Google Earth enables you to travel the world from the comfort of your desktop, exploring stunning satellite imagery in stunning 3D. The fluid interface makes it easy to jump from country to country and zoom right into street level. Certain key cities around the world benefit from 3D tours which can be used to take a virtual tour of key landmarks and get a feeling of the lay of the land.
Google Earth is a free application developed by Google that enables users to explore the world right in their web browsers. This app provides users with a 3D globe of the Earth, with satellite imagery, aerial photography, and various information layers overlaid across it. Users can freely tilt, rotate, and zoom on the map, which displays more pertinent information as the zoom level increases.
Google Earth lets users search for places, cities, businesses, and landmarks, by keyword search or by voice. It also allows users to browse layers such as roads, borders, and even 3D buildings, to get any information they need about a certain place. Google Earth also links up with Google Street View, allowing users to explore a wide array of locations at street level with beautiful 360-degree panoramic shots.
Google Earth is free to use all of its basic features. Upgrading to Google Earth Pro will provide advanced business tools like the area and distance measurement, high-res image printing, large vector map importing, and much more.
Exploring History and Civilization
One of the most interesting (or maybe the scariest) things about society today is how rapidly the population continues to grow. Nowhere is this more obvious than on Google Earth.
How does Google Earth show population growth? Through its “historical imagery” tool, which you can access under View -> Historical Imagery. This view opens up a slider bar in the upper left corner of the display and shows a date range from today all the way back to the late 1990s.
The Progression of Light – Follow the Sun
Another interesting tool is the “Sun” tool – found in View -> Sun. This tool also shows you a slider at the upper left corner of the screen, but this time when you slide it over to the left, you’ll see the time change rather than the date. As you glide back in time, you’ll see sunset and sunrise take place.
Deadly Accurate Distances
One of my favorite things to do is to pack up a backpack with some water and snacks and head up to the White Mountains in New Hampshire for a hike with the family. However, having young kids, I need to be sure that the hike that I’ve planned isn’t excessively long.
Google Earth: Send Friends Aerial Views
We’ve shown you the flight simulator here at MUO, but consider the sorts of amazing views you could come up with by flying around some of the most exotic places in the world. When you’re flying like this and you see a spectacular view that you want to email to a friend, just go to File -> Email -> Email Image, and you can immediately send off a snapshot of that view to one of your friends via email.
Google Earth: Explore the Sky
Finally, if you are a fan of astronomy, or you have a budding astronomer in the family, you will want to click on View -> Explore -> Stars. I’ve written before about Google Mars and you can explore the Moon here as well, but the most impressive “Explore” tool, in my opinion, is the “Sky” option. This view lets you look up at the sky on Google Earth, rather than down at the ground. This is like virtual star-gazing in this virtual world. Best of all, you can move around the sky just like you normally would move around the Earth, and double-clicking will zoom you right into the galaxies you see.