Google Earth

  • Definition
    Google Earth is a desktop application for Mac, PC, or Linux computers that allows you to navigate planet Earth from multiple views. Google Earth combines satellite photos and maps with a search engine to allow you search to find directions and specific addresses or general locations and services. ( Google Earth and similar applications are known as Virtual Globe's.

  • Brief History
    Google Earth was originally called Earth Viewer and was bought by Google in 2004, the application was renamed Google Earth and released in 2006. Since then there have been major concerns relating to the possible misuses of Google Earth's features. This began with worries that terrorist organisations would be able to use the images available on Google Earth to attack locations around the world. The American military were also very upset as the images give satellite photos of their bases and the layout of them. These concerns while possible are unlikely as Google Earth's images are often years old and are not regularly updated.

  • Key Features
    There are a huge variety of different features available in Google Earth and the list is constantly lengthening as more and more are released with every new version.

  • Map Plotting
  • Users of Google Earth can place 'pins' at points of interest to them, these 'pins' can be edited to make them more visually appealing or to draw attention to particular points. The icon, size, colour of the pin can be edited. These points can be saved and even sent to other people across the globe. (the real one not the virtual one :P)

  • Route Plotting
  • Once 'pins' have been placed users can select pins and ask Google Earth to find a route between the selected pins. This route will bring up step by step directions as well as highlighting the route and any turns that need to be made. The distance of each segment of the journey is available as is the total distance and a estimated travel time. This route can be viewed in a short printable view. The route and the printable version can be emailed to other people, the other person simply double clicks on the email attachment and Google Earth opens and displays the route and any information related to it (such as the 'pins'). The original user can also add additional information to their 'pins' which they feel is relevant. This information would also be sent to the other person. Another interesting thing about the Route Plotting function is that it allows the User to set the mode of travel, as part of the Route planning we can set travel by car, on foot or by public transport.

  • If we choose car it automatically chooses the route that covers the shortest distance, this is not always the fastest route as traffic conditions, speed restictions and other factors can make the route longer.

  • When we select travel by public transport Google Earth finds the closest bus or train stations to your destination/embarkation points and plots the best route. It gives a route to each step in the journey (i.e. it tells you where and how to get to the bus/train stop), and it also tells you when the next few departure times are.

  • Educational Value - Links to Learning Theory, Links to Research.
    Google Earth brings the world and galaxy we live in come alive with information for teachers and students to enhance their learning. Subjects such as Art, Literature, Science and more can be enhanced by using the information and activities on Google Earth. Teacher and students will travel the real earth of explorations, migrations, heroes and history and share new instruction growing on the planet itself.You can use real-time coordinates to demonstrate distance calculations and verify the results using our measurement tools; View tectonic plate-shift evidence by examining whole continents, mountain ranges and areas of volcanic activity; Study impact craters, dry lake beds and other major land forms. The list can go on depending on how you want it to fit your lesson.

  • You can even explore the night sky from the comfort of your classroom. Things like explore Hubble telescope images, or check out current astronomical events, learning all about the stars, and more can be done in the middle of the day.
  • These are just some of the endless ways you can use Google Earth to make any lesson come alive.

  • Future Learning - Provide updated digital resources such as tutorials, templates, software downloads which will assist others to independently learn the new technology;

  • Future Teaching - Provide URLs that support others to use the innovation for future teaching in a variety of situations. Google Earth Education Community site has good educational information about places where students and teachers can find information about educational topics and places on Google Earth. It also provides information on how to get started with Google Earth.< Google Earth Community is a site where you can view information and add information about anything you have found on Google Earth.You can get your students to look something up on Google Earth and write information on it and add it here. Google Earth and Geoscience Education site is about teaching Geoscience with Visualizations: using images, animations, and models effectively, with links to topical resources e.g. lesson plans and more. shows you how you could use Google Earth in the classroom, with links to other sites with tool for your classroom use of Google Earth e.g. lesson plans and more.