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Google Earth – Complete US Air Routes

February 6th, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

USA Flight Map: All Routes, All Airlines - Google EarthA couple of weeks ago I put together a small collection of Google Earth airline route maps for various countries. These work interactively, using mouse hovers over airport Icons to activate and reveal destinations.

The previous files each had fewer than a thousand routes, and were fairly limited in scope. So, I was wondering, how effectively do these scale up ? As it turns out, surprisingly well.

The following Google Earth networklink opens a file including 13287 scheduled routes within the USA, between 714 airports.

Flight Maps (USA) (2 MB)

Data is from the US Bureau of Transportation’s most recent monthly flight stats: October 2007. Strictly speaking it’s not really a route map in the same way as my other files – rather, it’s a map showing where scheduled airlines flew that particular month.

Viewing Suggestions:

  • Because of the high number of placemarks and long distances involved, this all looks much better full screen [F11].
  • To permanently lock on a set of lines:
    1. Right click on the entire file, a folder or airport,
    2. Go to Properties,
    3. Select the Style, Color tab,
    4. Then increase the line opacity.
    5. Hit OK.
    6. The only way to fully reverse this, and get the mouse over effect back,  is to re-download or re-open the file.  To do this within GE: right-click on the root folder: US Flight Maps, and select refresh.
  • Don’t forget you can hold down the middle mouse button and swing the view around while keeping the flightpaths displayed.
  1. Frank Taylor
    February 6th, 2008 at 22:30 | #1

    James, I found if you mouse over an airport’s placemark and then click and hold the middle button on the placemark, you can rotate and tilt while viewing the routes. But, using the SpaceNavigator is even better. Once you mouse over you can then use the SN to move your view all over the place while still seeing the flight lines. I’m going to do a video showing this.

  2. Pete
    February 7th, 2008 at 22:33 | #2

    You can also copy an airport node and paste it external to KML, allowing customization without messing up the original

  3. February 7th, 2008 at 23:48 | #3

    Pete – Good point. Helps save my bandwidth too. 🙂

  4. Jan
    February 18th, 2008 at 13:47 | #4

    Hi James,

    I just noticed that total pax data you provide via FAA is only for arrivals. Another link you could use is


  5. Nick
    March 3rd, 2008 at 23:28 | #5

    I installed the flight program but cannot get it to animate.I’m new at this so i need some real help.There is a guage at the top of the screen going back and forth with the same date ,over and over.All I get is a plane flashing in and out in the same spot.Help….please…

  6. June 30th, 2008 at 11:14 | #6

    Hi James, Great work.
    I have been playing around with this, trying to learn and recreate it. I can do most of it apart from working out how you create the actual flight path ie start and end ok, allititude of the points between the start and end ok, how to break the flight path into equal parts(and keeping it straight) not ok. Do you input this info manually or do you have a short cut?? Thanks for your time, Robin

  7. James
    July 5th, 2008 at 11:00 | #7


    No easy answer I’m afraid. There isn’t anything ready built into GE or KML. I wrote my own specifically tailored script to generate the KML which breaks the lines into segments, and calculates the exact lat,lon and alt each step of the way.

    If it’s something you want to attempt, I recommend taking a look at the stuff on this page:


  8. October 6th, 2008 at 12:56 | #8

    Hi James,
    Just got back into this. Thanks for the reply. Will have a look at the link and see how I go.

  9. Karly
    July 31st, 2012 at 18:56 | #9

    Seems like IAD should be under Virginia, not D.C.

  1. February 18th, 2008 at 21:29 | #1