Want to take a solo tour on the Great Wall of China? What about a stroll down the Champ Elysees in Paris? Or perhaps you’d like to explore the Cayman Islands on your lunch break? Thanks to Google Earth, you can. The program shows you a map of the Earth by putting together satellite images, aerial photography, and high-tech Geographical Information Systems (GIS).
The application also offers you each location’s exciting and fascinating facts, lists of the world’s most astounding landmarks, and even games to help your young ones - or you - learn more about countries and everything in it. So, forget about Frequent Flyer Miles, baggage claim and customs lines. Just sit back, relax, and explore the world.
The most innovative digital map available today
Google Earth is one of the few apps that is considered a masterpiece since it offers all the world’s information in a compact, accessible and fun way.
Because Google relies on outside sources for its satellite and aerial imagery, the app’s quality of images in different locations tends to vary. For example, the close shot of New York’s Yankee Stadium features the stunning nuances of the iconic landmark through clean interface design. The same cannot be expected of a rural area since it's not extensively photographed from space. This is not a limitation of Google’s capabilities. It’s just that the more important the property, the more likely it is to have a detailed - and costly - satellite analysis. Regardless, Google continuously updates the program through a rigorous series of updates, especially when it comes to breaking news. For example, the deadly earthquake in Kashmir, Pakistan was available on the map almost immediately after the disaster. It became an important resource for journalists and rescue workers, but also helped viewers see the calamity for themselves. Their immediate attention to detail is the reason why you - as a casual user or professional - can rely on the features provided by Google Earth.
Seeing whatever there is to see on the planet is... nice. Sometimes, though, you need to see a specific place. The Search portion of Google Earth is there to provide you with an enormous helping hand. In fact, it can help you find the location in seven different ways.
- City, State: Buffalo, NY
- City, Country: London, England
- Street name: Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA
- Specific address: with number, street name, city, state, and country, such as 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC, United States
- Zip or Postal code: 1803
- Longitude, Latitude: in decimal format, 37.7, -122.2 or DMS format, 37 25'19.07''N, 122 05'06.24''W<
- General places: coffee in NYC
The feature does function the same way as Google Maps, but with an interactive twist. The location will show map-based stories created by other users. So, if this hotspot is new to you, check out the stories to see how well other locals are interacting with the area.
Voyager of the world
The stand-out feature of Google Earth is Voyager. Google teamed up with NASA, the Jane Goodall Institute, BBC, and the Sesame Workshop to create this showcase of virtual guided tours. It provides toddlers, teens and adults, a more emotional way to engage with the world. Click the wheel icon on the main page, and you could see the inside of an Inuit igloo or all of Ernest Hemingway’s Hangouts. It is also a captivating way to spread awareness of conservation. Walk through Tanzania’s Gombe Natural Park, and you’ll see chimpanzees displaying familial behavior the same way we do. Or, see NASA’s collection of climate and geological change here on Earth.
Even if you have no particular agenda, you can click on the die on the left-hand side to activate the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ mode. This will redirect you to one of 20 thousand locations selected by Google under beauty, interest or educational value.
Where can you run this program?
Google Earth is available on all widespread platforms. The latest mobile application requires Android 9.0 or older and iOS 12.1.2 and older.
You can access more countries, cities, and collaborative features on the Google Earth website. To view the full Google Maps with 3D imagery and Earth view, you will need the latest version of these browsers: Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer.
Here are a few things to remember when you’re using these platforms: if you’re not able to see the full version of Maps with 3D, check if your preferred browser blocks WebGL technology. You should also make sure to turn on hardware acceleration if you’re using Google Chrome. Just go to More > Settings. Click Advanced > System to turn on use hardware acceleration when available.
Is there a better alternative?
Marble takes a more scientific approach to map programs by offering multiple viewing modes. You can use this to view a 3D globe, highlight topographical features, and even temperature and precipitation data. This lightweight app shows more of its power by letting you view virtual models of other planets, and follow orbiting satellites and space stations in real time. These features can leave you in awe of how vast the universe it, but it can also be a tremendous help on the road. Use its display of street views, real-time road updates, and online/offline address search to get you out of a traffic jam.
The sleek and minimalist approach to interface and the interactive features has made Google Earth one of the most approachable applications available today. Despite the compelling technology behind it, you can easily explore every corner of the globe in just a few clicks.
Should you download it?
You should absolutely download this program on your smartphone and desktop.