The New Google Earth

Google Earth logo - WikimediaOne of my all time favourite ICT, SESE teaching resources, Google Earth, has recently been updated and it contains lots of new features to enhance the user experience. Google Earth is of course a software program where the earth is shown in either 2D or 3D mode and the new update brings Google Earth directly into a browser window.
There’s a walk-through tutorial when Google Earth is launched first time and also a cool 55 second YouTube video. The on-screen graphics are clear and presented in great detail.
The controls are featured on the left of the screen and in the bottom right hand corner.

1: The Menu icon – three horizontal lines contains a number of sub items including a Google account sign in / sign out.
2: The Search icon
3: The Voyager icon – travel around the world from your desktop.
4: I’m Feeling Lucky – a totally random spot anywhere on the earth followed by a series of knowledge cards.
5: My places – a facility to add visited places to your favourites list.
6: Share – the “must have” social media share feature for Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.
You navigate using the controls in the bottom right hand corner; these include 2D/3D views, Street View, Zoom in/out, the Earth tool and a “Fly to your Location” feature (a Privacy pop-up from Google will ask permission of the user to enable this feature).
When “Street View” is selected, a series of blue lines appear on the map; these blue lines indicate areas that can be zoomed in on to present a street level view.


You could mouse click your way into ground level, however a much quicker way is to simply drag the “yellow man” icon directly to where you want to view.
yellow man






There’s a cool feature when you are in street view; holding shift in addition to the middle mouse button allows the user to rotate around a feature; for example the Eiffel Tower! This presents several different views including drone-like views from the air.


The previous screenshot shows the knowledge card feature. Mouse clicking on the blue circular icon on a knowledge card generates a rotational view of an object. In the lower left hand corner of a knowledge card is the Bookmark feature; once clicked, it opens the following screen.

Eiffel Tower 2
The “I’m feeling lucky” feature would be a great SESE activity either in full class mode on an IWB or as part of a Station Teaching activity.
I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the “Voyager” feature in the new Google Earth. It is a treasure trove of resources for SESE lessons. Selecting “Voyager” opens a new screen where images are presented; clicking on an image brings the viewer to several new screens.

voyager 1
voyager info
This new version of Google Earth is a “must-have” resource in the classroom! As is with the case of many ICT resources, it does need a decent broadband connection to get the most from the experience.

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