Create contour lines from Google Earth on AutoCAD with TCX converter

To create contour lines from Google Earth on AutoCAD, first you have to download these software:

TCX CONVERTER: is the critical piece of software you’ve been missing.
With TCX Converter you don’t have any more worries about incompatibilities between files for different outdoor GPS devices and mapping software.
With TCX Converter you can:
-Import TCX, GPX, FITLOG, KML, TRK (and more to come…) files
-Join multiple GPX files into one big course
-Import directly from Garmin GPS via Garmin Communicator Plugin or GPSBabel plugin
-Add or remove Waypoints with a simple mouse click
-Truncate the track at any point you like
-Update altitude data (internet connection needed)
-Change average speed of the course
-Import/Export Waypoints with smart repositioning function

QUIKGRID: is a program which will read in a set of scattered data points (x, y, z) which represents a surface. The program will generate a grid from this data and then display the surface as a contour map, or as a 3d representation. The left mouse button may be used to zoom in and pan about the display. The right mouse button may be used to display information about the generated grid coordinates and data points.




Google Earth Extension for AutoCAD

Recall that the Google Earth Extension for AutoCAD-based products allows you to publish your 3D models from AutoCAD-based products directly into the Google Earth application, import a Google Earth image into AutoCAD, drape a Google Earth image onto a 3D mesh in AutoCAD, and attach time span information to your model. Over the years every once in a while a user has had trouble installing the Google Earth Extension for AutoCAD. So I thought I would go through the steps.

  1. Make sure you have a compatible version of AutoCAD.

    When I say compatible version of AutoCAD, I specifically mean:

    AutoCAD 2011-2012 Family

    • AutoCAD 2011-2012 (32-bit and 64-bit)
    • AutoCAD Architecture 2011-2012 (32-bit and 64-bit)
    • AutoCAD Map 3D 2011-2012 (32-bit and 64-bit)

    AutoCAD 2007-2010 Family

    • AutoCAD 2007-2010 (32-bit only)
    • AutoCAD Architecture 2007-2010 (32-bit only)
    • AutoCAD Map 3D 2008-2010 (32-bit only)

    One of the key points here is that the 2011 family is the first one where 64-bit is supported.

  2. Make sure you have the compatible version of Google Earth.

    The Google Earth Extension is compatible with Google Earth 5.x or 6.x.

  3. Get the installers from the Labs web site.
    1. Navigate to
    2. Click on Sign-In to login with your Autodesk Single Sign-on user name and password.
    3. Navigate to
    4. Click on Download Now.
    5. Understand that installing the technology preview means that you will need to accept an end user license agreement and click on DOWNLOAD.
    6. Save to your computer.

    You now have all of the installers for the various versions of AutoCAD.

  4. Run the installer that matches your version of AutoCAD.
    1. I happen to have AutoCAD 2011 on a 64-bit machine running Windows 7.
    2. As such, I select the C:\Users\sheppas\Documents\\PublishDWGtoGE\2011\64-bit folder.
    3. I drag and drop DwgPublishToGEX64Installer.msi to my My Documents folder.
    4. In My Documents folder, I double click on the msi file to run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions. Even though I am the only one who uses my laptop, I install the technology preview so that it is available to all users of this computer. Make sure you install this local to your computer. It will not work if you install it on a network mapped drive.

    If you repeat these steps as appropriate for your system, you now have the technology preview installed.

  5. If you are having problems, check that your install went well.

    The following commands should work from the command line.

    • GETIME

    The following files should be in your AutoCAD folder:


    One of the wish list items was to make the technology preview compatible with the ribbon interface.

  6. Ensure you have admin rights to your machine.

    If not, some people who were not admins were able to be successful with the “Run as Administrator” option.


How To: Add a Google Earth Satellite Image Into ArcMap

ArcMap 10 now allows you to bring in Bing Maps imagery as baselayers to your project.  However, this requires a robust network connection because you are constantly feeding in live data from their servers.  As an alternative method to bring in satellite imagery into ArcMap, the following tutorial guides you through the steps of bringing in selected screenshots from Google Earth into ArcMap.  One huge advantage of using Google Earth imagery is that you will be able to bring in historical data that is now available.


You will navigate to the location in Google Earth that you want to bring in to ArcMap.  Then, you will add 4 control points on each corner of the image, record their latitude/longitude coordinates, and export the image as a jpg file.

  1. Open Google Earth
  2. In the Layers panel, turn everything off
  3. Go to Tools -> Options, and change the “Show Lat/Long” option to “Decimal Degrees”
  4. Navigate to the area and extent that you want to use in ArcMap
  5. Press “r” on your keyboard.  This will reset the view angle to be “top down” and rotates the map so that it is “north up”
  6. Press F11 to make your map go full screen
  7. Click on the “add placemark” button   
  8. Move the icon from the middle of the screen to the top left corner of the map
  9. Rename the icon “Top-left”
  10. Click the button to change the icon
  11. Jot down (or copy and paste) the latitude and longitude coordinates somewhere you can access later
  12. Repeat the process and add icons for “Top-right”, “Bottom-left” and “Bottom-right”
  13. Now it’s time to export the image.  Go to File -> Save -> Save Image and save your file


Now you will import your google earth image, and georeference it based on the 4 control points you created.

  1. Open ArcMap
  2. Go to View -> Data Frame Properties and select the Coordinate System tab
  3. Choose Predefined -> Geographic Coordinate Systems -> World -> WGS 1984
  4. Go to Customize -> Toolbars -> Georeferencing
  5. Add the image file from Google to ArcMap.  If it prompts you to build pyramids, click ok
  6. Zoom into the top left corner of your satellite image
  7. From the georeferencing toolbar, click the “add control points” button
    add control points button
  8. Hover over the exact center of the top left icon you created, and LEFT click once
  9. Now, RIGHT click once and click on “Input X and Y…”
    input x y
  10. Add the correct coordinates for your Top-left control pointWARNING:   Remember that “X” is LONGITUDE and “Y” is LATITUDE
  11. Repeat the process for the remaining 3 control points.  If the map has disappeared from your view port, just right click on the layer, and select “zoom to layer”
  12. To finish your georeferencing, click on the “Georeferencing” menu item from the toolbar, and select “update georeferencing”
    complete georeferencing task

You should now be able to overlay additional layers on top of the satellite image.  Below is an example of a landuse layer on top of a Google Earth image.

Landuse over imported Google Earth image

Hot Tip:  Historical Imagery

You can also import historical satellite imagery from Google.  This could be useful to see temporal changes in the landscape of your project areas.

  1. Go to View -> Historical Imagery, or just click on the historical imagery icon from the toolbar
  2. You can then slide the time bar handle to display imagery for available times
    google image timebar


Georeferencing Google Earth images

Story Map Kyparissi, Lakonias, Peloponessos

A story map of Kyparissi

Kyparissi is the kind of holiday place that if you know about it, you only tell your closest friends because you are afraid of spoiling it. But really it would be a hard place to spoil just because of the difficulties in getting here. You could tell the whole world about your holiday in the land of the Hunzas but only about one person in 25 million is going to visit there because not everyone wants to cross icy mountain peaks riding on a yak to visit some place you told them was nice. Kyparissi is sort of like that. Even though it has been written up in many Greek magazines, and featured in the book The Most Beautiful Villages of Greece, and is the favorite destination of George H Bush, Prince Charles and may have been the last place Princess Diana visited before her ill-fated trip to Paris, getting to Kyparissi is a formidable task to anyone who does not have access to a high-powered yacht with a helicopter.


Kyparissi was an ancient sanctuary of Asclepius and used to be known as Kyfanta. At some point in its history the people of this lush valley of olive trees, pine and carob left the coast and moved to a highpoint where the village was hidden from the sea and the pirates who raided the coast. This did not help them when some very determined  pirates climbed the mountain and slaughtered most of the villagers and threw their bodies in a well. Many of the survivors went to Sfakia, Crete which was one of the few unconquerable places left in Greece. The people who inhabit the region now are the descendants of those who stayed and the Mavromichalis clan. Kyparissi is actually three villages. Vrissi is the first village you come to, the highest of the three on the slopes of the mountain range that surrounds the valley. It is rich in water with a spring running through the town. Everyone has beautiful gardens, orchards and olive trees.



Story map tour of Kiparissi with the use of Esri

In this map is being presented the Village Kiparissi if the prefecture of Lakonia, Greece. You can tour within the village and see all the tourist facilities that are avalaible. (Hotels, Restaurants and Seaside Resorts). View it on the following Link.


Story maps use geography as a means of organizing and presenting information. They tell the story of a place, event, issue, trend, or pattern in a geographic context. They combine interactive maps with other rich content—text, photos, video, and audio—within user experiences that are basic and intuitive.

Who Are Story Maps Designed For?

For the most part, story maps are designed for general, non-technical audiences. Many story maps are aimed at everyone, that is, anyone with access to the Internet and a curiosity about the world. However, story maps can also serve highly specialized audiences. They can summarize issues for managers and decision makers. They can help departments or teams within organizations to communicate with their colleagues.

Although story maps can incorporate analytical tasks, they are not intended to do the heavy lifting of geographic information systems. They use the tools of GIS, and often present the results of spatial analysis, but don’t require their users to have any special knowledge or skills in GIS.

What Are the Elements of a Story Map?

Story maps use interactive web maps created with ArcGIS Online, Esri’s cloud-based mapping and GIS system. ArcGIS web maps let you combine your own data, including spreadsheets and GIS data, with authoritative content and thematic maps from Esri and the GIS community, on top of our beautiful basemaps. The web maps support visualization, queries, analytics, and pop-ups for map features with rich content including photos and graphs.

ArcGIS users can use any of the story map web apps to publish their web maps. Some of the story map apps are also built directly into ArcGIS Online. Photos, videos, and text are referenced by the map features or incorporated during the publishing process.


Creating 3D Sketchup Models from GIS Data

The first sketchup tutorial, Sketchup 101 covered many of the basic elements of organizing geometry in sketchup, including how to begin a model with a georeferenced base model captured from Google’s web-based, world-wide coverage of aerial imagery and terrain models. We shouldn’t complain about such a cool, free resource. But still, it would be neat if we could download higher resolution images and finer terrain models and also the buildings! And as it happens, we can, do this if we have access to a gigital elevation model and a buildings layer in GIS.

The Sample Dataset

Right-click here to download the sample datasset and unzip it in the temp folder of your computer. You can open the arcmap map document, Map-Docs/compilation.mxd. You wil lfind the buildings layer in the GSD Metromodel group layer. If you don;t know anythign about GIS, you may want to take a look at the beginning GIS tutorial.