How To Publish a Cut Fill Map to Google Earth?

In this post we will cover how to publish a Cut Fill Map to Google Earth from TBC.

Data that can be published to Google Earth

Lines (including Polygons, rectangles, circles, polylines, linestrings etc.)

Lines and Text will carry the color of the source data from TBC whether the colors are specified as a specific color or By Layer.

Cut Fill Maps - if you select a Cut Fill Map the Text of the CF Map along with the 0 contour of the CF Map are exported, however Text coloring is set to Black - the map will not carry the text colors for Cut and Fill if applied. The Cut Fill Map colors will not be transferred this way - use the Capture Image command to publish a Cut Fill or Site Improvement Map or an Ortho Photo etc. to Google Earth.

Surfaces TINs - Explode using Extract Surface Features to create 3D lines and then select those and export to Google Earth. Note that if you export at Absolute, anything below the terrain in Google Earth will be invisible. If you raise all lines using Change Elevation Command then you can send them out as Absolute vs Clamp to Ground and get a 3D view that works well - it is high comparted to Google Earth but you can see it in context.

Cut Fill Maps - Place a Plot Box around the area of the Cut Fill Map and then use the Capture Image Command to capture an image in PNG format (because of transparency support) - this creates the image in the Project Snapshots folder with a KML sidecar file. Find the KML file in the snapshots folder and double click it to load the image into Google Earth. If you want to see the Text of a Cut Fill Map in Google Earth you may need to use a smaller plot box and 300 DPI vs a Larger Plot box and 120 DPI resolution. 120 DPI allows you to capture a larger plot box area in Capture Image command at lower resolution which is good for the coloring of the Cut Fill Map or the Site Improvement Map for a Project, however text will be a little blurry or unreadable vs a 300 DPI image which is highly readable

Image below shows a TIN Model and CF Map captured at 300 DPI placed in Google Earth for a Project in construction (Google Earth imagery is relatively recent).


Maps / Images that can be published to Google Earth

PDF File Images (Use Capture Image command)
Cut Fill Map Images (Use Capture Image command)
Site Improvement Map (Use Capture Image Command)
Ortho Photos (Use Capture Image Command)

An image format like PNG or TIFF or JPEG has a finite size per image. The image can be published at 96, 120 or 300 DPI, however with increasing DPI, the image area has to decrease to maintain the required image resolution. Scale also plays a part in this process as far as TBC is concerned i.e. a Plot Box is defined in Inches or Meters at a scale i.e. a Plot Box which is 10 inches by 10 inches at 50 scale will be 500 x 500 feet on the ground in plan view. at 300 DPI this becomes 300x10 by 300x10 Pixels ie 9,000,000 pixels.

Key Points

  • Always use a .PNG file as the output format from the Capture Image Command because that has Transparency and looks the best in Google Earth.
  • For images use the Clamp to Ground Option to drape the images over the Google Earth Surface
  • For linework and text, either use Clamp to ground to drape the lines / text on the Google Earth Surface so that you can clearly see the data, or you can raise the data in TBC using the Change Elevation Command so that it will sit above the Google Eartjh Surface in Google Earth.

I just discovered exporting the cut/fill label grids. Which should be just as good as the red/blue shade. Now if the color of the labels was able to be exported. As when the lables are exported they are changed to grey color.

Currently I use the “Capture Image” command. I save as a png so it is transparent. It automatically creates a kmz file.

This is a bug inside TBC where if you have plotboxes overlap each other. The images in Google Earth get shifted. I have some plotboxes that overlapped and Google Earth shifted those images. Bit of a pain doing a plot for each box.

The problem is that the earth is round Frank - rectangles and spheres don’t match up unfortunately - the corners of boxes drawn NS EW in TBC do not create a seamless set of images in Google Earth as a result because GE works in WGS84 spherical coords and TBC works in a projection (State Plane) and while individual point locations or lines can be approximated to the WGS system they will never match perfectly.


Will just have to do multiple plot boxes and then a single one for Google Earth. There are times when we are asked to make a Cut/Fill map to upload into HCSS. Which multiple sheets is okay for this and then I can hand out the KMZ with one single Cut/Fill map…

Hello this may be an old topic, but for anyone wondering if you use “capture Image” and then save as PNG. You can then go open it into google earth and right click on the file name (KMZ that is check marked) and click on “save place as” you then can send that KMZ to others that are in the field, I did this mainly so you can open the file on your phone rather then a laptop or desktop. Hope this helps.

I export the cut/fill label to Google Earth. which TBC allows the labels to be exported. not the surface which personally would rather see a number than colors. what I do is export to GE, save the XML and them import that XML into a website called “my maps” which is part of Google Maps. this allows me to have a link to that map and share the link on our HCSS projects. using this link and having the Google Map app allows you to walk using your GPS location and seeing the cut or fill as you walk and read the label. still missing with the text size and the text spzcing

Yes I believe somewhat of the same idea although I do prefer the colors as a quick visual reference, the only thing that I would like to try is adding contours to the KMZ

one set back on capture image. you will need to have your Coord System setup or bring in an image into TBC. if, i do capture image in TBC. i will open a new TBC and import the items i need from the other project. Then set my coordinate system and adjust my local site to match my project with the background map.