Google Earth 4 Time Feature Example

The new version of GE 4 Beta (4.0.2080) came out last night. One of the key new features added is a feature enabling KML files to have time-based data. This feature had been implemented in the GE Enterprise version for some time, but Google wasn’t satisfied with the interface. The new GE 4 Beta has the new feature with a nifty time interface gadget which appears in the upper right (to the left of the nav control). You only see this when you are looking at a KML placemark with time-based data.
New Time Gadget Slider in Google EarthGoogle has posted an example KML which uses the track from a science experiment last fall where they tracked a whaleshark with a GPS in Google Earth. Now you can look at the track data with the time feature. Here’s the sample file (will only work with the new GE 4 Beta – see here for how to get it). Once you load it, you will see the new time gadget in the upper right of GE (as shown here).
I really like how this slider works. Just try clicking and dragging with the various controls to see how it works. It seems very intuitive to me. Very nice! I predict this new feature will produce all kinds of interesting new Google Earth files. You KML developer guys can save this file as KML and look at the resulting KML to figure out how it works. Also, here is a link to the KML documentation on the new Time tags. Amazing!

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.


  1. Michael Schaap says

    Here’s an experimental animated radar for The Netherlands:
    (It’s just an experiment: it’s just a hardcoded set of images from 17:00 to 18:00, and they haven’t been calibrated very accurately.)
    – Michael

  2. Great job Michael ! It looks very cool !

  3. The potential for this application has just multiplied. Imagine watching a Mecca pilgrimage, football match, Tsunami or Hurricane damage in time lapse. Weather applications will be so much better going forward.

  4. Apart from timeline feature with current bug fixes we can finally use Update tag on 3d models. So you can have simple animations with 3d objects here’s is a small demo just to give you an idea what’s possible
    Blimp flying over Trinidad and Tobago. It’s based on history of my car’s gps track.
    And now imagine this type of solution in real time 🙂

  5. I’ve made a KML file containing the locations and opening dates of all of the Costco warehouses in the United States, you can scrub through using the time gadget and see Costco’s progress.

  6. Hi, this is awesome. Is there software available to make the creation of these kml files easier? I’ve toyed around with basic scripts to write the required text, but I’m sure there are far better ways. I’m not very familiar with xml programs, so any pointers would be greatly appreciated.
    We work with a lot of seal and bird tracking data in the Southern Ocean, so there is endless appeal for this.
    Cheers, Mike.

  7. Here’s a timeline for ScreenOverlays: Mt. St. Helens erupting (Oct 1, 2004).

  8. I’ve written a very basic simulation of a mountainbike race based on that fabulous time line feature: -> RACETRACK
    There you can chose several tracks the “competitors” race accross.
    You can even upload your own track if you convert a GPS track to the appropiate ASCII-format (.ovl).
    Further development is in progress to once visualize real GPS-data to re-live such a competition – assuming that some/all competitors have been tracked by a GPS-mouse or a similar device.

  9. Terry Pinnell says

    Is it possible to use this to make a series of simple placemarks appear one by one as time proceeds during a day’s hike please?
    I’m not a KLM expert but if anyone can show me a simple example I should be able to use it as the basis for my own KLM file.

    Terry, West Sussex, UK

  10. i wonder if the timesliders time variable can be passed along with the BBOX variable when using a network link…

  11. I was looking for same kinda time slider control for my project.
    Can i get some info about it pls?

  12. Can anyone help me i am trying to convert longitude and latitude cordinates in Dublin Ireland to KLM path. Google Earth doesnt seem to recognise the locations even though i know they are right. What could this be? e.g is 316583 236470 ? Any ideas thanks

  13. All these formulæ are for calculations on the basis of a spherical earth (ignoring ellipsoidal effects) – which is accurate enough* for most purposes… [In fact, the earth is very slightly ellipsoidal; using a spherical model gives errors typically up to 0.3% – see notes for further details].
    Enter the co-ordinates into the text boxes to try out the calculations. A variety of formats are accepted, principally:
    * deg-min-sec suffixed with N/S/E/W (e.g. 40°44′55″N, 73 59 11W), or
    * signed decimal degrees without compass direction, where negative indicates west/south (e.g. 40.7486, -73.9864):
    Point 1: ,
    Point 2: ,
    Distance: 170.3 km
    Initial bearing: 127°12′30″
    Final bearing: 128°47′27″
    Midpoint: 52°40′48″N, 000°50′37″W
    And you can see it on a map (aren’t those Google guys wonderful!)

  14. Jeffrey Scott says

    Timeline doesn’t work…. I use google earth quite frequently and noticed that when I go back in time in Nebraska I noticed roads that weren’t there last year show up ten years ago!!! WRONG….

  15. Edwin Gramajo says

    Can you go by seconds too

    • Edwin Gramajo says

      In using Google Earth pro on surface pro and can you navigate time by seconds too

  16. Hi all,
    How to convert KML file to Excel file

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.