Building 3D data maps in Google Earth (PRO)

Southern California, Florida and parts of Texas show a dominant number of Hispanics

Southern California, Florida and parts of Texas show a dominant number of Hispanics

The traditional choropleth maps have now become ubiquitous, and at times not as revealing, as other forms of visualizations may tell a more compelling story from the data provided.  This tutorial takes you through the steps of importing a US County shapefile into Google Earth (pro), and extruding the counties based on a given attribute.

Step 1:  Prepare your shapefile

  1. Download the US County shapefile and extract it onto a local folder
  2. Launch Google Earth
  3. Go to File, Import
  4. Navigate to the folder of the extracted county shapefile and make sure to select ESRI Shape (*.shp) from the drop down menu next to the file name
  5. select the counties.shp file, and click “Open
  6. Click “Import All” for the Data Import warning popup
  7. Click “Yes” to apply a template
  8. Notice the 4 tabs: Name, Color, Icon, Height.  Click on Name, and set the name field to “NAME”
  9. Select the Color tab
  10. Select “set color from field”
  11. Select color field “HISPANIC”
  12. Select a start and end color of you choice (I recommend a diverging color scheme to contrast the lows vs the highs)
  13. Set the Number of buckets to 6
  14. Change the bucket values to 100, 1000, 10000, 100000, 500000
  15. Select the Height tab
  16. Select Set height from field
  17. Select height filed HISPANIC
  18. Mapping method: Continuous
  19. Scaling factor: about 0.5
  20. Click OK and turn on the layer

[Final KML File]

2 thoughts on “Building 3D data maps in Google Earth (PRO)

  1. Google Earth, the latest software application from the Internet giant Google, aims to change all this. One of the main features of this application is that it promises you minutely detailed maps of any location in this world. Even pictures of man-made building, trees, parks, mountains are available, if you so desire, in 3-D. It’s a method of information gathering for any specific location in this world. Google Earth is quite simply, an extraordinary technological feat. At a stroke, it has dominated the cartographical business. All you need is a computer and an Internet connection. Just download the software and you can discover the world from your desktop.:^

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