Google Earth Basics

Google Earth combines satellite imagery, maps and the power of Google Search to put the world’s geographic information at your fingertips.” – from the Google Earth Home Page

If you are new to Google Earth (GE), there are some useful stories written in the Google Earth Blog which might give a beginner, or even an experienced user, some insights about this exciting program. If you are looking for more advanced things, try going to the GEB home page and use the categories or Search option for things like: GPS, Geocaching, GIS, network links, image overlays, and more. On this page are links to stories which might help guide you to learning enough about Google Earth that you will soon be a GE expert.

(Note: these articles are gradually being updated with new information based on Google Earth version 7.1.)

  1. Important Basics – how to move your view: zoom, pan, tilt
  2. About Google Earth Imagery
    • Imagery Dates – How Google Earth displays dates on their imagery
  3. Overview Map – a nice feature to help you locate yourself
  4. Setting up GE Options – Optimize performance
  5. Using Street View in Google Earth
  6. Google Earth Flight Simulator Tips – all you need to know to use Google Earth’s Flight Simulator
  7. Google Earth Layers
  8. Using GE Offline – no Internet connection
  9. 3D Buildings Layer
    • Google SketchUp – a free 3D modeling program for Google Earth
    • 3D Trees – 3d trees were added in Google Earth 6.0
  10. Ten Easy Steps to Learning about a Place with GE
  11. Visual Guides to GE User interface
  12. Play Tour mode – learn how to use it
  13. GE Files, KML/KMZ – explanation of these file types
  14. Network Links – Basic explanation of network links. See also Matt Fox’s explanation.
  15. Navigation Tricks with GE
  16. Short Video Tutorials on GE Basics – by Googler John Gardiner
  17. Historical Imagery – How to view historical imagery for a particular area in Google Earth
    • New Imagery – Why some “historical” imagery can be newer than the base imagery.
  18. Measuring distances with the Google Earth Ruler

The official Google Earth User Guide has all the details on the features within Google Earth.

St Helens 3D Buildings Overview Map

Here is some useful information from the Google Earth Community:

  1. Common Questions about GE
  2. Placemarks and Image Overlays
  3. National Geographic Stuff
  4. Where do I start? (for GE and GE Community)

Come back often to Google Earth Blog (GEB). GEB brings you new information and GE Files every day. It’s the best way to keep up with what’s happening with Google Earth.
For these and other stories which might give you important tips and ideas, check out the GEB Tips category. Also check out the Reference Links page for other important web resources.

Good luck, and have fun with Google Earth!