Utilities : Google Maps / Google Earth marine

Categories :

1/ Submarine cables

2/ Shipwrecks (French coasts)

3/ Coastal orthophoto

4/ Aerial photos

5/ Marine raster charts NEW

6/ Marine vector maps

7/ World tide predictions

8/ Bathymetry

9/ Weather

10/ Magnetic declination

11/ Live AIS (Automatic Identification System) vessel tracking

12/ Navigation tool :
parallel profiles for bathymetric surveys

Other links :

Google Ocean shown at the
Google Geo Developer Day (12th june 2006)

 Google Ocean

Google Maps & Google Earth as visualization tools for marine data

Share | | |

Google Maps (GM) on the web and Google Earth (GE) as a 3D interactive atlas software application are ideal tools for sharing geographical information in a simple way.
GE as a mass-market visualization product is definitely a new step in the evolution of mapping and GIS, especially in the way it can be used with a couple of mouse clicks by anybody not expert in cartography.

So this webpage is the MIS contribution to this unique method of information gathering to share detailed information in the marine domain waiting Google 3D Maps for Oceans (may be with Google Oceans as a product name, but name can change on its launch -probably on the 2nd of February, 2009-), the future release of the Google project under research to create visualization tools for marine data throughout the world and will enable users to navigate below the sea surface. (CNET article)

"How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean." Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Indeed, Google launched in 2007 an advisory group ('Google Oceans Advisory Council' with 18 elite members, consisting mainly of oceanographers) to discuss creating a 3D map of the oceans.
Some think that this could be an underwater version of "Google Earth" which could stimulate a lot of new interest in oceanography for showing sea behaviours, changing temperatures, weather patterns...

To get some ideas of the features we hope to see in this future implementation :

  • GeoCoastPilot and GeoNav3D by CCOM/UNH
  • COVE, a visual environment for Ocean Observatories
  • Virtual Ocean, a WW Java application developed at LDEO as part of the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS)

So waiting this new software arrives, just , click on the different Placemarks links and you will be able to discover different marine data from your desktop.

Google just releases a new version of Google Earth v.5.0
on the 2nd of February 2009
allowing the exploration of the oceans

"Take a plunge into the oceans of the world"
Google Earth v.5.0

1/ Submarine cables

Open this Placemark

Note : waiting the arrival of seafloor DTM in future versions of GE (3D ocean mapping is on a to-do list of possible future enhancements, according to Google Earth CTO Michael Jones's GIS day talk), all the geographical positions of the submarine cables are given in negative altitudes (depths).

Open this Placemark

France Telecom & KingFisher cables via kmz file in Google Maps :

2/ Shipwrecks (French coasts)

  • data courtesy of narcose29 (shipwrecks in Brittany, France, converted from ED50 datum to WGS84)
    (reproduction authorization from Michel, diver and creator of the original website)

Open this Placemark

Google Maps : paste
into the search form at

  • data from Epaves (more than 3600 shipwrecks : France, Belgium, UK)

Open this Placemark
kmz file (with 2006 data) download no more available,
reproduction authorization refused by new site in 2008

Open this Placemark
kmz file download unavailable, reproduction authorization refused by SHOM

About 4000 shipwrecks and 800 obstructions in Google Maps
unavailable access, reproduction authorization refused by SHOM

Note : as it's impossible to load several thousands of markers directly with Google Maps, MIS has developed some tools to achieve this feature, allowing to set and run a geographical database (PostgreSQL/PostGIS) with all the data for order to only plot selective markers on the displayed map corresponding to the screen area.

3/ Coastal orthophoto

  • data from siglittoral Ortholittorale 2000 : tiles originally in Lambert IIe / NGF (MrSid format)

Open these Placemarks :
273-1832.kmz 274-1832.kmz 275-1832.kmz 276-1832.kmz
273-1831.kmz 274-1831.kmz 275-1831.kmz 276-1831.kmz
273-1830.kmz 274-1830.kmz 275-1830.kmz 276-1830.kmz
273-1829.kmz 274-1829.kmz 275-1829.kmz 276-1829.kmz

Note : originally, MIS has developed in 2006 some multi-resolution mosaicking tools to keep high resolution pictures of large areas in Google Earth.
It seems there is some tricky behaviour in Google Earth concerning image overlays : all tiles fade out at the edges (global MIP map image processing tool chain issue concerning their client image overlay component ?); therefore the tiles are overlapping to get a seamless image...
But we have choosen to not artificially overlap the different mosaïc tiles (cheating in the original positions of the edges in the goal to conserve a seamless vision).

With the arrival of kml v.2, MIS proposes 'network links' GM or GE solutions with possibilities of including affordable web hosting solutions (>>> see GeoGarage ) to allow easy and speedy visualization of large overlay areas such as high resolution aerial orthophotos.

So Ortholittorale 2000 is another example demonstrating that GeoGarage is able to manage a colossal volume of imagery. Actually, about 28500 raster tiles (each with a size of 1 km2 and a resolution of 2000x2000 pixels, 50 cm GSD) have been downloaded from siglittoral website.
These coastal low tide orthophotographies (different from those presented on the Geoportail french national geoportal) covering all the Atlantic and Channel French littoral area represents 31.34 Gb of MrSid compressed image data (322 Gb in GeoTIFF format).
They have been mosaiced with Quadtrimageo process developped by MIS, generating about 3 millions of PNG/JPG small georeferenced raster tiles hosted by the GeoGarage web spatial image server.

viewable in 2D with the GeoGarage Flash viewer / with Google Maps

  • data from Brest Metropole Oceane : tiles originally in Lambert I / NGF (jpeg format) available under Creatice Commons license (Brest Moulin Blanc Harbour with Oceanopolis, aerial photo realized in september 2004 -resolution : 20 cm-)

Open this Placemark :

NEW : right now MIS proposes 'network links' GM or GE solutions with possibilities of including affordable web hosting solutions (>>> see GeoGarage ) to allow easy and speedy visualization of large overlay areas such as high resolution aerial orthophotos.

MIS has created some network links from the original file from Brest Metropole Océane.
(1.573 gigabytes in ECW format / 11.25 gigapixels image -125000 x 90000 pixels-)

- viewable in 2D with the GeoGarage Flash viewer / with Google Maps
- in 3D with Google Earth : Brest_vu_du_ciel.kml

4/ Coastal aerial photos

  • data from SHOM : French aerial photos of the French Atlantic (252 pictures from Spanish border to Saint Malo) and Mediterranean (648 pictures) coasts (GE markers with direct hyperlinks to French Hydrographic Service website which sells these photos in high resolution -30 x 40 cm or 40 x 50 cm format-)

Open this Placemark

Update : in November 2008, SHOM has removed their folder of pictures from their website.
So, our kmz network link is no more operational for viewing the demo pictures.

  • data from Francecoastline (2006) : about 15000 French aerial photos of the all the French coasts (Channel, Atlantic and Medterranean) (GE markers with direct hyperlinks to Pascal Le Fichant website which sells these photos in high resolution - 45 x 30 cm or 30 x 20 cm professional quality paper-)

Open this Placemark

Also, from spin-off websites from the same author (Pascal Le Fichant) :
kmz file (with 2006 data) download no more available, reproduction authorization refused by Pascal Le Fichant in 2008
Open this Placemark French Islands (3000 aerial photos from
Open this Placemark British Islands (850 aerial photos from

5/ Marine raster chart

  • data from Iroise Marine Park : chart describing wildlife, flora and sea resident in the Iroise Marine Park (France) originally in pdf converted in png image (600 dpi) and manually georeferenced.
  • data from 1yachtua : Mediterranean nautical charts including different scales maps (Port Monaco 1:15000 / Menton 1 : 20000) originally in GIF format, Mercator projection / ED50, manually georeferenced
  • data from NOAA : nautical chart originally in BSB (.kap) format, Mercator projection / NAD83

Note : MIS has originally developed in 2006 some image manipulation and editing tools (borders'crop) for BSB nautical chart plus image reprojection
The original chart has been cut horizontally in several pieces to keep its original resolution in GE v.3 because of the size of the raster chart leading to significant slowdowns : waiting a possible implementation in Google Earth of ISO-standard JPEG2000 image compression format storing geo-location metadata (using for example some KMLJP2 implementation such as GMLJP2 OpenGIS GML grammar...)

NEW : right now with kml version 2.1 and superoverlay features of GE v.4, MIS proposes 'network links' GM or GE solutions allowing to fetch KML data from remote servers.
MIS offers affordable web hosting solutions (GeoGarage) to allow easy and speedy visualization of large overlay areas such as very high resolution maps.

>>> BSB chart network link (for GE v.4) example for Casco Bay chart : BSB_13290.kml

About 1018 NOAA raster nautical charts (RNC/BSB/KAP format) stored in the GeoGarage can be viewed online with Google Maps (public access) or Google Earth (private access) with advanced quilting process (mosaic image with removed borders -map collars- for a seamless rendering display of multiple charts).
So the user can access through Google viewers to all the range of NOAA raster maps, zooming in and out, panning in a continuous way for selecting the specified map scale automatically (so the appropriate map), by simply sliding the mouse roll.

NOAA maps in Google Earth (video) : the network link is available through some private access

with Google Maps, in full screen with full transparency management via layer opacity sliders
(for terrestrial maps and orthophoto overlay) and Google local search (marinas, harbour services...)
(NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION),-95.625&sspn=50.287703,81.914062&ie=UTF8
with GM classical solution :
crude display when zooming
with the GeoGarage solution :
perfect display at larger scales

11/21/2006 : Google gives the ability to show simple kml/kmz files (as made in GE) in GM : so you can add your own imagery directly on top of GM. To view a kml or kmz file on GM, just go to GM, and instead of searching for a geographical address, search for a complete web address (including the "http://" part) of your kmz file.
But this is only OK for crude display of low-resolution raster files and with some approximated geo-positionning : GM uses Mercator projection and GE Plate Carrée (geographical) projection

NEW : as the size of the chart is important, you will see it's quite long (or even impossible) to view the map using kml embedded raster file solution : so the basic overlayer in GM is not appropriate in this case without any raster tiling solutions.
That's why MIS has developed the GeoGarage spatial image server solution which can also be associated to the Google Maps viewer : raster charts tiling solution, with hosting possibilities.

In March 2010, Magic Instinct Software has launched Marine GeoGarage, the nautical charts web portal

Our website is dedicated to any sailor or mariner who plans to study his next trip at sea, comfortably installed at home.

Marine GeoGarage has figured out a way to overlay a complete set of nautical raster charts over Google Maps.
So nautical charts can be viewed online with advanced quilting process (mosaic image with removed borders -map collars- for a seamless rendering display of multiple charts), zooming in and out, panning in a continuous way for selecting the specified map scale automatically (so the appropriate map), by simply sliding the mouse roll, with full transparency management via layer opacity sliders (for terrestrial maps and orthophoto overlay) and Google local search (marinas, harbour services...)

Marine GeoGarage proposes a feature (without any Login process) where the user can drop waypoints and create custom routes but which can also be saved if the user asks for a free account.

What is really cool about the site is that you can export out those saved routes and move them over directly to your Garmin GPS unit via the Garmin Communicator Plugin.

Marine GeoGarage is world's first nautical charts web portal -with data directly coming from International Hydrographic Services- built as a Software as a Service (SaaS) available in free and pay-per-use model.

What Marine GeoGarage changes is the concept of nautical electronic charts viewing:
you don't "own" anymore the charts, just "use" them and share them, anytime, anywhere you are via computer, mobile phone or any other Internet enabled personal device.
The Cloud computing part of the service provides some resources in back-end to ensure regular processes for updating the charts (more than 3500 today) coming from the following international Hydrographic Services :

  • Linz NZ
  • DHN Brazil
  • SHN Argentina
  • CHS Canada
  • AHS Australia

6/ Marine vector maps

Open this Placemark
(10.2 Mb)

  • World maritime boundaries (EEZ Exclusive Economic Zone is the zone extending 200 Nautical Miles from the baseline) : data from VLIZ : original data in shapefile
  • ENC cells (Electronic Navigational Charts) catalogue in s-57/s-63 format : data from Primar

7/ Tide predictions for around the globe

  • tidal information - current tides for over 7500 harbors - based on Xtide, the harmonic Tide Predictor and one of the many web server xttpd applications located at the University of Udinese (Italy)

8/ Bathymetry

  • data from National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) : bathymetry and topography, 2 minute global relief, seafloor data from the work of Smith and Sandwell (1997) , NAVOCEANO and IBCAO plus GLOBE project for the land data.
  • data from user tracklines with depth info on Olex seafloor mapping software :
    chart originally in TIFF format, Mercator projection / WGS84
    (reproduction authorization from Camille Clavier, fisherman in Saint Jean de Luz, France )
sun-illuminated DTM
depth contours (isobaths)

Note : MIS has developed some georeferencing tools for Olex screenshots and for Olex user data.
If you are an Olex user, you can get the Ruter2kml converter allowing the visualization of your own user data (marks, tracks, routes, lines, areas) in Google Earth

  • export data (xyz) from Olex automatic seafloor mapping with color tiles (1mx1m) representing submetric bathymetric cells and depths values from 2 diving sites around Groix island (France)
    3D views : Olex (picture1 / picture2) - Surfer (picture1 / picture2)
    Picture2 : 80m german war shipwreck 'Sperrbrecher 134 (Argo Rederei)'

Open this Placemark

9/ Weather

  • worldwide clouds overlay : data from xplanet (global cloud map updated every 3 hours using GOES, METEOSAT and GMS satellite imagery downloaded from Geostationary Satellite Imagery page at Dundee University) and compiled by Hari Nair

Note : Chris Parsons has improved the process using some Perl+ImageMagick code to to grab the image, copy the same image over the alpha channel and save it as a png : try Global transparent cloud map. He makes it nicer modifying the satellite images to put transparency where there are no clouds (so the Earth comes through clearlier).

GOES 8 Europe Open this Placemark
GOES 12 Atlantic Open this Placemark
GOES Indian Open this Placemark
GOES East Pacific Open this Placemark
GOES 10 Eastern South Pacific Open this Placemark
MTSAT West Australia Open this Placemark
MTSAT East Australia Open this Placemark

daily picture Open this Placemark
animation (15 first days in February 2006) Open this Placemark

  • worldwide surf buoys forecasts : surf height from primary swell from stormsurf, a Californian website dedicated to delivering the highest quality marine weather data to those who ride waves. created by Mark Sponsler, a self-taught surf meteorologist and a big wave surfer

Open this Placemark

  • worldwide weather buoys and stations : from NDBC, US National Buoy Data Center (NOAA) with wind speed, air pressure and other sensors data, latest satellite wind map (QuickSCAT) and SST/Wave Height from Weatherunderground

10/ World Magnetic Declination

  • Main Field Declination (D) : US/UK World Magnetic Model - Epoch 2005.0

11/ AIS vessel tracking

  • Live vessel tracking with some AIS/VHF receiver (Icom IF-M505AISN) located in Nantes, automatically sending VDM raw data to our GeoGarage server via a dedicated serial/Ethernet interface connected to some Internet ADSL router (no need of PC).
Entrance of the Loire estuaire :
Nantes/Saint Nazaire (Google Maps)
(Autorization for reproduction n°140/2008
for SHOM nautical maps n°7395 et 7396)
port Autonome de Guadeloupe :
Pointe à  Pitre (Google Maps)

(Autorization for reproduction n°409/2009
for SHOM nautical maps n°6948, 7100 & 7345)
with marine raster map overlay
AIS data courtesy of University of the Aegan

12/ Google Maps marine navigation tool : creation of parallel transects for bathymetric surveys

  • this tools consits of obtaining parallel profiles across the survey area introducing on the map 2 geographical points (generally perpendicular to the general trend of the shore) and an uniformly-spacing distance between a selected number of profiles
  • possibility to save the result in Olex format, kml for Google Earth display or CVS for spreadsheet and to play with a simulation tool to help to manage the reduction of costs involved with echo soundings (calculating ETA on waypoints introducing boat speed for each leg)
Google Maps mashup :

Note : all theses data have been converted from their original projection and datum to :

  • Mercator projection / WGS84 datum for Google Maps
  • Plate Carree projection / WGS84 datum for Google Earth.

Other international marine kml/kmz links :

Google Tech Talks, December 16, 2008
Google's Spatial Tools in the Marine Environment
Decision Support Presented by: Kurt Schwehr
For more informations
Technico-commercial service :