GoogleEarth & Civil3D

Many people know about the capabilities of Google Earth with regards to Civil 3D.  I’m going to describe possibly some tips and tricks that may help with this process.  I will demonstrate the procedures and setup for importing Google Earth images and surfaces into Civil 3D 2011, with a simple little trick to get a color Google Earth image into Civil 3D.


First, you want to setup the drawing.  Set the Surface Command Settings and the Current Coordinate System for the drawing as shown below.Step 2

Select the command to insert an image or surface into Civil 3D 2011.

Once you have the surface and image, you should be golden.  Civil 3D has a limitation to the Google Earth image; it comes in black and white.  If you wish to show a color image, simply follow the steps outlined below.

  1. In Google Earth, on the File menu, point to Save, click Save Image.
  2. Use the XREF Manager to re-path the black and white image to the newly exported color image saved in step 1.  You now have a Google Earth color image!
  1. Great Post on converting to color images Matt. My only addition is to warn people to insert the image and terrain separately and to turn off terrain when you insert the image. If you do them together, many times the scale on your image is incorrect.
    As a follow up post, I’d love more info on if there are any differences in importing data to Civil 3D with the newer versions of Google earth. They have moved where you toggle on terrain in the program, and it really does make a difference with the images.

    Also, how does one subscribe to the blog? It isn’t obvious from your website. Good work all.
    Scott Wagner, Cal Water

  2. Thanks for the comments Scott. Thanks for the warning. Hopefully one of us will get around to doing a follow up post on the newer versions of Google Earth. The part of the new version of Google Earth that drove me crazy was how hard it was to set the tilt back to a top view (plan view). The easiest way that I found was to hold the mouse wheel down (like panning in AutoCAD) and pushing straight up. Then click on the N on the compass above the eye icon. Then, just to make sure, I’d use the down arrow below the eye which very slowly changes the tilt, just to make sure it was not moving anymore.

    With regards to subscribing to the blog, you can use any rss reader. Personally, I like FeedDemon. The rss url is as follows:

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