Eyes in the Sky II > GIT Web Course > Module 3 > Week 9 > Getting to Know Google Earth

Week 9: Googling Around


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Getting to Know Google Earth

By now, you should be familiar with Google Earth's Search and Places panels, and you should have mastered using the mouse, keyboard, and navigation controls to zoom, move, look, and tilt your view. Next, you'll learn the basics of Google Earth's Layers panel and toolbar.

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Get to Know Layers

The Layers panel in Google Earth is like the Table of Contents in AEJEE and ArcGIS, allowing you to turn different data layers on and off in the 3D Viewer display. A major difference, however, is that you can't add or remove layers from the Layers panel, and you can't change the symbolization.

Layers versus places

The content in the Layers panel is created by Google or its content partners. Google publishes the content you see in the Layers panel, so you can't add your own layers. When new layers become available, they simply appear in the Layers panel the next time you use Google Earth.

The information that appears the Places panel, however, can be created by anyone using Google Earth or KML (Keyhole Markup LanguageKeyhole is the company that created the original version the software, which was later bought by Google and renamed Google Earth.)

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Explore layers

ge_layers_panel

The Layers panel consists of categories and sub-categories of layers. To expand a category, click the + (Win) or ge_triangle_expand (Mac) in front of the category name. You can turn entire categories on and off using the check boxes in front of the category names, or you can expand a category and turn individual sub-categories on and off. Some categories, such as Borders and Labels, have several levels of sub-categories.

  1. Collapse the Search and Places panels by clicking the ge_triangle_collapse in front of the layer titles. This makes room for seeing more layers as you expand the categories.
  2. Turn on the Weather category by clicking the checkbox ge_all_on in front of the category name.
  3. Expand the Weather category by clicking the + (Win) or ge_triangle_expand (Mac) in front of the category name.
  4. Turn individual Weather categoriesClouds, Radar, Conditions, and Informationon and off, and observe the changes in the 3D Viewer.
  5. Note that when some, but not all, of the subcategories in a layer category are turned on, the category display checkbox shows this symbol ge_partial_on . When you launch Google Earth, this is the default state of some of the categories. You can click this box to turn all of the subcategories on or off, but you must expand the category to turn individual subcategories on or off.
  6. When you quit Google Earth, the layer settings are saved. The next time you launch Google Earth on that computer, it will open with the same layers turned on or offunless your computer security settings don't allow saving files.
  7. As you found with other GIS software, the more layers you display, the more cluttered the map will be and the slower the view will update. For the best performance, turn off any layers you don't need.
  8. Invest a few minutes exploring Google Earth's layers and zooming in on places of interest to you. Click the placemarkers in each layer to see what information the layer provides. Be sure to go to a major city or famous landmark like Hoover Dam, the Eiffel Tower, or the Taj Mahal, zoom in near ground level, and turn on the 3D Buildings layer.
  9. When you are finished exploring, turn off any layers you don't need, collapse the categories, and expand the Search and Places panels.

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Get to Know Google Earth Tools

Next, we'll take a quick tour of Google Earth's toolbar, located just above the 3D Viewer.


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ge_hide_show_sidebar Hide/Show Sidebar

The next group of four tools creates the types of GIS features you learned to use in AEJEE and ArcGIS: points, lines, polygons, and raster images.

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ge_add_placemark Add Placemark

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ge_add_polygon Add Polygon

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ge_add_path Add Path

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ge_add_image_overlay Add Image Overlay

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ge_record_tour Record Tour

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ge_show_historical Show Historical Imagery

ge_historical_slider

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ge_show_sunlight Show Sunlight

ge_sunlight_slider

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ge_switch_planet Switch between Earth, Sky, and Other Planets

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ge_ruler Show Ruler

ge_measure_path

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ge_email Email

ge_email_window

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ge_print Print

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ge_google_maps View in Google Maps


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Practice Creating a Placemark

ge_new_placemark_window

In this section, you will learn how to create and annotate a placemark.

  1. Choose Google Earth > Preferences...
  2. In the Preferences window, choose Decimal Degrees for the Show Lat/Long option.
  3. Enter the following latitude/longitude coordinates into the Fly To box:
    44.223222, -114.926609
  4. Click the Add Placemark button ge_add_placemark and a New Placemark window opens.
  5. In the New Placemark window, click the pushpin icon in the upper right corner. This opens an Icon window. Click on an icon to choose it. Then OK.
  6. In the New Placemark window, enter a description and give the placemark a name.
  7. Click each of the other three tabs at the top of the New Placemark window: Style / Color, View, and Altitude. For now, don't change any of the settings in these tabs.
  8. The View and Altitude settings are inherited from the 3D Viewer at the time you click the Add Placemark button.
  9. Click OK to create the placemark which now shows up in the 3D Viewer.
  10. Look at the Places Panel. You should see the new placemark listed under My Places.
  11. Test the new placemark by going to a different location, like one of the other places in the Sightseeing list. Then double-click the placemark to see if it takes you back to the right spot and view.
  12. Click the placemark icon in the 3D Viewer to open the description balloon. If the description balloon covers up too much of the view, zoom out just a bit more so you can see the context of the scene.

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Create Your Own Placemark

  1. Think of one of your "favorite" places. It could be a favorite vacation spot, restaurant, hiking trail, or just about anything.
  2. Use the Google Earth Search panel and navigation tools to zoom in to your spot, setting the zoom, tilt, and direction to make a pleasing view. Be sure to turn on the Terrain and 3D Buildings layers in the Layers panel, if they're appropriate!
  3. Follow the same procedure as above to create your own placemark.
  4. Once you have created the placemark and tested it, take a screen shot of the entire Google Earth window and save it. This is the screen shot you will post on your Review & Discussion page this week.
  5. This is the screenshot that is needed for your required weekly activity.


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Resources


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