MVUM (or similar) in Google Earth Pro?


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I have started using Google Earth a fair bit because of the ultra-high resolution (3D) terrain maps. I'm really missing the MVUM/trail layers I use in Gaia and OnX and I was wondering if there's a way to get these layers into Google Earth? E.g., are there GPX files for MVUM maps or is there another way to import? I'm in CA.



GPX wouldn't be the way to get this into Google Earth. You'll need a KML or KMZ and the USFS wants you do get that though the USFS ArcGIS Geospatial hub.

Use the KML option here, one for roads and one for trails:

This will just give you lines on a Google Earth Map, it's not particularly useful. I haven't figured out how to differentiate trails from roads using this method or get much data. But I also have not tried very hard.

Screen Shot 2023-09-12 at 3.38.50 PM.png

You could download the original source data, which will be a shapefile, import that into a GIS application and generate your own KML with any data you want on it. But it's a lot of work just to get a layer into Google Earth and it would generate large files.

The easy but not free way is Caltopo offers their layers hosted for use in GIS applications if you subscribe at the Pro level. One of their overlays is the MVUM, which they've done all the work to make it a useful layer with a key, formatting, trail/road names and numbers where applicable.

Screen Shot 2023-09-12 at 3.39.03 PM.png
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Active member
Oh, man, this is awesome! I haven't subscribed to Caltopo for a few years, but that's clearly the ticket - just upgraded to Pro and used the 'superlayer' KML file to import all the MVUM data into Google Earth. Perfect - thanks man!

Tried importing via the USFS data and while that sorta worked, a fair bit of data missing and, yeah, no metadata directly displayed.

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