Google Earth Hacks Forums FAQ

Here you can find answers to questions about how the board works. Use the links or search box below to find your way around.

I'm confused. What do I do with this site?

If you already have Google Earth, this site will give you files to enhance your experience with Google Earth. Most of that stuff can be found in our file downloads section. Some of the files will simply point out fun places to visit, while others can do things like put real-time weather radars on your map, add in more 3D buildings, or any number of other things.

How do I use the files on here?

The easiest way is to have Google Earth already open while you're viewing our site. When you find a file you want, just click the "download" link. If your browser gives you the choice, choose to just open the file. Wait a few seconds and your computer should switch over to Google Earth and fly you to the new location! If you choose to save the file to your disk, just locate it and double-click on it to get Google Earth to open it and fly you there.

What is a KMZ file?

KMZ and KML are the formats that Google Earth uses to store information about locations on the map. If you ever add a placemark to the map (by going to [Add] and then [Placemark]), you can save that file as a KMZ and share it with the world!

What do you mean by "hacks"?

This has nothing to do with illegal hacking that you read about in the news. The "hacks" on here simply refer to files that you can download to enhance your use of Google Earth.

Hacks often refer to add-on software for a program. As found at dictionary.com - "2. An incredibly good, and perhaps very time-consuming, piece of work that produces exactly what is needed.. Another definition found there reads "6. To interact with a computer in a playful and exploratory rather than goal-directed way. "Whatcha up to?" "Oh, just hacking.""

If you have any other questions about this, please post them in our forums.

How can I send you my file?

We've made it very easy to submit your files to Google Earth Hacks so that others can enjoy them.

To start, make sure your file is named correctly. To edit the file name in Google Earth, simply right-click on the placemark (or whatever it might be) and choose "edit". The option at the very top is "name". We simply ask that you give it a somewhat descriptive name.

Next, save your file. To do that, right-click on the placemark again and choose "Save As". This will pop open a box that lets you choose what to call the file and where to save it. Again, give it a descriptive name. This name is often the same name that you choose just a moment earlier.

On our site, choose "Add a File" from the menu on the left. That page will ask for a few pieces of information. Be sure to use plain English characters when typing in the fields, as foreign characters can mess up the system.

- File Name - This does NOT need to match the actual name of the file. Keep this quite short ("Lincoln Memorial - Washington, D.C.", for example).
- Author - Typically you.
- Description - Keep this to no more than a sentence or two. Try to keep it factual rather than over-hyped.
- Category - Choose the best category for your file. If it doesn't seem to fit in any of the categories listed, you can usually put it in [Sightseeing --> Other Stuff]

Now, click the [Browse] button at the bottom, choose the file from your hard drive, click [Submit] and you're done!

Sometime over the next few hours, your listed will be reviewed and posted. Shortly after that, a member of our staff will create a thumbnail image for it.

Why didn't you post my file?

We post 95% of the files that we receive, but there are some that we delete for a handful of reasons. They are:

- Duplicates. If you send a file that we already have, it will be deleted. Check our archive carefully before you submit a file.
- Broken Files. Sometimes we get files sent to us that simply don't work.
- Incorrect Files. Sometimes we get files that load up, but aren't anywhere close to what the description says. This is usually because the submitter uploaded the wrong file.
- Non-English Characters. If you use non-English characters in your file name, author or description, our system often can't handle it and the file will be deleted.

If we deny a file that you sent in, it should show up on your My Files page with a brief explanation. At that point you should to delete the file, then resubmit it with the necessary corrections made, if applicable.

How can I make my own 3D buildings?

It's quite easy to make 3D buildings in Google Earth. However, it requires that you purchase Google Earth Plus, which costs $20 per year.

Once you are running Google Earth Plus, you can choose [Add] --> [Polygon] from the top of the screen. You can then select points on the map to have Google create a polygon from.

At this point, it's a flat polygon laying on the ground. While still editing your polygon, check the "Advanced" box in the edit window. This will open up three tabs for you - "Style", "Location" and "View".

Style allows you to change the colors of your pologon, and View allows you to change the view (duh).

Location will allow you to make your polygon become a 3D building. Next to "Altitudes Are:", choose "Relative to ground". Beside that, check the box for "Extrude Vertically". Finally, just above that, enter a number in the "Altitude" field. This will determine how high your building is. Most one story buildings (like stores and restaurants) will be between 10-20 meters. Play with the numbers until it looks good.

You're done! Add more polygons and if you get a good collection of them together, feel free to add them to our site.

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