Topic outline

  • Exploring Google Earth

    In this course, you'll discover how easy it is to travel the world using Google Earth on your computer.

    In the following activities, you'll learn how to navigate your way around Google Earth, find places of interest and see the world from a different perspective.

    You'll also learn how to turn back the clock and see how the world looked in the past.

    To get you started, below is a short, animated video introducing you to the wonderful world of Google Earth.


    Welcome to 'Exploring Google Earth'. Google Earth is like an interactive digital atlas. It shows you the whole planet right down to your own home. In this video, we're going to use the Chrome browser to travel to Uluru with Google Earth. While the steps will look a little different on a mobile device, don't worry. You should still be able to follow along. Let's explore Australia's Red Centre.

    To begin, type into your web browser. When the page loads, click the Launch Earth button, and a virtual globe will appear. From the menu on the left, look for the Search icon. It looks like a magnifying glass. Click it. In the Search bar that appears, type in Uluru. As you type, other places to explore will appear below as suggestions. Click on Uluru, Petermann NT at the top of the list and watch as Google Earth flies you straight there. You'll see the Earth from a bird's-eye view as you zoom down, all built from real satellite imagery! Take in the 360-degree views. You can learn more about Uluru from the information card at the top right. Click More info to expand the card, and scroll down to learn more. You can find interesting history and facts for other famous sites too! Once you've finished reading, click the back arrow at the top left of the screen to return to the information card. Saving a location makes it easy to find without having to search for it again.

    If you are logged into Google Earth with your Google Account, you can save a location to a project. Click on Add to project to get started. In the box that appears, type a name for your project, and press Save. On the left of the screen, Uluru will appear as a placemark in your project, ready for you to access whenever you like. You can add more locations, plus photos, information, and more to your project, and even share it with others. You can create as many projects as you like in Google Earth. To hide the project, click the Project icon on the left side of the screen. You can view your projects at any time by clicking on the icon again. To close the information card, click the up arrow in the top left. Now, let's look at some of the map controls in Google Earth. Click the 2D setting to get a different view. This shows a flattened, birds-eye view of the map. Click 3D to return to the previous view. Now you can see the landscape in 3D. Click the minus symbol to zoom out for a view of the surrounding areas.

    To get a different perspective, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard, then click and drag the mouse to move around and tilt the map. For a closer look, click and drag the Street View icon to where you want to go. Imagine that the little person you're dropping on screen is where you would like to drop yourself onto the map. You can drop the Street View icon wherever there is a blue line or circle. Now, let's look around. Click the white navigation arrows to explore the area. You can also click and drag left or right to get a better view of your surroundings. Look out for snakes! Once you're finished, click the back arrow at the top left of the screen to exit Street View.

    Now, let's explore other parts of the world with Voyager. The Voyager icon looks like a ship's helm. Click it. Voyager has loads of multimedia presentations that cover a wide range of topics and destinations, so you're sure to find something of interest. For a mystery adventure, click the dice icon to visit a random location, chosen by Google Earth. Off to Japan we go! To find a new location to explore, click on the globe icon in the map controls at the bottom right of the screen and head back out to space. Where will you go next?