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Google Earth Toolbox

4.6 | 59 ratings Rate this file 153 Downloads (last 30 days) File Size: 9.39 MB File ID: #12954 Version: 1.6
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Google Earth Toolbox


scott lee davis (view profile)

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10 Nov 2006 (Updated )

Various plotting/drawing functions that can be saved as KML output, and loaded in Google Earth

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The projects git repository can be found at:

You are welcome to join and contribute, or simply just use it. Either way have fun.

With the MATLAB functions within this toolbox, one can display spatially and temporally distributed data within Google Earth. It may be argued that converting the results of models and measurements to be able to view them in Google Earth is unnecessary since they can also be viewed within MATLAB itself. However, using Google Earth for evaluation of data can have some major advantages, a few of which are listed below:

1) very intuitive tools for navigating the view
2) retrieval of data from objects within the viewer
3) quick rendering of large files
4) interactively choosing which objects should be displayed
5) dynamic representation of time-variant data

Note: You must add the toolbox to your matlab path before you can use it or access help from the matlab start menu. For example:
from the command window.


This file inspired Borders, Google Plot, and Kml Toolbox.

MATLAB release MATLAB 7.2 (R2006a)
Other requirements Questions/Problems/Requests will be assimilated through email...
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Comments and Ratings (81)
18 Feb 2017 sebastian galmez

07 Feb 2017 mohsen hp

can you send me video help to use it?
i realy need use that but i can't

Comment only
04 Dec 2016 Yang Shenglong

04 Dec 2016 Yang Shenglong

24 Nov 2016 Xuan-Mung Nguyen

Great tool. Thanks

27 Apr 2016 ma peoyond

very nice

12 Mar 2016 Gentible

thanks for putting the ge_plot function!!! I didn't want to write it from scratch :)

12 Nov 2015 Shi Yunfei

02 Jul 2015 Val Schmidt

Val Schmidt (view profile)

I'm a big fan of this toolbox. I have a feature request/bug.

ge_groundoverlay() does not currently support the altitudeMode option of "clampToSeaFloor". It's an easy fix.

Oh and a feature request. I'd love for a function that could create KMZ super overlays.


27 Apr 2015 Yaw

Yaw (view profile)

Dear Scott Lee Davis

Sorry I'm new in Matlab.
I had download the google earth toolbox.
I still cant figure out how to use ge_kmz function.

Is it i need to type ge_kmz(PlanA,varargin) to call the function out? *my kmz file name is PlanA*

After i type that command, i wil get error of
"Undefined function or variable 'PlanA'."

Kindly please teach me on this function.

Best Regards

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02 Apr 2015 Engin Berk Özmen

Hi Scott. It's a great job.
However, I want to ask you a question.
I wanted to show a photo of city which is in jpeg format on google earth. I have created kml file, but google earth couldn't open the file, because its too large, approximately 800 mb. Then I created smaller size kml files with 217 mb. Google earth can show 3 of those, but if i open the fourth one, it is terminated. Can you help me about this problem?

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21 Jan 2015 Steven Millard

Scott, I recently updated to MATLAB R2014 and noticed some of the packages don't seem in tune with R2014. Any plans to update from R2006?

Great utility....I love the toolbox.


Steve Millard

Comment only
13 Sep 2014 Stefan

Stefan (view profile)

Hi Scott,

Fantastic toolbox, have been using it for spatial data analysis, and have been very happy with it!

One comment following up on Johannes Traugott below: ge_point (as well as ge_point_new) allow passing on a description for each object, which is then displayed in a pop-up balloon. Passing on the description to multiple objects seems to work fine. However, only a subset of objects (apparently random) actually displays a balloon. I have small (~10 KB) kml files with only about 20-50 objects, so it doesn't seem like size issue. Have you encountered this before?

Either way, great work!


30 Aug 2013 João Carneiro

First of all,
Let me thank you for this package. It's been solving lot's of problems for me.

I have one question though. Why is ge_quiver not being distributed anymore? I had to recover it from a much older version. It works, so I'm not sure why it's not being offered with the rest of the package.

Maybe it's speed of the ge_quiver algorithm. To that, I have made a few tweaks to make it faster.. I would gladly send you the code if you want.

27 Jul 2013 Anthony Klinkert


Regarding the Matlab Google Earth toolkit:

and here:

And as directed in the README file, typing this:

>> googleearth -docinstall

I get this:

Click on the MATLAB Start button->Desktop Tools->View Source Files...
...and click Refresh Start Button.

However, in 2013a and 2013b, there is no “Refresh Start Button.” (and nothing comes up in the help for this term)

What does this do, and how do we do it in the latest versions of Mathlab?

Thank you.
(great work!)

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07 Apr 2013 Dong Ye

Hi, Sir:

Your work is really great. It helps me a lot. And I have some special needs:
It seems the ge_contourf can't handle the cases when the matrix Z contains 'NaN'. But the matlab version contourf just ignore it entry. Can you do that as well? Thanks. God bless you.

17 Oct 2012 Alex

Alex (view profile)

Thank you!

10 Oct 2012 T.

T. (view profile)

For all those interested in data visualization in Google Earth with matlab, I would like to point you to this gallery of examples which was made with another toolbox which is part of the openearthtools (but not available on the file exchange).

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26 May 2012 G. M. Wolfe

I would like to echo Val's comment; it is cumbersome to tote around a folder of .dae files (e.g. for wind barbs), especially if we want to share the kml or kmz files with others.

Also, why is ge_quiver not included in the current package?

These small points aside, I am excited to have found this toolbox. I will be using it to visualize European air quality measurements acquired on a Zeppelin. Thanks!

10 May 2012 Val Schmidt

Val Schmidt (view profile)

10 May 2012 Val Schmidt

Val Schmidt (view profile)

This is a great tool and it seems very thoughtfully written. I do have a request:

When I create kmz files I get a zipped kml file but any images to display are not included. I would like the kmz files to consist of a zipped bundle of the kml and all its component parts (images to display for example) so that the result is completely self-contained. To me, that's the real advantage of kmz over kml - a single portable file without others to look after.



Comment only
10 May 2012 Val Schmidt

Val Schmidt (view profile)

10 May 2012 Val Schmidt

Val Schmidt (view profile)

02 May 2012 NDC

NDC (view profile)

18 Dec 2011 Mate

Mate (view profile)

15 Dec 2011 hai

hai (view profile)

It's really amazing job!
But,does it support save the screen as jpg image file to local disk?I've tried to use the google api,only getting black-white pictures.
Can anyone give me a hit?
Thank you!

10 Oct 2011 Manuel

Manuel (view profile)

30 Aug 2011 Jose Giron

Awesome toolbox, I specially like the timeSpan feature

23 Aug 2011 Adrian

Adrian (view profile)

Thanks for sharing this very useful toolbox, I use it a lot. But I have a problem: occasionally the results displayed in Google Earth are "flipud"-ed, i.e. split in half and the top half is below the bottom half with a missing gap in the middle. I hope this not because I live in the Southern Hemisphere! Any suggestions? TIA.

31 May 2011 Margaret Segou

I am trying to use the ge_imagesc but it doesn't work. I am also running the demo and it presents an error about Unauthorized parameter imageURL in parameter/value passed to ge_imagesc. I guess it is somethign simple since all seem to be great. Nice effort!


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26 Feb 2011 Berker Hüsam

08 Jun 2010 Gabriel ortiz

this Toolbox works in Spanish (google earth in spanish)??

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27 May 2010 Ben Williams

I have one comment: It would be fantastic if there was a function for plotting 2D or 3D patch data on Google Earth.

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27 May 2010 Ben Williams

Brilliant! So useful..... :-)

14 Mar 2010 Manu Raghavan

This is a fantastic contribution.

28 Feb 2010 randa

randa (view profile)

very niiiiiice

I will be using mat-lab to retrieve information from google earth to simulate a car movement and I'm interested to know about how that is done.

19 Jan 2010 Laurent Longuevergne

Great job, this toolbox is just very useful for my work. Thank you!

GE_point is really interesting, but displayed information is limited to a 2 column-table. How to modify the code to display an image? A 3-column-table ? Does such functionality exist?

19 Dec 2009 Haiyang Cui

18 Dec 2009 Haiyang Cui

it's a very good toolbox. But do you have the function like ge_trisurf, which could plot the mesh with triangles?

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12 Dec 2009 Stavroul Vassaki

it's a very good toolbox.Although i have a question.I want to display points with different colours, so i change the parameter 'icon colour' when i call the function but nothing changes.What can i do?
Thank you very much!!

15 Nov 2009 Ibrahim


Comment only
02 Oct 2009 Erdal Bizkevelci

23 Sep 2009 Amalia

Amalia (view profile)

Great job, although there are a couple of problems I'm having with the 'ge_contourf' function. I'd like to plot just 1 contour on GE and here's my test script:
close all
clear all
[X,Y] = meshgrid(1:20,1:20);
Z = peaks(20);
cMap = 'jet';
lineValues = [ 0 0 ] ;
[C,h] = contourf(X,Y,Z, lineValues);
axis image

kmlStr = ge_contourf(X,Y,Z,'cMap',cMap,...
'polyAlpha','7F', 'lineValues', lineValues);


The script as run above produces an error in the "isinner" function. I was able to tweak this by making 'firsttest' have a single scalar value so it'll accept the && test at the end of the function. This tweak actually gets the ge_contourf function to run but the other problem is that the resulting contour, and the polygon created in the .kml file, is the reverse of what I actually want and the reverse of what the CONTOURF function produces.

If you change the lineValues parameter to "[ 2 2]" then the resulting .kml polygon matches that produced by CONTOURF. Although I'd still like only 1 color showing on GE and not the background color - that is, I'd like 1 colored contour showing on GE.

Any ideas on how to tweak the ge_contourf function so I can get it correctly create the polygon and .kml file when the polgyon goes to the outer edges of the 'box' (i.e., the example when lineValues = [0 0])?

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04 Sep 2009 Atma Mani

A commendable effort.

27 Aug 2009 Pascal

Pascal (view profile)

Great job, nice features! I was trying to generate a dynamic visualization with ge_imagesc, but cannot make it work in google earth.... I specify the 'timeSpanStart','timeSpanStop' in each ge_imagesc plot and put everything in a ge_folder... it seems to run but there is no motion (all the same pictures). do you have a working sample or any advice? Thanks again

Comment only
27 Aug 2009 Pascal

Pascal (view profile)

25 Aug 2009 Basile

Basile (view profile)

Very usefull work. Please a question.
I am trying to imcorporated google earth in Matlab GUI using GEPluginCoClass ActiveX but I dont know how to do. Need help to do this or if someone has other way to integrate GE in Matlab GUI.

Great job for GE Toolbox.

22 Jun 2009 Ambarish Jash

Ambarish Jash (view profile)

22 Jun 2009 Ambarish Jash

Ambarish Jash (view profile)

for ge_quiver there is no option to scale the length of the arrows? could you please add that. -Thank you

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06 May 2009 ioxv.4623

@ Johannes Traugott 22 Apr 2009

Hi Johannes:
indeed this functionality did not exist. However, I uploaded 2 new files (ge_point_new.m and demo_ge_point_new.m) to the Google Code repository (revision 28), which may solve your problem. Let me warn you though that 500.000 points with popup menu will generate huge KML files. Having said that, good luck on your work and thanks for the rating.

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22 Apr 2009 Johannes Traugott

I'm trying to display many (500.000) points in Google Earth using the GE_POINT function. Every single point needs to be described by it's own pop-up baloon. I do not see a possibility how to transfer the pop-up information to ge_point for multiple point plotting. Does such functionality exist?
(Great toolbox, anyhow!)

12 Mar 2009 Macarena Varela

Great Work!!!

10 Mar 2009 ioxv.4623

Some of the issues raised in previous posts have been resolved in revision 27 of the googleearth toolbox --check the Google Code link above or ""

Comment only
03 Mar 2009 luke

luke (view profile)

Great - really useful.
re comment above - got round this by adding:
X = linspace(0,1,size(cMap,1))';
in ge_colorbar (using R2006b).

01 Dec 2008 jhh

jhh (view profile)

Great work!
Some issues with the demos, though. e.g.:

>> demo_ge_colorbar
??? Error using ==> interp1 at 185
There should be at least two data points.

Error in ==> ge_colorbar at 93
YIRed = interp1(X,YRed,fM);

Error in ==> demo_ge_colorbar at 9
kmlStr = ge_colorbar(PosLong,PosLat,Z,...

09 Oct 2008 kamal lmk_kmlhotmailcom

it's of a great help for me this toolbox. you've made a very good job

25 Aug 2008 Andy Bliss

ge_point is quite nice, but the 'description' option doesn't work for me. I tried with single points and with multiple points at a time. It'd also be nice if this would accept a cell array of strings (documentation says it can just do char array).

05 May 2008 Dan S

Very nice toolset -- occasionally needs minor tweaks (e.g. ge_quiver3 does not specifiy a default 3D model)

24 Jan 2008 Rajesh Nasare

18 Jan 2008 caio guimaraes

Great Work. I'm missing the mat2gray function inside the ge_imagesc (I think it´s from Matlab´s Image Processing Toolbox). Is it possible to include this function in your file? Or, do you know a way to run the ge_imagesc functin without really needing the mat2gray?

08 Nov 2007 haraguchi kazuki

08 Oct 2007 Eric Gayer

I just need to figure out how to deal with projections... other than that... this Toolbox is amazing !

14 Sep 2007 Bobby P.

EXCELLENT! but a quick question: in ge_contour, what type of lat/lon should i use? UTM (meters?) or degrees?
Other than, well done!

22 Aug 2007 Scott R

Well done.

10 Aug 2007 Falo folio

It is unbelieveble that this toolbox is distributed for free. It should belong to the standard toolbox-set with every release of MATLAB. Excellent job!

08 Aug 2007 Rich Signell

Thanks for this extremely useful toolkit. One future enhancement that would be nice: the ability to pass "ge_contour.m" a vector V that has specific values of the contour levels (e.g. as in "contourc.m")



01 Jun 2007 Parasar Kodati

Awesome effort

01 Jun 2007 JH Spaaks

In fact, the ge_surf file is listed along the contents of the zip file, so I think it should be working. However, it's not included in the documentation yet, being one of the newer files. That means that you can't access the source code through the link provided in het documentation, but you can use the function from the command line, or in your scripts. Good luck, please let us know if you experience more problems with it.

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31 May 2007 taiga woods

Where's the ge_surf.m function? It's a beautiful image, but the corresponding function is missing inside the .zip file.

13 Mar 2007 scott davis

Added. Indeed, all the options ge_poly had are now available to ge_plot3 as well. See demo_ge_plot3.m for example.

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07 Mar 2007 Slater Voorhees

Great set of tools.

Would it be possible to provide the drop down lines used in ge_poly in the ge_plot3 functions? I am assuming that is just adding the altitudeMode option.


15 Feb 2007 scott davis

Added. See demo_ge_imagesc.m for example.

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07 Feb 2007 Nirmal Jayaram

Awesome Work. Keep Rocking
There is just one thing I wanted to know. Is it possible to add a colorbar when I use, say, the ge_imagesc.m function? Thanks

01 Feb 2007 scott davis


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30 Jan 2007 Ludovic Bariteau

Hi there,
I started to play with this fabulous toolbox but the function 'vectorsplit' is missing in the zip file. This function is used for example into ge_circle.m
Is it possible to add it in the package?

22 Nov 2006 nesrine zaklos

22 Nov 2006 äÓÑíä äÓäÓ

13 Nov 2006 Tomas Frank

Sorry, forgot my ratigs. Its A+++++++++++

13 Nov 2006 Tomas Frank

Great Toolbox! Merging giagants: Mathworks and Google. Much more superior to the previous submission on this topic. In your place, I would spend some time to make Matlab2Google (or something) toolbox. Good luck!

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10 Nov 2006 Carlos Adrián Vargas Aguilera

Wow!! Really great, i need to make some functions like rad2deg and to figure it out what does the entries means because there's not help, but great job, keep working! ... it would be nice a program that reads coordinates of the marks into matlab...

13 Nov 2006

Added demo files for ge_box, ge_grid, ge_quiver. Also added rad2deg & deg2rad.
Further update later this week for more functions.

14 Nov 2006

file addition, text cleanup.

14 Nov 2006

File Addition, and bug fixes.

17 Nov 2006

Added new interface for name value pairs implemented by: Jurriaan Spaaks. of CBPG @ UvA

20 Nov 2006

Function addition.

20 Nov 2006

function addition. bug fixes.

27 Nov 2006

bug fix in ge_cylinder.

27 Nov 2006

Major Function Revision

06 Dec 2006

added functions ge_folder, ge_windbarb, & bug fixes.

15 Dec 2006

Added help, publish the demo scripts, and minor function fixes.

15 Dec 2006

Text spelling errors...

20 Dec 2006

function ge_poly contribution by: Ben Knight @ Cawthron Institute

16 Jan 2007

Added TimeStamp & TimeSpan functionality to all functions. Added demo of ge_windbarb. Faster ge_quiver function output.

19 Jan 2007

added ge_point, and updated ge_output to output kml or kmz files.

23 Jan 2007

added ge_gplot.m. minor bug fixes.

25 Jan 2007

added ge_quiver3 by: Jurriaan Spaaks @ CBPG.

31 Jan 2007

added local function vectorsplit to: ge_circle, ge_cylinder

15 Feb 2007

*added ge_colorbar
*x/y & lat/long all function sync.
*bug fixes

13 Mar 2007

updated plot3 function to include more AuthorizedOptions.

08 May 2007

Major update to entire toolbox... Entire structure now should conform to toolbox standards. Tutorials & demos have been added. Functions have been debugged.

16 May 2007

bug fixes to ge_kmz, added ge_surf & demo_ge_surf. Other fixes for OS independance.

21 May 2007

more bug fixes with ge_imz.

22 May 2007

main image was corrupted.

31 May 2007

updated Description

04 Jun 2007

Updated ge_surf.m.

05 Jun 2007

fixed main image messup... final time. ;|

30 Jul 2007

Toolbox update & bug fixes. See README file for details.

24 Aug 2007

Toolbox Update w/addition of ge_contourf. See README file for more details.

01 Nov 2007

overhaul of ge_imagesc function. other requests & bug fixes. see README.txt for more details.

05 Nov 2007

Upated help documentation, w/links to demo files.

05 Nov 2007

Re-submission as last update to help files, actually was not the correct update....

21 Jan 2008

Major revision. All further changes now on

30 Jun 2009 1.3

Numerous bug fixes, aesthetic changes, and code cleanup.

07 Apr 2010 1.4

Bug fixes, improvements, etc. SVN log tells all at the google code repository.

02 Feb 2012 1.6

updated license.html and removed Gnu references.

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