I tried with what was available in Geoserver Layer preview as kml. It gives the geom itself at higher zooms, not the image for that area.

What to do to get only the png/jpeg images from Geoserver and show it in Google Earth, over normal satellite view?

2 Answers 2


Instead of creating a KML file then using that to access Google Earth, you can instead add your GeoServer WMS directly as an overlay as below:

That's it

Google Earth pop-up windows showing how to add a WMS URL for use as Image Overlay

The above example use a MapServer WMS service but it's no different from a GeoServer WMS.

Let's look at the GeoServer WMS service provided by the Delaware Geological Survey

A GetCapabilities request has a URL like:


Some example GetMap requests are:



You can click on these GetMap links and they will show you some maps in your browser.

When we want to see the the Delaware maps in Google earth, using the above procedure, we just specify the part of the above URLS up to and including the question mark. This part of the URL is known as the service end point.

That is, in this example:


When we add this URL to the dialogue and then select the Geology layer we get the below map within Google Earth.

Delaware geology in Google Earth served by GeoServer WMS

  • At: 'Add the URL to your service (without parameters) for example something like' , what to enter for a Geoserver layer. I tried many, all gives "WMS capability fetch failes".
    – Kumar
    Mar 15, 2014 at 9:40
  • You need to add the GeoServer service URL only in this location. Layer information is added in the next section.
    – nmtoken
    Mar 15, 2014 at 17:41
  • Geoserver service URL - if you know please give an example. I cant get any working URL. Is there anything needs to be enabled to make the Geoserver to work as intended.
    – Kumar
    Mar 17, 2014 at 7:55
  • I've updated the answer to show a specific GeoServer example, though the original example should I think show the pattern expected. Can you perhaps give the URL to your service?
    – nmtoken
    Mar 17, 2014 at 11:42
  • 1
    You'll need to use a WMS URL that is visible to the public, rather than an internal one I think.
    – nmtoken
    Mar 19, 2014 at 18:04

In addition to the extremely helpful and very clear explanation from nmtoken, I found it helpful to adjust the View-Based Refresh settings to 1 second and a View Bound Scale of 1.5. This didn't eat up much more resource, and it made slight adjustments in the viewport less tiresome.

Edit: My image quality was much poorer in Google Earth than the same service in QGIS. I found this article, https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/maps/qmokppwDjvU;context-place=topicsearchin/maps/category$3Adesktop-app%7Csort:relevance%7Cspell:false, that instructed how to improve resolution by editing the Image Overlay Link Address from: http://yadayada=EPSG:4326&WIDTH=516&HEIGHT=516&LAYERS=yadayada to: http://yadayada=EPSG:4326&WIDTH=1920&HEIGHT=1920&LAYERS=yadayada

@nmtoken rescued my favorite Google Earth web service!

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