Eyes in the Sky II > GIT Web Course > Module 2 > Review & Install > Install Google Earth

Review & Install

What is Google Earth?

In Week 9, you'll be "Googling Around" in Google Earth, a free application by the folks at Google. It's a 3-D interactive globe! It's a dynamic map! It's a field trip to anywhere in the world! It's an F-16 flight simulator! It's an extraterrestrial visitor to the Moon and Mars! It's a space telescope! It makes julienne fries! (Well, not that last one, but it is everything else, and more!)


Seriously, Google Earth is an awesome tool for exploring multiple worlds, and it integrates with many of the other tools and data sources you're learning to use in Eyes in the Sky. Like the other free tools you've added to your toolbox, you can install Google Earth on all of your computers at school and students can install it at home. It's not only fun and engaging to use, but we'll show you and your students how to use it as a tool for scientific exploration.

To get ready for Week 9, we are asking you to install and test the current version of Google Earth on your computer. Please do this as early in the week as possible, so we can troubleshoot any problems you encounter. If you have an older version of Google Earth installed, please update it to the current version and test it before Friday preferably sooner, like by Tuesday.

Install Google Earth

If you already have Google Earth installed on your computer, skip these instructions but PLEASE be sure to update it to the current version before Week 9, so we are all "on the same page." To check for updates, choose Help > Check for Updates Online.

Also, be sure to complete the This Week's Assignment section below, so we know who is ready and who needs assistance, so everyone is wheels up for Week 9 on Friday.


Go to the Google Earth download site and follow the instructions there to install the current version of Google Earth on your computer, preferably in the default location. If you are comfortable doing this on your own without help, go for it. If not, there are some general directions below. As always, your mileage may vary depending on which MacOS or Windows version you're using.


For Windows Users

To install Google Earth for Windows: (Screen shots are from Windows XP and Internet Explorer 8.)

  1. Click here to go to the Google Earth download page. The page automatically detects your operating system, so you don't have to worry about choosing a particular version.
  2. Un-check the option to install Google's Chrome web browser on your computer; don't check the Help us improve this software.... option; and click the Agree and Download button, as shown above.
  3. You will see the following Thank you for downloading Google Earth screen. Depending on your browser settings, the Google Earth installer will probably NOT start downloading. Notice the To help protect your security... message at the top of your browser window. Click the message...
  4. ...and choose the Download File... option to download the installer.
  5. Ever vigilant to protect your computer, Windows will probably give you another security warning, and the option to run or save the file. Click the Run button.
  6. If you get yet another security warning, click the Run button again.
  7. Next you'll see a window with a progress bar, first for Downloading and then for Installing the program.
  8. ge_win_icon
  9. When the installation has finished, close any open installer windows. You should now see a shortcut icon for Google Earth on your desktop. Your installation of Google Earth is complete!
  10. Skip to the Your Weekly Assignment section below.

For Macintosh OSX Users

To install Google Earth for Macintosh: (Screen shots are from MacOSX 10.4.11 and Safari 4.)

  1. Click here to go to the Google Earth download page. The page automatically detects your operating system, so you don't have to worry about choosing a particular version.
  2. Click the Agree and Download button. Your browser will display a Thank You page while Google Earth automatically downloads in the background.
  3. The Downloads window will show the progress of your download.
  4. At the end of the download, an alert box will tell you that the .dmg file contains an application. Click the Continue button to finish the download.
  5. The Google Earth disk image file (.dmg) will automatically mount on your desktop and open, showing this window.
  6. Drag the Google Earth.app to wherever you want to install it typically, the Applications folder on your hard drive. Ignore the Google Earth Web Plugin.plugin.
  7. Close the Google Earth disk image window, then drag both the Google Earth.dmg and the Google Earth volume (below) to the trash to clear them from your desktop.
  8. Drag the Google Earth icon from your Applications folder to your dock to create an alias for easy access.
  9. Continue to the Weekly Assignment section below to test your Google Earth installation.

Weekly Assignment

Launch Google Earth

Note: You must have a live Internet connection while using Google Earth. As you move around and zoom in and out, new images are downloaded to your computer on the fly from Google's servers.

ge_win_icon ge_mac_icon


  1. Launch Google Earth by double-clicking the Google Earth icon on your desktop or clicking its icon in your Start menu (Win) or Dock (Mac).

  2. You should now see the main Google Earth window. We will go over the Google Earth interface, tools, and basic functions in Week 9.

Testing your connection

  1. For now, we just want to make sure Google Earth is connecting to the main image server via your Internet connection. To test this, type your school's street address in the Fly To box and click the Begin Search button ge_mad_search_button .
  2. Google Earth should zoom into your school. Depending on your Internet connection, there may be a delay as the high-resolution images load.
  3. When your school (or the spot where your school is now located, if it's a new school) appears, create a screen shot of the Google Earth window, showing your school, and post it on your Discussion Group page. No need to add comments to your posting, unless you want to share any problems or issues you ran into while installing, and no need to comment on others' postings this week. We just want to be sure everything is "GO" for googling around next week.
  4. A Note About Addresses

    Google Earth is pretty sophisticated in how it handles information typed into the Fly To box, but for best results, type in addresses just like you would address a letter. Use spaces instead of returns between the street address and the city, state, and zip code. Capitalization and punctuation don't matter much, but spelling counts. It's particularly important to include the state or zip code, since cities with the same name can be found in many states.

    If you can't find your school, enter the address of some other location in your town. If your school is new, the image may show nothing but an empty field or a construction site. That's fine and is a great way to show students that the Google Earth view isn't live.

  5. That's all for now, folks! Exit Google Earth (unless you want to play some more, but please remember that for this week, we'd like to limit our troubleshooting to just getting Google Earth installed and running properly on your computer. Stay tuned next week for our Getting to Know Google Earth tour.

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