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MichaelThe world’s most powerful virtual globe

A review by Michael

Google Earth (developed by Google and initially released on June 11, 2001) is a computer program that displays a three-dimensional representation of Earth, based mainly on the data provided by satellites (it makes use of satellite imagery technology). Besides satellite images, Google Earth makes use of GIS data (Geographic Information System) and aerial photography, allowing users to view landscapes and cities from different angles. By entering the coordinates and addresses in the search box, users are able to explore the entire globe within seconds. Besides that, users can use their mouse and keyboard to navigate the map. These are the main features of Google Earth:

Street View

Street View is one of the most used features of Google Earth because it displays 360° photos (also known as VR photographs or spherical photos). It includes both cities and rural areas worldwide. With its help, users can take a look at the surroundings of the chosen address, and act as if they are within that specific location and lookaing around.

*BONUS: users can use Street View from a dog’s perspective if they use Google Japan.*

KML (Keyhole Markup Language) Tour

By using the “Add Tour” feature from the toolbar, users can record their actions and movements in Google Earth. They can pan, fly, rotate the globe and zoom in and out. It comes in handy when a user wants to do a project about a specific place.

Measure Distance

With this feature, users can measure the distance between two or more chosen points. This also allows users to measure the size of the polygons they draw. Besides this, Google Earth offers different measurement units (e.g. kilometers or miles), allowing users to choose between them.

3D Imagery

Google Earth can display 3D scale models of buildings, along with photorealistic 3D imagery. This feature can be used in almost every city, allowing users to view buildings, but more importantly, see famous structures like Eiffel Tower, monuments like Stonehenge and so on.

Water and Oceans

With the help of oceanographers from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Google Ocean was introduced in Google Earth. It is a feature that allows users to view bathymetry in 3D.

Google Sky

Besides exploring Earth, Google Earth allows users to explore the sky as well by using the Google Sky feature. Users can now view stars, constellations, animations depicting planets in their orbits, and galaxies. Google Sky uses the VOEvent protocol, and can therefore be used in real-time.

Google Moon

Initially, Google Moon was a browser application, but Google implemented this feature in Google Earth in 2009, for the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11. With the help of NASA, Google Moon lets users explore the Moon by offering them several tours, videos, Street View-style panoramas, and incorporated maps.

Google Mars

Google Earth lets its users visit Mars. While using this feature, users are able to see high-resolution orbital imagery, the terrain in 3D, and images of the surface. More than that, they can turn ON the Information Layers to find out pieces of information about this planet. 360-degree panoramas are also available for this feature, making the experience of their “visit” even better.

Bottom Line

Google Earth helps us explore both Earth and part of the universe. Besides the fact that it is useful regarding orientation, it allows us to explore regions of the world without having to leave our house. Features like 360-degree panoramas, 3D Terrain, and Information Layers helps users discover interesting things about regions and even plan their next vacation.

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