I wish to use Google Earth to visualise and explore 3D atmospheric density data. In my case it is ionospheric electron density, which is a niche area, but I can imagine this might have been done by someone to display say atmospheric moisture content or pollution levels (or volcanic ash plumes??).

I am new to KML files, but reading over the developer guide it isn't obvious how best to go about this. Would you slice your 3D density data into many 2D layers and use < altitude > elements? Or would it be better to use grid the data into many small cubes and use < polygon >s? Or some other option?

I'm sure this has been done before, but I couldn't find any suitable examples.

  • What sort of format is your 3D data in? My first thought was Sketch Up, not sure if it would be useful but you can put 3D models of building in with it, so I would think you could put things above ground too.
    – eseglem
    May 20, 2013 at 22:06
  • I have a parametrised model describing the 3D density field. I can output this into any required format. May 21, 2013 at 12:22
  • It might be useful if you can describe why you want to visualise it? Are you just trying for nice pictures, or are you trying to find "something" over time, or over distance, or over altitude? What is the "something" that your visualisation is aimed to explore?
    – BradHards
    Sep 22, 2013 at 23:52
  • You might also consider Nasa Worldwind that is designed for such kind of overlays, as this example of Wifis present: wiki.opennet-initiative.de/wiki/Benutzer:Thm/…
    – Mapper
    Jan 11, 2014 at 13:17

1 Answer 1


Something like this:


But you will have to put this in a geo-database, like postgres.

I've managed something simular, with building geometrie. In the database the geometrie was a multipolygon. In one column I set the height parametervield.

You could do the same with pointfeatures and also timeparameter....

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.