Maidenhead grid for Google Earth by OH2ECG

Introduction

On this page you can download a simple Windows program that will create an overlay for Google Earth that displays the Maidenhead grid. The Maidenhead grid is used extensively by radio amateurs to easily provide location information in a very condensed form. This overlay grid gets more detailed as you zoom in to the Google Earth display and it covers the grid down to the subsquare level, ie. from field (for example KP) and square (for example KP20) to subsquare (for example KP20JI).

Using the software

The software is delivered as a single executable MaidenheadGridByOH2ECG.exe. Download the software to an empty directory on your computer using the link at the end of this page. Even though the software itself is very small, you will need roughly 22 gigabytes of free space on your harddrive to store all the files created while running it.

Double click the downloaded file or use your preferred method to start the software. Once the program is started, it will display the progress in a console window similar to this:

The progress is shown as field values going from AA to RR, ie. the complete range of Maidenhead grid field values. Depending on your computer it may take a long time for the program to complete. On my 3.2 GHz Core2 Duo processor equipped computer it takes roughly 20 minutes.

If you ran the program in a command window, you'll see this kind of messages in the end:

If you ran it by double clicking the executable in Windows Explorer, the console window will simply be closed upon completion.

Loading the grid to Google Earth

Once the program has finished, start your Google Earth software and use the File / Open command to open a kml file. Browse to the directory where you saved and ran the MaidenheadGridByOH2ECG.exe program. In this directory you will find a new kml file named MaidenheadGridByOH2ECG.kml. Select and open that. Now it will take a few seconds for Google Earth to load the file. When it is done, you will see the globe like this:

Spin and zoom the globe as you like and approach your point of interest. When you zoom close enough, you will see 4-character squares inside the 2-character fields:

Zooming even further down you will see the 6-character subsquares:

Loading individual squares

If you are not interested in global grid coverage, you can simply open one or more squares from the sq subdirectory created by the program. Each of the 32400 squares around the globe are present there in a correspondingly named kml file.

Disclaimers

This software is purely a personal contribution, it is not a product of Finnish Steel Design Trading Ltd.

I've created this software as a programming exercise to get myself familiar with the kml file format. I provide this software free of charge to the ham radio community and other parties who may find it interesting or useful. There is no support and absolutely no guarantees for this software.

You are free to use this software for any purpose be it personal, academic or commercial as long as you understand and comply with all the conditions presented in this section ('Disclaimers'), otherwise you are not allowed to download or use this software.

These terms apply to the software available for public download at the moment. The terms of possible future versions of this software may change at any time without prior notice.

Download

Please read the disclaimers in the above section first. Once you've read and agreed to them you can download the latest version of the grid overlay software from here:

Download Maidenhead grid for Google Earth by OH2ECG v1.1 (45 kilobytes)

Alternative smaller ready-to-use version

If you only need 4-character locator coverage, you can download this alternative ready-to-use kmz-file:

Download smaller 4-character Maidenhead grid for Google Earth by OH2ECG (1 megabyte)

Feedback

If you have any comments about this software, you're welcome to e-mail me to oh2ecg@sral.fi. If you are a ham radio operator and find it useful, your paper QSL card via the bureau as a simple greeting without QSO info would be appreciated.

Version history


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8th July 2017
73 de Ari Paananen OH2ECG