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Queensland Globe – Nearly Nearmap

Earth from space

Queensland Globe free spatial data

We’ve taken the loss of Nearmap hard but now here in Queensland is something pretty close. I have to say I’m very relieved.

Queensland Globe (QG) is a Queensland Government open data initiative which uses Google Earth (GE) to present a variety of spatial data and they are progressively adding more.

[button link=”” style=”info” color=”orange” window=”yes”]Learn more of QLD Globe[/button]

Queensland Globe Pro

You will want to use qglobepro instead of regular qglobe, but it’s hidden away. Download the .kml file, open it and GE will start up with checkboxes for QG data in the Layers pane on the left.

[button link=”” style=”download” color=”aqua” window=”yes”]QLD Globe Pro kml[/button]

Remember you need to switch off terrain features or you will have a parallax view which is no use for mapping:

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  1. In GE: Tools / Options / 3D View / Elevation Exaggeration = 0.01.
  2. In the QG checkboxes: Terrain = Off.


Queensland Globe screen
Queensland Globe screen

Here is why Queensland Globe is special

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  • The aerial photography is reasonably up to date in the areas I have looked; it’s not as good as Nearmap, but a lot better than Google Maps (GM).
  • The aerial photography has been selected for clarity, unlike GM, which can be murky, shadowed and useless.
  • The orthorectification of the aerial photography appears to be quite accurate.
  • Photography is high definition – again better than GM but not as good as Nearmap.
  • It has 10m contours which look reasonably good.


But Queensland Globe is not perfect:

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  • No georeferencing information is available, but see below.
  • Contours disappear when you zoom in very close.
  • Cadastre is unreliable and sometimes appears only when zoomed out too far for usefulness. Just keep trying.
  • Images can’t be downloaded, you have to take screenshots.



Here is how to add georeferencing information to the GE / GQ image. Download the Gridlines Manager .kml file.

[button link=”” style=”download” color=”aqua” window=”yes”]Gridlines Manager kml[/button]

This one appears in the Place pane in GE (I’m not sure how or why) and will remain there for future use. (It seems to be necessary to load the QG KML file each time.) Switch on 0.1km grid lines as well as the QG imagery and contours, take a screenshot and you have an image which you can easily load into Ocad and print out for fieldworking.

Once again the gridlines are not entirely reliable, sometimes they don’t display, I think because the system relies upon the availability of a server somewhere to provide the data.

How to load the image in Ocad? I find it’s easiest to import a GPX track somewhere in the vicinity of your map, as this fixes up your map’s Coordinate System, Zone and Offset, and locates you near where you want to be. Now in Ocad go to Map | Set Scale etc and set a grid distance of 100m. Switch on the grid and you can now load the QG image and adjust to the gridlines.

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