground
      • Relative to sea floor
      • Absolute
    3. Use the distance slider to adjust the altitude of the polygon or path.
    4. Check Extend sides to ground. The polygon is now a 3D object. Click OK to save your new path or polygon.