Google Earth is a geobrowser that accesses satellite and aerial imagery, ocean bathymetry, and other geographic data over the internet to represent the Earth as a three-dimensional globe. Geobrowsers are alternatively known as virtual globes or Earth browsers. Google also refers to Google Earth as a "geographic browser (it simply means a browser that is geography based).
Google Earth continues to mesmerize with its ability to put the world's geographic information at you fingertips. It enables users to "fly" from space to street level to find geographic information and explore places around the world, it’s like a video game and a search engine rolled into one, Earth is basically a 3D model of the entire planet that lets you grab, spin and zoom down into any place on Earth. From Google Earth version 4.3, (5.0 is the latest) you can tour distant cities with Google StreetView,
There are three versions of Google Earth but we only need to use the free version. Intended for home and personal use, this product has many features, including displaying satellite and aerial imagery, a growing set of layers of ‘map-able’ data, the ability to display third party data, tools for creating new data, and the ability to import GPS data. Download it from - http://earth.google.com/
Google Maps are used daily by millions around the world. It enables you to look up and study addresses in many countries and get point-to-point, ‘drag-gable’ directions plotted on an interactive street map. You can also research public transit options and study Yellow Pages listings with reviews, business information and coupons. You can freely switch between maps, satellite, and terrain (and in a number of locations “StreetView”) modes to gain various perspectives on a location. Best of all, Google Maps is an online application, so there's no downloading required, and you can access it from any computer that's connected to the Internet. For access go to: http://maps.google.co.uk/
Whether you are keen on astronomy or simply want to bring the wonder of the night sky to your PC, Google Sky provides an unprecedented look at millions of stars and galaxies in outer space! With this relatively new Sky feature, you can see real imagery from the Hubble Space Telescope which, has been stitched together with imagery of the rest of the sky, to give you a unique viewing experience.
Sky is downloaded with Google Earth version 4.3 onwards.
However, for all applications be sure to visit the User Guide at -http://earth.google.com/support/bin/static.py?page=guide_toc.cs - to get started.
Let’s look at Google Earth
Download the latest version (5.0) from - http://earth.google.com/download-earth.html. Once the download process has been completed, you should automatically be able to open the software and begin using Google Earth.
To check for updates of Google Earth select ‘Help’ then, from the drop-down, scroll down to “Check for Updates Online”.
The first thing everyone does is navigate to their house and other places they know. Each can be bookmarked by dragging a ‘Placemark’ icon to the location; causing it to be automatically saved under “Places” down the left hand side.
As Google Maps, you can establish route directions in Google Earth: - Select the Directions tab at the top of the left hand column and enter the Starting and Finishing locations. As we will also see later, in Google Maps, a step by step route will be detailed together with a plot of the route over the satellite image. By double left clicking each “Step”, the relevant area on the image will be displayed in closer detail. In order to familiarise yourself, with any landmarks you can, by dragging the image view arrow, with the mouse, in the direction of the route preview the journey.
Look closely at the image and you may notice a small ‘Bus’ icon denoting a bus/coach stop. Clicking on the icon displays the route number of the buses that use the stop.
You can also generate a route by, clicking on a location or adding a location of your own, and then selecting directions to / from on its map locator. Then you can actually sit back and let Google Earth Fly the route – how cool is that.
With your bus pass in hand - one handy feature of Google Earth is that it not only shows bus stops but by clicking the bus stop icon it will show you which bus/busses stop there.
But most of all you will most likely want to look at that hotel you have booked and how far away from the station / airport or beach it is.
Let’s look at Google maps.
Go to www.google.co.uk and click Maps the UK and be displayed as the default now click on “Get Directions”. Of course, if you enter a not British location for your directions, it will also map that.
In the fields displayed enter your starting location in (A) and finishing location in (B). You can enter an address, a location or even a landmark. If you want to add stops simply click on Add Destination (you can also delete a destination.). Select from the: By car, walking or public transit (transport) option where available - when the route is displayed and you’re ready to go.
Click the Get Directions button. The resulting display will show you step by step directions together with the length and duration of your trip. Hate driving in traffic? Well Google maps allow you to select Traffic and adjust it to display live conditions or an estimate of the conditions from a date and time set by you.
If the traffic looks bad, use your mouse to drag the blue map line to take a different route.
On some routes you have selected, you may see a camera icon against the step by step result – click on the camera, maybe before you start the journey, to get a street level view of the step,. If there is an arrow in the picture you can also drag that to move through the journey.
You can also click on the arrows, on the street level view, to see a step by step picture image of the route – helpful when trying to find your destination.
With the public transit option a bus icon, will be displayed on the map. Clicking this icon will display the relevant bus information – times of the next bus and where its stop is situated.
Finally, clicking on “Print” will open up a page that shows step by step progress in getting to your destination. Each step also displays an approximate time and distance from the previous / next one. In addition there is also the facility to include a small map of each step on the printed out.
Let’s look at Google Sky.
Download Sky with Google Earth 4.3 onwards and access it from the menu bar at the top of Google Earth click on the “Planet” icon and then select from Earth, Sky, Mars or the Moon –
Using the location under “Layers”, down the left side of the screen, click the various boxes to bring the Sky / Mars or the Moon to life – use the Layers options to take a closer look - have fun.
Of Course if all else fails why not try your hand at being a pilot – from the top menu in Google Earth select Tools and then “Enter Flight Simulator” from the drop down.
Once you have selected you aircraft and airport – off you go – Press the Page-up key to start taxing down the run way and use the mouse “left click” first as the joy stick. However I recommend you study Help before you fly off to sunnier climes.
RCC - March 2010.