San Juan Islands bathymetry in Google Earth

 Screenshot of Google Earth with SeaDoc’s bathymetry overlay.

Screenshot of Google Earth with SeaDoc’s bathymetry overlay.

Have you checked out what the San Juan Islands look like in Google Earth? Maybe you've noticed that you don't get much detail on what's underneath the surface. Never fear. SeaDoc and the Tombolo Mapping Lab (now affiliated with SeaDoc) have an "overlay layer" you can download for Google Earth. The file will superimpose our bathymetry data on top of the Google Earth data, giving you a bird's eye view of the underwater geography.

These basemap images work in the desktop version of Google Earth. That's the one you download to your computer, not the one you use online in Google Maps.

The overlay maps are large, so we have two versions. One is lower resolution and the other is much more detailed. They're both big files. Here's how it works:

  1. Contact seadoc@seadocsociety.org for a copy of the SeaDoc KMZ overlay maps.
  2. Download the Google Earth application from Google (note: you just need the regular version, not "pro".)
  3. On your computer, open the downloaded KMZ file to view it in Google Earth.
  4. Like all programs, Google Earth takes a little practice to master. You can learn a lot about navigating by watching a short video from Google. The other big hint: to tilt your view, hold down the shift key and drag with your mouse. The Google Earth application has a help menu with more tips & tricks.