Google Earth is a virtual map and globe which provides you geographical information. It was created by Keyhole, Inc, a CIA funded company which was acquired by Google in 2004. It has several uses such as to virtually visit foreign places, to know which the distance between two points is, or just for entertainment. Some teachers are using this tool to explain geography at schools, especially after the inclusion of the program 'Google Earth in the Classroom'. Google Earth stands out for being just a simple 3D-map but with additional features such as deciding which layer you want to see in your map, changing the daylight, the year or visiting other real planets. This customization is one of its greatest points. However, Google Earth is quite simple and maybe it’s too basic if you want something more advanced.
One of the most common myths is that the images that we see in this program are live. In fact, they were taken from one to three years before you see them in the program. This feature could be considered as a disadvantage for many experienced users which are used to this kind of programs but with a higher updating frequency. Nevertheless, you could see when the picture was taken at the bottom of the screen, in the right-side. Curiously, in 2010 Google Earth was used to view how Haiti was after the earthquake which took place in January 12. In that case, the pictures were updated just five days after it happened. Other disadvantage is that if you scroll in quickly, the image won’t be clear at the beginning and depending on your Internet connection it will get better sooner or later. Besides, some areas have good resolution and others don’t.
How to use it
Google Earth offers you several functions in its interface. You will see some basic options such as rotating the Earth or zooming in and zooming out with the navigation tools placed in the right-side of the screen. Nevertheless, you can drag the Earth and rotate it or scroll in and scroll out using the wheel of your mouse. In the upper left-side you can see ‘Fly to’ functionality, where you can type an exactly address, just the city or even a well-known building such as Eiffel Tower or the football stadium Santiago Bernabeu. Besides, thanks to Timer option, you could move between different decades in the past and view interesting historical images.
Other important thing to take into account is the ‘Layers’ option. Layers allow you to choose what you want to highlight in the map. In the Primary Database option you could select Borders and Labels, Places (it includes geographic important places), Photos (divided in Panoramio and 360 Cities), Roads, 3D Buildings, Ocean, Weather, Gallery, Global Awareness or More. Regarding 3D Buildings, it’s important to mention that not every city includes this option, although it includes the most important cities from United States, Canada, India, Mexico, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Pakistan and Spain, among others.
At the top of the screen you have other tools like the ruler. Google Earth allows you to know the exact distance between two different points. You will have to choose the measurement you like (centimeters, meters, kilometers, inches, feet, yards, miles, nautical miles, smoots or degrees among others) and then click on the first spot and in the final one and it will tell you a quite close approximation. This tool has another interesting option in the tab ‘Path’ which allows you to measure the distance that exists between multiple points. You can even fly with an F-16 Fighting Falcon or a Cirrus SR-22 from one point to another with its flight simulator, but be careful because you cannot do it in ground level view and you have to be from 50 to 100 meters above the ground.
Google Earth not only includes the possibility of interacting with the Earth, but also with the Universe. Thanks to its Sky option, you can visit Mars or even with the Moon. This option will fascinate you if you are interested in celestial bodies, planets and constellations. It takes interesting information from specialized organisms and satellites such as NASA, DLR, USGS, ESA or FU Berlin. You will be able to see where NGC 5462, Messier 101 or Pinwheel Galaxy are in the space, among others, or search for the one you want in particular. Apart from this space view, you also have the possibility of navigating and exploring in first-person every city thanks to its Google Street View feature. Move the well-known yellow icon (which emulates a person) and walk through any street of the place you want. You could even take a tour without physically being in that city.
Google Earth 220.127.116.117 Features
Google Earth includes several features which are detailed below:
- Flight simulator
- Two available aircrafts (F-16 Fighting Falcon or a Cirrus SR-22)
- Street View
- Possibility of viewing historical images with its Timer tool
- 3D Buildings
- ‘Fly to’ option, to write the exact address you want to search for
- Customize your search choosing the Layers you want to see (borders and labels, places, Panoramio, roads, weather, gallery or ocean, among others)
- Ruler tool to measure the distance between two or more points
- Sky, Mars and Moon options
If you want to read more information about Google Earth before you download it, feel free to do it at the developer's webiste.
System Requirements for the download and installation
If you want to download Google Earth, we recommend you to check firstly its system requirements which are detailed below:
- Operating System: Windows XP or higher
- Processor: Pentium 3 500Mhz or faster
- RAM: 512MB of memory
- Graphic Card: DirectX9 and 3D capable with 64MB of VRAM
- HDD Space: 12.5 MB of free space
- Screen resolution: 1024x768, 16-bit High Color
- Required Internet connection
If you want to know more information about its PC system requirements, you can do it here.
- Operating System: Android 2.1 Eclair or higher
- Supported Screen Resolution: 320x480 or higher
- SD Memory Card: 211 MB at least
- Device Memory: 35 MB of free space
If you want to read more information about its mobile system requirements, you can do it here.