[EDIT 12-Jan-2006: After you read this story, check out the new Google Earth Basics page here at GEB for a list of helpful stories for beginners.]
For the many new users of Google Earth (GE), here are some important tips for getting the most out of the application. Learning to manipulate the mouse and keys to control GE is crucial to getting the most out of sightseeing the Earth.
For those of you with multiple mouse buttons: using a mousewheel is the easiest way to raise or lower your viewing point (or you can hold the right mouse button and slide forward and back). Alternatively, you can use the CTRL-UP ARROW or CTRL-DOWN ARROW keys on your keyboard. Finally, you can use the visual controls on the Nav panel with the + and – symbols. All of these methods adjust your altitude above the Earth’s surface. You can see your height above sea level in the lower right of the GE viewing window. You can move the Earth to position it where you want to see by clicking a point with the left mouse button and slide the cursor to the middle of the viewing window. This way you can learn to zoom in and see the closest possible view of the aerial and satellite photo views of the Earth.
At first, many people don’t realize…
At first, many people don’t realize Google Earth is much more than a map with aerial and satellite photos attached. GE uses data from NASA Space Shuttle missions which provides 3D terrain data for the entire land surface of the Earth. Let’s demonstrate this.
Click on this link to go to GE and fly to Mount St. Helens. Beautiful view right? But, try this: hold your PAGE DOWN key on your keyboard and watch GE tilt your view so you can see Mount St. Helens as a 3D mountain. Very cool right? PAGE UP will tilt your view back up. You can also use the controls on the right side of the navigational control panel for tilting. You can hit the “u” key to tilt back straight up automatically. The “r” key will reset to north and tilt up.
An easier way to tilt and pan your view is to click and hold the middle mouse button or scroll wheel button (those of you who have a Mac with one mouse button have to use the above key or navigational control techniques). While you’re holding the middle button if you move your mouse forward and backwards it will tilt the view. Side to side will pan your view around the point you are looking at. Holding the SHIFT key will constrain your tilt and allow you to rotate your view about a point.
Check out other tips for using GE in the Google Earth Blog tips category. If you haven’t seen it, read Google’s basic tour as well.
About Frank Taylor
Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.
Kristie Almira says
Wow – awesome, thanks for the tips Frank!
Alex J. says
It is an awesome program that I have seen before, but I cannot get it to download onto the library computers…
Ben Draper says
Love the program, it is REALLY awesome, but can anyone tell me how to print a site off the map or e-mai;l it? All I get is BLACK …no picture. I wanted to send my brother a pic of his area but it turned out to be a Black Square.
Am I doing something wrong? Or is it not meant for the Free version?
In anycase, it is a great program, and whoever put it together should get a medal!!
Google, this puts you light years ahead of the pack – Earth at my finger-tip.
Can i view height above sea level on FREE google earth
Frank Taylor says
Where you put your mouse in the Google Earth view it will show the elevation (“elev”) in the lower-left-center in feet or meters. You have to be zoomed in below 150 miles or so before the “elev” will appear.
Is there any way to view elevation as a colour, like those old maps that have different colours for different heights above and below sea level?
I’m doing a project on flooding, and would like to visually present the effects of water levels on inland areas.
Terry Ryan says
Hi Folks, When I hit “play” for a tour it moves imperceptably slowly. Anyone know why or what the fix is?
we have a project and its assumed to use google maps api, but we don’t know how to use it, we need to extract the elevation data for an areain our country, so that we can plot it in directx,so can we get that data, if yes then how to use the apis or web services to do that and thanks !!!!
Ron Brill says
All I get is a black screen, what am I doing wrong?
african date says
I am interested in it for a long time! Love the program, it is REALLY awesome, but can anyone tell me how to print a site off the map or e-mai;l it? All I get is BLACK …no picture. I wanted to send my brother a pic of his area but it turned out to be a Black Square.
Africa travel forum says
I am interested in it for a long time! Where you put your mouse in the Google Earth view it will show the elevation (“elev”) in the lower-left-center in feet or meters. You have to be zoomed in below 150 miles or so before the “elev” will appear.
umass lowell isis says
In anycase, it is a great program, and whoever put it together should get a medal!!Good Luck