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I was looking for a simple KML file anyone knew of that I could just easily import and overlay onto Google Earth. I know Google Earth already seems to show postal code regions under government data, but they arn't shaded and I don't know how to make them shaded...and every explanation I find involved things quite above my current skill level (although I'm open to learning).

I'd would prefer to not use anything involving GIS too much either as that is way above my skill level and the last GIS products I used by a well known company that makes them...were very very laggy.

Essentially, I'm looking for something I can import into Google Earth that is like the maps at http://www.usnaviguide.com/zip.htm. Now they do admittedly have a feed at http://maps.huge.info/zipv0.pl?ZIP=90210, but I have no idea how to graph or plot that (suggestions welcome though).

I did find this which was nice: http://www.filosophy.org/post/17/zipcodes_in_kml/ but once again not shaded.

Questions:

1) Do you know of a shaded KML file that is reasonably accurate for zip codes I can import into Google Earth? By the way, I am aware zip codes do constantly change...I also don't want the TIGER files...I'd prefer the actual postal codes if possible.

or

2) Could you lead me (realize I know very little) in the direction of perhaps making/shading these outline type files myself with some easy software? (I realize this might be more of a gis.stackexchange.com question, but they seem WAY over my head over there).

3

The shading of shapes on a GIS map is a design choice; it's not a characteristic of the data. Not all choropleth maps are opaque, even if some that you've seen are. A designer made that choice.

In Google Earth, you can apply styles to a layer using the "Edit > Get Info" command. On that, choose the "Style, Color" tab and change the color and opacity in the "Area" section. Getting labels like on http://www.usnaviguide.com/zip.htm is not something I know how to do in Google Earth.

Note that I find that file you pointed to at filosophy.org to be "very laggy." I think that happens when you have over 50,000 features (shapes).

(edited in response to comment thread; comments may now seem unrelated)

  • Nope, actually by shaded I meant translucent. The choropleth maps you note seem to be opaque. I want to know where a boundrary is (which I guess you can put on top of one of those maps but I want to know the boundaries underneath it too. Yes, I understand what zip codes are. They are postal routes essentially. And the accuracy depends on your usage. If you're using tiger maps with ESRI zip code data....they may not match up very well. But I actually stumbled upon some studies that talk about this. – Taal Sep 5 '13 at 2:28
  • Here's one example: Zip Code Caveat: Bias Due to Spatiotemporal Mismatches Between Zip Codes and US Census–Defined Geographic Areas—The Public Health Disparities Geocoding Project. American Journal of Public Health: July 2002, Vol. 92, No. 7, pp. 1100-1102. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.92.7.1100 Nancy Krieger, Pamela Waterman, Jarvis T. Chen, Mah-Jabeen Soobader, S. V. Subramanian, and Rosa Carson. ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.92.7.1100 – Taal Sep 5 '13 at 2:42
  • You'll need to give us a better idea of what you are looking for. Are you trying to use Zip Codes layers as an overlay with transparency? Perhaps post some maps that give an equivalent of what you are looking for. – Kotebiya Sep 5 '13 at 23:44
  • This is probably the closest (youll have to sign up to get the sample kml file) maponics.com/products/gis-map-data/zip-code-boundaries/… - it's only for massachusetts though and it has those pin things above each zip code, which are really annoying and I can't figure out how to turn off in Google Earth. – Taal Sep 6 '13 at 2:56
  • Other than that, the usnaviguide.com/zip.htm referenced in my question was also very close if not exactly what I wanted - just type in a zip code hit enter and you'll see. – Taal Sep 6 '13 at 2:58

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