Overview Map in Google Earth

View MenuThe Overview Map is a feature in Google Earth to help you determine your position on the Earth. You can turn it on by going to the “View” menu as shown to the right and select “Overview Map“.
This is actually a very nice tool which shows a minature overview of the earth map in the upper right corner of the 3D view. A red rectangle (or a cross hair when very close) highlights your currently zoomed in view. If you point your mouse at another location on the overview map and double click your left mouse button you will be flown over to the new location (and end up at the same altitude as your last position).
The overview map helps you keep perspective where on the Earth you are looking at, and is a fast way to go to another part of the world you want to see. You can turn this overview map on and off by keyboard shortcut: Control-M. You can also adjust the size of the Overview Map by going to the GE Options (under “Tools->Options” on Windows, or “Preferences” on the Mac). Here you can also change the “Zoom Relation” which means how close the Overview Map matches the zoom level of your current view (default is infinity).
Related: Google Earth User Guide on Overview Map

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.


  1. This is a feature I really didn’t use until I learned you could change the scale of the overview map in the preferences panel. Setting the slider to a much lower scale ratio, and making the map a bit bigger, it’s a nice way to get a nation-scale view of the particular city you’re looking at.

  2. Kyle Lalmansingh says:

    you should be able to zoom more.

  3. why I Can’t use the geogle earth Software on my Personal Computer ????

  4. Raoul Duke says:

    Are the map size and zoom relation attributes available in the Google Earth plugin-API? I don’t see them anywhere.

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