Explore the Earth through Google Earth

Latest Version: Google Earth 5.0


Google earth is a free download that allows students/teachers to explore the world around us. They can "fly to" a location simply typing in an address or specific point of interest. When traveling through google earth, the viewer can create pinpoints to remember a location or a series of points to travel on a virtual trip from place to place. A viewer can also embed their own knowledge and/or research by adding pictures and other digital media into a pinpoint to share with others.


PA Standards:

  • 7.1.12 Basic Geography Literacy
  • 7.2.12 The Physical Characteristics of Places and Regions
  • 8.1.12 Historical Analysis and Skills Development
  • 2.5.11 Mathematical Problem Solving and Communication
Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
  • 1.8.11 Research

NETS for Learners

  1. Creativity and Innovation
  2. Communication and Collaboration
  3. Research and Information Fluency
  4. Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving, and Decision Making
  5. Digital Citizenship
  6. Technology Operations and Concepts

21st Century Learning Skills

Digital Age Literacy
Effective Communication
Inventive Thinking
High Productivity


Fly - To

  • Type an address or a point of interest into the Fly To Box.
  • Next use your zoom features to zoom in closer to a specific location.


  • After finding a place of interest, click on the push-pin at the top of screen to keep this location as one of your pin-points.
  • Next you can provide a name to the pin point and a description.
  • The description can include a text, picture or a video embedded from youtube, google video, or other location.
    • Insert picture - it must be a picture that is already on the internet somewhere.
    • You will need the image location - find the picture, right click and copy the image location.
    • Then in your pinpoint description type the following - <img src=" paste the html code from image location here ">
    • This is the same for inserting a video or other embeddable code. Simply copy the code from the website and paste it into the description box.
  • Drag your pinpoint into a chosen folder under my places or right click on my places and choose add folder to create a new folder.


  • Click on the ruler icon at the top of the screen to determine distance between one place and another
  • Click your left mouse button on the starting location and then hold the mouse button down until you get to the next location
  • Let go - it will give you the distance between those 2 points


  • Click on the path icon and then click several times along the path you wish to outline
  • Each time you click you will get a red dot on your map
  • If you make a complete path (start and a path all the way back to start) it will give you the distance of that perimeter

Visit the Stars

  • Click on the planet icon at the top of the screen
  • It will take you out into space and show you what the stars look like based on the location you were at
    • Example - if you are visiting Disney World and hit the planet button, it will take you out into space and show you the stars at this point in the year as if you were looking up from Florida


  • Click on the icon that has the sun over the mountains
  • It will show you the sun as it is right now on Earth
  • Which parts of the Earth are in daylight vs night

Insert an Image Overlay

  • You can insert a .jpeg (such as another map of an area) by using the Add menu and choosing Image Overlay
  • Once you create the outline of the shape where you map will go, choose browse to find your image
  • Then stretch your image to fit inside the chosen area
  • Last, change the transparency to lighten up the image so you can still see the google earth features underneath

Recording a Trip

  • When you have created several pinpoints of where you would like to visit, record these as a trip
  • Click the video camera icon at the top of the screen
  • Next click the red dot that appears at the bottom of your screen to start recording
  • Then click on your first pinpoint that will be your first stop in your trip
  • Continue clicking on pinpoints as if you were going to each spot in a sequential order
  • When finished going to all places, click the stop button on your recording menu (should be near the red dot)
  • Now it will play back your trip
  • This folder of trips can be emailed to someone so you can share your trip with them

Image from Google Earth

  • GAtoDW.JPG

When you have a view that you would like to use as an image elsewhere, simply go to edit, choose copy image
  • Then you can paste that image into paint to create a jpeg file or paste it into word or powerpoint and then you can crop it there to add to your project

Video Tutorials:

Google Earth Short Tutorial

Navigating though Google Earth

Google Earth 4.3

Online Resources: