Part 1 - Download and Install Google Earth

Step 1 Download Google Earth

These instructions are only necessary if you do not already have Google Earth 6 on your computer. However, be sure to update to the latest version of Google Earth in order to be able to complete this chapter. Google Earth is a freely available virtual globe program. It displays satellite images, aerial photographs, and graphic layers on personal computers by delivering them over the Internet. Advanced versions of Google Earth are available for purchase, but this activity uses the free version.
  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 (Mac) or .exe (PC) file contains an application. Click the Continue (Mac) or Save (PC) button to finish the download.

Step 2 Install Google Earth

  1. On a Mac, the Google Earth disk image file (.dmg) will automatically mount on your desktop and open.
  2. Drag the Google to wherever you want to install it typically, the Applications (or Programs) folder on your hard drive.
  3. 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.
  4. Drag the Google Earth icon from your Applications folder to your dock to create an alias (Mac).
  5. On a Windows OS, open the GoogleEarthSetup.exe file and click Run. When installed, Google Earth launches automatically.
  6. Create a shortcut to the program (Windows) for easy access.


Step 3 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. This step confirms that you have properly installed Google Earth.



  1. Launch Google Earth by double-clicking the Google Earth icon on your desktop or clicking its icon in your Start menu (PC) or Dock (Mac).
  2. You should now see the main Google Earth window.
  3. If this is your first time using of Google Earth, plan to spend some time exploring its features including zooming in and out, panning, and turning layers on and off.