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Layers versus Places

The Layers panel in Google Earth allows you choose what kind of information you'd like to see displayed over the place you're viewing in your 3D viewer.

  • Selecting and deselecting a checkbox next to particular layer turns it on or off. For example, turning on the Roads layer will display lines that show clearly the roads in the area you're viewing, and their names. Turn it off, and this information becomes invisible.
  • Layers with small plus signs next to them are hiding more layers inside. Click on the plus sign next to Places of Interest, and you'll see that there's tons of content inside that you can choose whether to display, or not.

Layers are created by Google or our content partners. Google publishes the layers, which you see in the Layers panel to side of the 3D viewer. Most layers are included in all versions of Google Earth. The only exception is our Pro-only layers, which are available with the purchase of Google Earth Pro and can be found in the Earth Pro (US) folder of the Layers panel.


Places content can be created by anyone using Google Earth or KML. It appears in the Places panel, which is also located to the side of the 3D viewer above the Layers panel. KML files that are opened or created can be viewed in the Places panel.