United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
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National Water and Climate Center


Google Earth SNOTEL Data Layer

Opening the SNOTEL data layer in the Google Earth application allows you to view and zoom in on data in a three-dimensional view.

Quick Start

1) The Google Earth application requires a fast internet connection. Ensure your system matches the requirements outlined by Google.

2) Download and install the Google Earth application. If you have any problems, consult the Google Earth Support webpage.

Note: There are alternatives to Google Earth, such as NASA's WorldWind and ESRI's ArcExplorer, both of which are free.

3) Download the SNOTEL ".kmz" data file from the links below. The file on the left displays the station name on the map, which is good for fine-scale analysis. For a broader view of conditions, viewing the data without labels (the file on the right) may be preferable. The application may automatically launch on opening a ".kmz" file.

Download SNOTEL Data (with labels)

Download SNOTEL Data (without labels)

4) Browse around or zoom in to your basin of interest. Click individual sites for more information, both on the map and in the "Places" frame on the left. Use the "Places" frame to find a specific station, organized by state.

5) Anytime you use this application, come to this webpage and click on the above links to the data files.  Important!  If you save the ".kmz" file locally to your computer, it will only contain the data from the day you acquired it and will not automatically refresh. To ensure you have the latest data, always come back to this webpage.

More Information

These files are updated daily around 7:30 am and 12:30 Pacific Time with midnight summaries of the previous day's data. The symbols are color-coded by the current snow water equivalent as a percent of the 1981-2010 normal on this date.

Clicking on a symbol will reveal additional information, including a photo of the site, more real-time data, and links to charts and additional reports.

In the file with labels, the stations are organized in the "Places" tab by state. Click the check box to display individual sites or entire states. The top folder also allows the addition (or removal) of the NRCS logo and legend.

Screenshot of "Places" tab

Additional Google Earth Data

NRCS Water Supply Forecasts layer.

Content Manager

Cara McCarthy