In 1992, on a sales visit to Australia, our distributor showed off a brand new mapping software program. It came loaded onto a stack of 5.25 inch floppies with a fat manual, for Windows only. That day, at his office in suburban Sydney, the software flew us over to a bird’s eye view of my house in California. Granted, it was like flying a bi-plane and took several lengthy fuel stops in the form of auto-saves and screen refreshes, but we got there. Mapping software had just made the leap from enterprise and government applications to consumer applications. But it was hard to figure out what to do with it, other than say gee-whiz.
Google’s mapping and navigation functions lead the way in our “gee-whiz” category of Internet performance. Nowadays, not a day goes by when we don’t rely upon Google Maps to plot out our day’s travels, scope out customer locations, shop for houses, or promote our business. But it’s Google Earth that lets us fly at warp speed. Practical, and fun too!
Here are 5 (very) cool things you can do in Google Earth:
1) View an image of your home, school or any place on Earth – Click Fly To. Enter the location in the input box and click the Search button. In the search results (Places panel), double click the location. Google Earth flies you to this location.
2) Tour the world – In the Places panel, open the Learn and Explore folder and double click Explore.
3) Get driving directions from one place to another and fly (follow) the route – See Getting Directions and Touring the Route. (Google Maps does this, but … it doesn’t fly you to the route!)
4) View other cool locations and features created by other Google Earth users – In the Layers panel, check Community Showcase. Interesting place marks and other features appear in the 3D viewer. Double click these points of interest to view and explore. See Using Points of Interest (POIs) for more information.
5) View 3D terrain of a place – This is more fun with hilly or mountainous terrain, such as the Grand Canyon. Go to a location (see number 1). When the view shows the location, use the zoom slider to tilt the terrain. See Using the Navigational Controls and Tilting and Viewing Hilly Terrain for more information.
Learn more here. Have fun while you’re working!