KMZmaps – global overlays for you to use

We’ve seen global overlay files before on Google Earth, including items such as the popular blue marble overlay. The folks at have created a variety of very high-quality overlays for use in Google Earth. They’re not free, but they’re reasonably priced and quite impressive. Here are few of them:
Natural Globe: A more realistic view of Google Earth, very similar to the blue marble overlay but of considerably higher quality.


Night Lights: Very similar to the NASA “Earth City Lights” layer.

Colored Edges: There are a variety of Photoshop-edited overlays in here as well; various blurs and effects. Here is one called “colored edges” that is pretty neat.

They also have a collection of solid color overlays. These overlays are completely solid, effectively hiding the base imagery so that roads, borders and other items are more well-defined. Here is the dark red version of that, with the “Borders and Labels” and “Roads” layers turned on.

Like most maps of this variety, it fades away as you zoom in closer to reveal the base imagery. This allows you to run your favorite overlay all the time, as it will automatically hide itself when you zoom in close enough to look at the details of a specific location. The exception is a special version of the “solid black earth”, which is set to never turn off when you zoom in. They offer both versions, so the choice is up to you.
As I said at the beginning, the big drawback to these files is that they’re not free. They cost roughly $6/each (some vary a bit), with the full collection available for $24.95. However, they also offer a demo map so you can get a feel for how it works. It’s covered with “” text, but you can get a feel for the quality of the imagery and the way the “auto-hide on zoom” works. You can download the sample KMZ file here. To see more of what they have to offer, visit their site at
If you know of other overlays like this, free or paid, leave a comment and let us know.

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. Paul van Dinther says:

    Seriously? Is it even legal to grab blue marble imagery and sell it for profit?
    Here is one free. Made it in 10 minutes.
    Low res to save my server but you get the point.

  2. Paul van Dinther says:

    Oh and chrome because it is fun to do it (Took 3 min)

  3. Paul van Dinther says:

    One last one because I can’t help myself. marble_plasticwrap.kmz

  4. For another natural looking Earth that includes Ocean features + BlueMarble, try this one
    Expand the places to select high or low res imagery. Default is low-res.

  5. Ya, I don’t see a lot of people paying for these overlays when there are free versions available. Another trick to get the natural looking Blue Marble overlay is simply to zoom GE out so the the entire US is in view. Then turn time slider all the way to the left (1930). You will then see just the blue marble base map, which Google uses for the entire earth. I believe they even update it based on the correct month.

  6. Thanks Google Earth Blog for the article! Yeah you can use the low resolution Blue Marble. But for $6, my Google Earth client presentations now rock! As always, thanks for the tip.

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