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Getting Started with Google Earth

To get started, you will need to download Google Earth. The basic version of the software is freely available on Google's website.

Google Earth supports custom files, called KML files, for viewing information. A KML file is a specially formatted file created for Google Earth that contains data that is viewed only when using the Google Earth desktop application. The KML data integrated from includes information such geocache name, type, and difficulty/terrain ratings that is easily browsed in the dynamic Google Earth mapping interface.

Please Note: The coordinates used in Google Earth are only an approximation and can be up to 100 ft from the actual location. The Geocaching Google Earth feature is a tool for viewing geocaches in a general location. Do not use the coordinates in Google Earth for finding or placing geocaches.

Viewing Geocaches with Google Earth

The Geocaching Google Earth Viewer allows you to see up to 500 geocaches within a particular map view. A "map view" is considered a single view of the map and does not include pans around the view area. Such pans count as additional map views.

Premium Members can receive geocache results for up to 250 different map views per day. Basic Members can receive up to 25.

To change the default settings so that panning or inputting another location does not automatically update the map and therefore count as an additional map view, right click on "Geocaching Google Earth Viewer" and select 'Properties'. Click on the 'Refresh' tab and change your settings. If you only want the map view to populate with geocaches on request, choose 'On Request' from the drop-down menu under "View-Based Refresh" and click 'OK'.

If your map is set up to populate geocaches only on request, you will need to right click on "Geocaching Google Earth Viewer" and select 'Refresh' for each map view that you want to populate.

Additionally, a maximum of 500 cache listings will be shown on the map at any given time. To get all the caches in the area you will need to zoom to a level that shows less than 500 listings. When the number exceeds 500 you will receive a random sampling of the caches in the area.

How to Use the Geocaching Google Earth Viewer:

  1. Download the Geocaching Google Earth Viewer from My Profile (the link is under the Geocache Google Earth Viewer section on the right), which will open in Google Earth.
  2. Input a location in the text box at the top-left of the Google Earth tool. Your search must be limited to a view area of 500 miles (805 km).
  3. Geocaches within the map view will be shown as geocache icons. Click on an icon to view specific geocache information, including cache size, and difficulty/terrain ratings
  4. Click on the GC code to view the cache detail page on
  5. Expand the "Geocaching Google Earth Viewer" header to view details on the number of geocaches within a map view and how many map views you have used
  6. Expand the "Geocaches" folder to view the number of geocaches by type
  7. Expand the folder for any geocache type to view cache names
  8. To save, right-click on the geocache or geocache folder that you want to save and select 'Save to My Places'
  9. To delete, right-click on the geocache or geocache folder that you want to remove and select 'Delete'