Google Street View Virtual Field Trip

Natalie Bursztyn, Quest University, Canada

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Initial Publication Date: July 13, 2020


This activity is an example of how one can use Google Street View imagery as a field trip proxy. As a free and relatively accessible tool with an extensive and good quality image library viewable with a smartphone, tablet or web browser, Street View can be used to teach field note taking, teach field sketching, and/or create your own custom virtual field trips.

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Learning Goals

Field sketching, field observations, using observations to guide making geological interpretations.

Analysis of observations through a geological lens.

Practice geological field sketching to accurately represent important features regardless of drawing "ability" or "artistry"

Context for Use

Introductory physical geology, introductory Earth or environmental science, for majors or non-majors.

Introductory field exercise for teaching field sketching practices

Description and Teaching Materials

The attached document is the detailed activity description and assessment rubric.
Activity description and assessment rubric (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 6.7MB Jul6 20)


Students submit (scans or photos of) their field notebooks that must include a minimum of two outcrop sketches per outcrop (one overview, one detailed), their observations, interpretations, and a context paragraph. This is evaluated using the rubric in the provided document.

References and Resources

Ready to level up your use of Street View and make your own custom virtual field trip? Dr. Nicolas Barth at UC Riverside teaches you how here in this seminar.