Exploring the world with Google Earth

 

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Exploring the world with Google Earth

A photo of the Easter Island human-faced statues.

What's coming up

Delve into the amazing details of Google maps and take a trip to Buckingham Palace!

In this activity, you'll learn about using the map controls, viewing the world in 3D and switching to Street View mode to see the world from ground level.

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Let’s explore!

With Google Earth, you can zoom right in to see an amazing amount of detail.

On the next slide is a video that will take you on a trip to Buckingham Palace using Google Earth’s map controls.

On the next slide, click the ‘play’ button to watch the video. You can also click anywhere on the video to pause or restart it.

Move heaven and earth

Controls in the bottom right corner of the map make it easy to move around Google Earth.

The globe icon shows the part of the Earth you're currently looking at. Use your mouse to double-click on a spot, or hold and drag, to jump to that location. You can single-click to zoom back out into space.

A close-up illustration of the Google Earth controls that are in the bottom right corner of the Google Earth screen.
A close-up illustration of the target icon in the Google Earth controls.

See your location

Clicking the Target icon above the globe in the map controls lets you jump to your current location.

A safety pad illustration representing online safety.

eSafety Tip

If you want to see your current location in Google Earth, you'll need to click Allow when Chrome asks for permission to access your location. This is a safe thing to do as Google Earth doesn’t share your location with anyone.

Zoom in

To get a closer look you can zoom in and out using the + and buttons in the map controls.

You'll reach a point where the image won't get any clearer. The picture tends to be sharper in built-up areas and around popular sites. For example, the view of Parliament House in Canberra is a lot sharper than your typical house in the suburbs.

A close-up illustration of the plus and minus signs that allows you to zoom in and out on Google Earth.
A close-up illustration of the 3D icon in the Google Earth controls that allows you to view some things in amazing 3D quality.

See it in 3D

Google Earth images can appear more realistic when viewed in 3D. The 3D effect looks best on large buildings in built-up areas, and many landmark buildings, like Parliament House, have had special treatment.

You can turn the effect on and off by clicking the 2D/3D button next to the globe.

Change your perspective

You can use your mouse to click and hold a spot on the map to drag the map around and see the surrounding area.

Holding the Shift key at the same time lets you rotate the map and pressing the Compass icon in the map controls lets you face north again.

Holding the Shift key also lets you change the tilt of the 3D view.

A close-up illustration of the compass icon in the Google Earth controls that allows you to change your view.
A close-up illustration of where the latitude and longitude details are shown on the Google Earth screen.

The fine detail

If you're on a slow internet connection, it can take a while for all the detail to appear in a map.

As the information downloads, a blue spinning wheel at the bottom right shows progress, and the latitude and longitude readout changes.

Check out Street View

To see the view from ground level, click on the Street View icon (it looks like a person) above the globe in the map controls, then click on a place on the map you want to see.

Blue lines appear on a map when Street View is available. It's mostly present on roads, but in some areas, you can get off-road and even wander into shops.

A close-up illustration of the street view icon which is represented by the outline of a person.
An illustration highlighting the street control views on Google Earth, which are represented by white arrows at the bottom of the screen.

Street View controls

While in Street View, you can use your mouse to zoom, or hold and drag to turn around on the spot

You can also click the white arrows to move up and down the street.

Clicking the person icon again lets you go back to the aerial view.

Find yourself (part 1)

You can practice using the map control features of Google Earth using your current location.

A close-up illustration of the target icon in the Google Earth controls.
A close-up illustration of the street view icon which is represented by the outline of a person.

Find yourself (part 2)

  • First, click the Target icon on the map controls to fly to your current location.
  • Click 3D to see a more realistic view of your surroundings.
  • Click the Street View icons (a person) for a ground level view of your location.
  • Click the + sign to zoom your location, and the white arrows to move around the street.

Congratulations!

You’ve reached the end of the Exploring the world with Google Earth activity – well done!

You have learned that it's easy to adjust your view of the world in Google Earth. You can zoom in, rotate the map, enjoy a 3D perspective and even see the view from the ground.

Coming next, you'll learn how to Find places special to you.

A photo of two older friends looking up their old school on Google Earth and laughing over their memories.