Google Earth

submitted by Glenn Richard, Stony Brook University

General Description

Click to enlarge.
Google Earth is a virtual globe that enables users to pan and zoom to any location on Earth to view satellite and aerial imagery, map overlays, terrain, and numerous layers from Google's large geographic database. In addition, Google Earth can be used to create and display custom data. Sky view enables the exploration of galaxies and other celestial features. The Google Earth Community and other forums provide venues for discussion and sharing of data.

Uses of the Program

Many surface geological features are visible in the standard Google Earth layers. In addition educators and developers have created vector data and overlays to provide more detailed geological information. The Enterprise version of Google Earth is especially designed for industry.

Audience and Setting

Google Earth is suitable for nearly all audiences. It can be used to display data to groups ranging from large lecture hall courses to younger early elementary school classes. In computer laboratory settings it is useful for inquiry-based exploration by teams or individual students. With laptops and cached imagery it can be used in the field with the option of interacting with GPS devices.

Examples of Educational use

Examples from the SERC collections:

Teaching with Google Earth - a detailed guide with examples
A collection of activities using Google Earth
Teaching Geologic Map Interpretation with Google Earth
Gallery of images for teaching geologic mapping and map interpretation

General Examples:

New York Landscape Regions in Google Earth
Google Earth Lessons

How to Get the Software

Google Earth is available in a free version. Additional versions are Google Earth Plus, Google Earth Pro, and an Enterprise version.

How to Use this Software

Instructional materials from the SERC collections:

How to Teach with Google Earth
Google Earth User Guide
Working with KML

General Examples:

Google Earth Tutorials
Google Earth User Guide
Designing and Creating Earth Science Lessons with Google Earth


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