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History - Google Earth

Page history last edited by John Pence 8 years, 1 month ago

John Pence



Discovering History with Google Earth



What is Google Earth?


Google Earth is a virtual globe! You can go wherever you want, whenever you want. Google earth provides not only an aerial view of places on earth, but a street view as well. Want to see you house from the street you live on; just type your address in the search bar. Want to visit the Pyramids: go for it. Google earth lets you see a place anywhere in the globe, even under water. Google Earth allows you to plot out points, make measurements, get directions, fly through space, and even collect historical data from previous images and maps in history.



How to Use Google Earth


First: Download the program: www.earth.google.com

Second: Open the program through you applications folder 


This is what the page looks like upon opening it:




Third: Notice all the options on the left hand side and top and right side. These are your tools to navigate the globe. 


            Starting on the left:



                   Search Bar: This is where you can type in any address in the world. Once it is inputted and hit enter, you will fly to that location.

                   Want to do a 3d tour? Just save the locations that you want to tour by copying the address to 'my places.'

                                                     To start the tour, hit the play button and scroll between your places you have saved.     

                   Layers: This provides the opportunity to find and explore much more. To see roads, or 3d building, or photos that people have uploaded to                                 that location; just click on the layer and they will appear on your map. 

           On Top:


                         The top menu bar lets you do many things. First icon on the left allows you to get rid of your left menu to give you a bigger viewing                          space of the earth. Moving to the right you have:

                                        Add Placemark: If you do not have an address, just click on an area to find out where you are

                                        Add Polygon: Create a path that you want to measure or explore, you can make it 3d, and create a flyby of the entire path.

                                        Add Path: Much like the polygon, you can draw a free form path or click to destinations to make a path.

                                        Add Image Overlay: Create snapshots of whatever you want to show: weather patterns, hiking paths, wars, desertification                                                                        areas, etc...

                                        Record a Tour: This is a great tool to record whatever you are doing. You can go back and forth over the Mason Dixon Line to                                                                  show distances of the civil war. You can fly from one address to another and save it to show students.

                                        Historical Imagery: This allows you to see what the place looked like 10 years ago, or almost any time in between. You can                                                                         see buildings being built and farms turned into housing developments.

          On the Right:

                                         This is where one can navigate through the earth without using the search bar. If you want to zoom in or out, just move the scale towards the + or -. The arrows let you go in all directions. The stick figure lets you place yourself anywhere on the globe to get a street view of wherever you are.


How can Google Earth be used in the Classroom?


Students these days have a hard time understanding where something is on a map and how far away it is from where they are at. Google Earth, most importantly, puts locations into geographical context. Google Earth can be incorporated into classrooms in numerous ways.


One way that I am going to demonstrate is United States history in Washington D.C..  As a teacher, I can find Washington D.C. in the search bar. Once located I can fly from Colorado to Washington D.C. and take a look at the location; where it sits in the U.S., states that border it, waterways, buildings, etc...  



Once in Washington D.C. I can go more in depth. I can click on the youtube layer and find information about numerous historical events. Pictured is a clip explaining the White House when Abraham Lincoln was President:




I can go from Washington D.C. over to Alcatraz Island and show how long it takes to swim to the shores of San Francisco if a prisoner were able to escape. Using the top menu bar, I can trace a line that would represent a swim to the shore of San Francisco.  I can see the measurement is exactly 1 mile and can even overlay a map from the 1920's to show what San Francisco would look like. From this point of view, I can talk about the gangsters that were imprisoned here in the 1920's. 



 One great teaching aspect, among many others, of Google is the ability for teachers to manipulate the information on the screen. Teachers can add historical pictures next to a location as well as a brief summery. Teacher can also create paths or routes that were vital or of historical importance. Below, in a matter of a few short minutes, I was able to create the Ho Chi Minh trail in Vietnam. This trail was crucial in a North Vietnamese victory, and ultimately an American loss, by means of using international borders as cover.




Learn more information about Google Earth


Google has a practical tutorial for learning how to use the application. This webpage breaks down information into categories:



Youtube also presents numerous tutorials:

      Basic tutorial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYapu-TDW30  

     How to use polygons  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40Ybn-BXWFA      

     How to create a tour  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuJwarqTLQA

     How to create a historical path http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhvXnILwCHQ




Other great ideas on how to use Google Earth to teach History:














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