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Eleven Great Sources of Government Data Sets to View in Google Earth

One great way to get your head around a large government dataset is to view it using Google Earth. I went on a hunt for the most interesting, striking and geography based government data sets currently available in the KML format used by Google Earth. There is a large gallery of tours and layers available from Google Earth’s site, including some based on government data – but I wanted to look beyond them.

Here are eleven data sources (in no particular order) that have KML files ready and waiting for you to download. For some of these you will need to read the instructions associated with the KML to understand what you are looking at and what special features are enabled. Some have multiple datasets within a single KML file — others include animations. Often when you open them in Google Earth they will start out with either a helpful note or a built in graphical key.

Have a favorite KML formatted government data set I missed? Please share it in the comments. I found many of these by starting in Goggle’s US Government Search and searching for Google Earth.

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2 Comments

  1. John Ridener says:

    Thanks for this post. I’m constantly looking for easily accessible sources of geospatial data for library users from undergraduates to professors here at the UC Berkeley Earth Sciences and Map Library. This is a fantastic list!

  2. RB says:

    Even though the weather service page says it is KML/KMZ, there’s no data, at least not on the several searches I did from there. It was all ESRI shp files.

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