Play Tour Mode in Google Earth

Play Tour of Driving Direction is Google Earth One of the nicest features in Google Earth is the “Play Tour” viewing mode. If you have a path or a series of placemarks (for example, if you have entered in something for directions) you can fly along the path or series of placemarks.
For example, at the “Search” pane on the top left of GE click on “Directions” and enter “Denver, CO” at the start, and “Vail, CO” at the end. Next click “Search” (). The route between these two will be calculated. Now, you will see small “Play Tour” and “Stop Tour” buttons appear in the lower right below the directions. “Route” should be highlighted. Click the “Play Tour” button and you will be flown along the route to Vail.
If you have a series of placemarks in your Places pane, you can select the folder with those placemarks and use the Fly Tour mode there as well. If you click in the main window, you can use a keyboard shortcut – ALT-p – to initiate “Play Tour” as well.
You can adjust the speed, viewing angle, and height by going to the menu item “Tools->Options” (“Preferences” on the Mac) and selecting the “Touring” tab. There you can adjust the Camera Tilt, Range, and Speed . You can also turn on a feature called “Show balloon when tour is paused” which will pop up placemark description bubbles as you view a series of placemarks in a tour.
For more information, see the GE User’s Guide on Play Tour Mode.

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.


  1. Great. Do you have a good way of capturing the flight on video, or saving and providing a link to it so I can use it on a blog.

  2. Scott Marquardt says:

    What would REALLY be handy, of course, would be if the options in Earth were overrideable by setting in paths (part of the kml), such that tours could have specific height, angle, and speed settings. Indeed, the speed of a tour could be tethered to the new time tags. “Where I am in a tour” would be a function if time. Something like that.

  3. Re: capturing the flight on video.
    Windows Media Encoder (free) has a screen capture wizard which will record the screen on video, either a region of the screen, or the entire screen.

  4. can we set Camera Tilt, Range, and Speed for touring via google earth COM API?

  5. Talia Raine says:

    I was wondering if Scott’s question has ever been addressed. That is exactly what I need right now as I am trying to make movies–using GE Pro–that simulate watching a car drive down the streets of Manhattan. I’ve done directions (which GE can’t make a high quality movie of) and the tour points when played to record the video always land too far away. Is there any way to write some sort of script it can follow, replay and record?
    Thanks so much for your help.

  6. I was wondering if Saeed’s question has ever been addressed. It’s exactly what I have to do now for my application…
    Thanks in advance for any help.

  7. Saeed and Talia… You can get more information on the COM API at Google’s site:
    Specifically, look at these entries:

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