Icons in Google Earth

Buoys and Beacons from the IALA*1 and SIGNI*2 system

*1 IALA: International Association of Lighthouse Authorities, *2 SIGNI: Signalisation des Voies de Navigation Interieure

Jos Pacilly, 27-nov-2005

Google Earth (beta release) is a very impressive piece of  'cartographic' software! Among many other things, it allows you to share placemarks (waypoints) with icons from various sources. It offers a nice way to share points-of-interest, and without much effort you can use icons dedicated to navigation at sea. On this page, you will find some short notes about that feature. You can download the icon set for marine use comprising the most frequently used IALA / SIGNI symbols. There are also some Google Earth kml-files with placemarks, demonstrating the use of them. Feel free to use/distribute the icon set, as long as it is not for commercial use.

See also the related topic: Custom Waypoint Symbols for Garmin Products.

IALA-SIGNI symbols (v2.0) in Google Earth

Google Earth 3.0.0616 (beta)

Placemark Edit dialog box in Google Earth General remarks
Google Earth saves your placemarks in a number of files in your Profile, in the directory %APPDATA%\Google\GoogleEarth\. The subdirectory icons\ in this directory holds some icons. More icons can be found in the installation directory of Google Earth, typically: C:\Program Files\Google\Google Earth\res. The IALA / SIGNI icons of this download could be stored in either place, but actually they can reside anywhere on your computer, or on the Internet (on a Http-server).

Each icon can be stored in its own file, but a collection of icons can also be stored in a single file. In the latter case you have to specify which rectangle should be used  for a specific icon (see the picture aside).


IALA / SIGNI v2.0 (Google Earth)

File Properties

  • file name: "AnyFilenameWillDo.png"
  • file type: ".png", ".bmp" (maybe more?)
  • Width x Height: any number of pixels
  • Horizontal / Vertical Resolution: 96 dpi
  • Bit Depth: 32 (but 24 will do)

IALA-SIGNI (v2.0) Icons in Google Earth (at sea)