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MapBake is a mapping tool that lets you combine the ingredients of countries, and/or regions within countries, to bake a kmz file for use with Google Earth.

You can hover the mouse over various parts of the page to get tips on what each item does.

A MapBake recipe can be can be sent to others to bake the same map. Google Earth will show a global image of the Earth highlighting the places you have identified. MapBake also creates quick maps of countries or regions (states, provinces, etc) within a country (by using the Map buttons).

MapBake codes identify sets of countries and/or regions within countries. They may seem like random characters but they will identify the places you have checked. They do not contain colon, comma, plus, minus, asterisk, or slash characters which have different purposes. The ampersand character is used to join codes for a country set and region sets for different countries.

The code entry box will convert ISO 3166-1 alpha-2, most ISO 3166-2, and a few artificial codes for places without subdivisions defined by ISO. Enter codes as follows: for countries start with a colon and have codes separated by commas. Regions within countries start with the country code a colon and the region codes separated by commas. Some examples :US,CN will become the MapBake code MK, and US:CA,NY will become JK. If no codes are specified all will be selected. So, a lone colon will select all countries, and US: will select all states in the US. Codes can also be modified with operators plus (+) is Or, asterisk (*) is And, minus (-) is Not, and slash (/) is Xor. So if the code entry box is Updated with JK+US:FL it will become YRO and have California, New York and Florida selected. Note that any manual entries in the code entry box must be updated or they can be lost when changes are made in other ways.

Alternatively, countries can be checked from the tree and the MapBake codes will be updated. If a country is selected (whether checked or not) a side tree will open to give access to the regions of that country. And if a region is selected and there are sub-regions, a tree will be shown to allow selection of those.

There are buttons to:

  • Edit will load a side tree to change the regions selected within a country.
  • Map the countries selected and/or the regions within a country.
  • Backup copies text (not MapBake codes) to the clipboard which can be saved. This can be pasted in the code entry to recreate the recipe. This is needed to accommodate new countries or regions within countries which will change the compressed MapBake codes.
  • Add to KML. A set that is added to KML can have the Color, Opacity, and Altitude specified. If both countries and regions within countries are checked there will be an Add to KML 2 which will add the countries and regions as two different KML sets. If sub-regions are also selected, Add to KML Multi will add them as separate KML sets.

KML Style causes KML sets to be handled as follows:

  • Group - Each KML set is labeled and will be grouped together. Since each Group is independent, the same place can occur in multiple KML sets.
  • Tree - The KML sets will be merged into a hierarchical tree. Since each place can only occur once in the tree, any overlap (the same place occurring in multiple KML sets) must be resolved before the KML can be made.

Simplify reduces the size of the KML file but reduces the precision of the borders. The default is 5 which gives substantial reduction in files size. Higher values will result in smaller files but less precise boundaries.

Once KML sets are configured as you like, you can Make KMZ which will be downloaded by your browser and can be used in Google Earth.

The url is updated with any changes (except manual code entry box until updated) so you can bookmark the page to return to the same place or send the url (as a recipe) to a friend.

A QR code at the bottom of the page contains the url to that page.

Hovering the mouse over controls will give reminders of the purpose.

Advanced Load Options are used to manipulate the mapbake codes from multiple urls. Changing these can cause urls (or existing bookmarks) to load differently, so keep the default unless you understand them. Here is how they work:

  • Replace (default) - existing selection is discarded when a new page is loaded.
  • OR - Combines existing selections with those in the new url
  • AND - Selects those that are in both the existing and new url
  • Not New - Removes the new url selections from the existing
  • Not Existing - Removes the existing selections from the new url
  • XOR - Selects those in either existing OR new url but not both

If you need additional help, ask a question on the MapBake Forum

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