Viewing historical maps in Google Earth

1967 Los Angeles in Google Earth

The Hypercities project is a rich source for historical maps from all over the world. While the platform provides an interactive viewing experience to any user, these layers can be plucked right out of Hypercities and into Google Earth, allowing a user a much more flexible and dynamic 3D exploration of the historical content. This tutorial will take you step by step on how to import a Hypercities base map into Google Earth.

Step 1:  Find a base layer

  1. go to
  2. click on a layer you like, and look for a file named “doc.kml” (note that not all maps have a doc.kml link.  If so, choose another map that does)
  3. Right click on doc.kml and select “copy link URL” (or equivalent function depending on your browser)

Step 2: Import into Google Earth

  1. Launch Google Earth
  2. Go to “Add”, “Network Link”
  3. Give the network link an appropriate name, and paste the link, and click “OK”

  4. Your new layer should be listed in the table of contents under “My Places”.  Double click on it to zoom in.

One thought on “Viewing historical maps in Google Earth

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