Quick links: Download the files from here
Please note that in order to use the Google Earth Coverage Maps, you must have the following:
- Google Earth 4.0 or later
- A very good 3D graphics card
- Lots of RAM
- Fast internet connection
- BitTorrent client for downloading the files
If you need general help with Google Earth or BitTorrent clients, you might find some useful information at the following places:
Google Earth on Wikipedia
Google Earth home page
BitTorrent on Wikipedia
uTorrent home page (Win)
Vuze home page (Mac/Win)
Transmission home page (Linux/Mac)
: These coverage overlay files are very large, so they have been organized into metro-sized packages to keep their download sizes manageable. Browse through the list of metro packages to find the package that is most appropriate for your location. This list won't cover everyone because the size of the overlays makes it impractical to support every possible location, however, most people should be able to find 1 or 2 packages that include their local transmitters.
If you are looking for the coverage map of a specific broadcast, you can try searching through the Callsign List, located here
Click on the torrent link for the package(s) that you want. You should be able to open the torrent file with your BitTorrent client to start the download process. You can monitor the progress of the download in your BitTorrent client.
NOTE: If you are interested in downloading all of the metro packages at the same time, there is a torrent link at the bottom of the metro list that allows you to do just that. However, be aware that you must have a very high speed internet connection and lots of disk space to even attempt such a large download.
: Once your BitTorrent client indicates that the download is complete, you can then open the *.kmz file in Google Earth.
As soon as the file is opened, you should see an aerial view of the world with several red and green dots marked on the landscape. Those dots mark the locations of the transmitters in the area (red=analog channels, green=digital channels). By default, the coverage maps are not visible when the file is initially loaded.
To see the available coverage maps, you'll need to click on the "+" sign next to "Tx maps On/Off" (look in the folders on the left hand side of the screen). This will expand the folder containing a list of all the included coverage maps.
: The transmitters are listed with the digital ones first, followed by the analog ones. If you are looking for a specific transmitter, the maps are sorted alphabetically by their call sign. To view the coverage map for any of the transmitters, just click on the circle to the left of the transmitter's call sign. The map will begin loading, and within a few seconds, you should see the colored map appear on top of the terrain.
At this point, you can use the 3D controls of Google Earth to fly around, tilt, zoom, and rotate your view to examine the coverage map any way you like. You can select a different coverage map at any time and see how well all the different stations are reaching your neighborhood.
: The terrain variations are easier to see if you set the terrain exaggeration to 3 (max) in the Google Earth options.
If you click on any of the transmitter icons, a balloon will pop up with a few vital stats about the transmitter plus a link to the FCC's transmitter web site.
If you would like to see screen shots of some of these steps, you can view this guide here