"For anyone who has ever dreamed of flying..." - NY Times
The idea is simple. It's a globe that sits inside your PC. You point and zoom to anyplace on the planet that you want to explore. Satellite images and local facts zoom into view. Tap into Google search to show local points of interest and facts. Zoom to a specific address to check out an apartment or hotel. View driving directions and even fly along your route. We invite you to try it now.
Google Earth is free for personal use. No registration is required. You may (optionally) choose to upgrade to Google Earth Plus.
* Free for personal use.
* Sophisticated streaming technology delivers the data to you as you need it.
* Imagery and 3D data depict the entire earth - Terabytes of aerial and satellite imagery depict cities around the world in high-resolution detail.
* Local search lets you search for restaurants, hotels, and even driving directions. Results show in your 3D earth view. Easy to layer multiple searches, save results to folders, and share with others.
* Layers show parks, schools, hospitals, airports, shopping, and more.
* KML - data exchange format let your share useful annotations and view. thousands of data points created by Google Earth users.
Use it for:
* Planning a trip
* Getting driving directions
* Finding a house or apartment
* Finding a local business
* Exploring the world
Considering that this is free bumps the Value for Money right up to the top, plus it helps that this is a great program.
When this first came out I found it confusing, but soon enough picked up on all that I needed to know and now it is the easiest thing in the world to use. I have used the map feature countless times, really handy for those times when you have no idea where on earth your map book is.
When I went to Tucson, Arizona it was great to be able to look up the lay of the land, literally, and actually see the outside of the house that I was going to live in, and in return show my host-family what my own house looked like (and perfect for those bouts of home-sickness). It's great now to be able to look up my old work and home in America.
It's really handy for those who are more visual, like myself, to be able to see landmarks of places you are heading to.
I first heard about google earth when my friends husband who comes from Texas USA, was telling me a story that when he phoned home to talk with his parents he commented on the colour they decided to paint his childhood home and they wondered how he knew of the new colour because he hadn't visited home back in the States since they had painted ~ pretty funny story at the time ~ he had looked up their address on google earth and it shows a picture of the house from the street.
I came home and tried it out for myself! It was amazing...the picture of my house must have been taken a few years ago was the place looked completely different, the google earth image had no gardens and the trees that I had planted were only little, and it also had my old car parked up the driveway!! Oh the memories!
The site itself was easy to navigate and even with me at that time being new to computers wa able to type in any address and look at any house. I did the usual and looked up all my friends addresses to see if their house was on there. It is amazing how I could click on the arrows and look up and down the street, it is like a virtual neighbourhood.
A few years later when I was thinking about moving house I used google earth to check out the houses I was thinking of buying, this gave me a virual tour of the neighbourhood somewhat without leaving the comfort of my own home and armchair....and it was good that I was able to look at places overseas too!
Recently I used google earth at work and my four year old of children looked up their houses on the internet, they were fascinated that they could see their houses on the computer....with some of the children they couldn't work out why they couldn't see their trampoline or play set that is on their front lawn...I tired to explain that the website pictures were taken well before any of them had been born but some of them worried because they thought their trampolines etc had been taken.
The children had fun looking at their houses and telling us which rooms where which from what we could see from the front of the house etc. So all in all a great learning tool to be used and such an easy website to find your way around. Good for all sorts of uses, house hunting, education, just being generally nosey...there is something for everyone! It would be great to get updated pictures of the houses etc but that would require a lot of work for someone!
When I first heard about Google Earth my interest was raised and my curiosity got the better of me. So off I went and download the 11 odd meg download installed it and off I went to see the world, and see the world I did. You start off looking at a fully 3d rotatable representation of the earth, you can then zoom in to anywhere you so desire. Most places only have low res imagery (like most of NZ) but there are still quite a few where you can zoom in and count the number of cars in a car park, or see planes parked on a runway of a secret American base (Yes you can find Area 51 or as it's more officially known 'The Groom Lake Test Facility').
As well as just being able to see these wonderful images of the earth, you also have the ability to turn on layers which overylay other information on top of the current view, such as borders or roads, or the much more interesting 'Keyhole Community BBS' Layer or the 'User Supplied Collections' Layer. The User Supplied Community Layer is by far the most interesting one of the lot. I consists of literally thousands of placemarks that users from around the world have placed and made available to everyone else. Many of these placemarks are also linked into user forums where users share information about the item marked. Many placemarks are placed by people wanting to know what something they see on the screen is, and you can be sure that reading thought the forums you will find the answer. Other placemarks are actually a collection of placemarks of similar interest. For example I found a placemark which was linked into dozens of placemarks of Military submarines located by users from around the world.
One important thing to remember is that some of the imagery used in google earth is a number of years old so it may have changed since the photo was supplied.
So what can I say i'm hooked (and yes I have no life ) but one thing I recommend is have a broadband connection otherwise things will go very slowly for you.
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Kristian Wilson, Nintendo, Inc, 1989