These instructions are for Google Earth Pro. Get help with Google Earth for Web and Mobile.

Use images as Google Earth overlays

Use map images to create extra information without embedding it into your original map.

To see how an overlay image corresponds to the map image underneath it: Select the overlay in the viewer. Then, change the transparency so that it's fully opaque.

Use an overlay over a terrain layer

The overlay will integrate with the shape of the land to show more detail.

Change image properties

  • If you're viewing images that change periodically, such as web images, you can change the refresh rate to make sure you're viewing the latest image.
  • If you need images to update depending on your view, set the image to refresh whenever you navigate the 3D viewer to a new position.
  • If you need to order overlapping image overlays, change the draw order of images to display them from higher to lower draw order number.

Use an image as an overlay

To see a map with extra details, lay an image over a part of the map.

Step 1: Make an overlay

  1. Open Google Earth Pro.
  2. Position the 3D viewer in the location where you want to set the overlay image. Try to position the viewer so that it corresponds in viewing altitude to the overlay. Zoom in for detailed overlay images. Zoom out for large areas.
  3. Click Add and then Image Overlay.
  4. Enter a name.
  5. Upload an image:
    • Near "Link," enter the image file URL (not the webpage URL) you want to use.
    • To upload a file from your computer or network, click Browse. The image appears in the 3D viewer, with anchor points to position it.
  6. Enter a description.
  7. Click Refresh to set the refresh properties for your overlay image.
    Note: Image that is updated automatically on a server will need refresh properties set.
  8. Use the slider to set the default transparency for the image.
    Note: To make positioning the overlay easier, adjust the transparency so that you can see the overlay image and the earth beneath it.
  9. Click View to change the view settings.
  10. Make any additional changes to the position of the image in the viewer. Then, click OK to complete the creation.

Step 2: Position the image in the viewer

Use markers to stretch and move the image into a more specific position over the map. For example:

  • Use the center cross-hair marker to slide the entire overlay on the globe and position it from the center.
  • Use the diamond marker to rotate the image.
  • Use the corner cross-hair markers to stretch or skew the selected corner.
    Tip: Hold Shift then click a marker to scale an image from the center.

Use the four side anchors to stretch the image in or out of from the selected side. Press Shift to scale the image from the center.

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