Adding topo lines to Google-Earth maps?

I have a little project bouncing around in my head. I want to print out a map of the Baja Peninsula with topographic lines at 1000’-1500’ elevations. Does anyone know how to overlay topo lines in Google-Earth, or is there another avenue I can explore to make this printout?
I have an atlas of the Peninsula (The Baja Almanac) which has topo lines which I could conceivably print out and highlight these elevation lines but that would be a huge undertaking. I’d much rather be able to create a map on the computer and just print out the map in sections that I could then cut and paste back together -ultimately giving me something with a peninsula about 2-2.5 feet from border to Cabo.

I took a GIS class in college that taught you how to use various programs of the day (ArcInfo was one if my memory serves) so hitting up the local universities Geography department might be something else to look into. Anyone out there with these sort of skills that can point me in the right direction?

I only know how to overlay actual topo maps onto GE, not just the lines, sorry.

INEGI, the Mexican federal agency which produces their topo maps, has a good website. They sell vector files for each layer shown on the maps – what you’d want is the elevation contours (“curvas de nivel”) for the 1:250,000 series for Baja (probably as many as ten maps), or the million series (probably one or two maps). They may be available for free via the website these days, but maybe not. You could then register for the free version of ArcGIS Online, and view the vector file (probably a “polyline feature class”) over the ESRI imagery basemap, and select only the lines you want to see.

INEGI has an online GIS web portal that might allow you to view contour lines over an imagery basemap, so you could skip the ArcGIS Online stuff – but you probably won’t have the option of displaying things just as you want to (worth a try, though).

Or, you might try to do everything in ArcGIS Online (skip the INEGI stuff), by searching for a free vector layer via their search routine after you’ve registered for the free version.

On Google Earth there’s a hamburger menu at the top left which gives you the “Terrain” setting, and if you zoom in close enough it shows topographical elevation lines, but not in the wider view.

That’s Google Maps, not Google Earth, they’re not the same thing.

Barely. And not in ways that affect what the OP is after.

Thanks MrDibble, I ran across that site last night but couldn’t get it to turn on in Google-Earth. I sent the link to a couple of tech-savvy friends to see if they could bang through my learning curve for me. My frustration is their challenge!
One thing I noticed when trying to install the data was the NGS_Topo_US_2D file you need to load up. I suspect this file will just have US mapping and may not have any data for the Baja peninsula?

Thanks for the quick reply!

Jkellymap, I’ll look into this info this weekend. Sounds like you are familiar with some of the programs that can do the job. I’ll let you know what I come across.

I tried fooling around with this setting last night but would like something that I can highlight topo lines across a larger area. I wouldn’t mind printing out and piecing together a dozen pages to get a final map of the peninsula, but if it takes dozens and I still have to highlight the contours by hand I’d go nuts.

What about adding gigio lines?

I’ll google it, but what are gigio lines and how do you add them?

Google Earth has hamburgers? Why wasn’t I informed of this?

For handling vector files – what you knew as certain “coverages” in ArcINFO days – your free options include ArcGIS Online’s free version, and the open source QGIS.

QGIS has, I think, too steep a learning curve for what you want to do.

If you want to make an oblique-angle image – like you can with Google Earth, but not Goigle Maps (in other words, a view from which you could see mountains look like mountains, etc.), that would require serious GIS skills and be nearly impossible with the two options I mentioned above.

If you really want an oblique perspective, you’re better off fiddling with vector kml files in Google Earth (or may need to pay for Google Earth Pro). I wouldn’t know how to obtain free elevation contour kml files for México, but they may be out there.

Just today I heard a talk about where Mexican government kml vector files are available for free – the URL was something like Try googling that, plus kml, plus maybe curvas de nivel, and see what comes up. Displaying vector kmls on Google Earth should be easy, but you might not have much choice in his they’re displayed (color, thickness, etc.)

Well, “Kiss me goodnight, Eddie” comes to mind.