Tips for using Google Earth on mobile devices

Yesterday Google released Google Earth 7.0 for Android, giving us our first look at the new 3D Terrain that they announced earlier this month. With that in mind, we thought we’d share some tips for using Google Earth on mobile devices.


The first tip comes from +Geoffrey Zub, who discovered a feature that Frank and I had been hoping Google would include: a way to toggle between the old 3D buildings and the new 3D terrain.
If you go into the [Settings] menu on your device and turn off “Terrain”, then go into the [Layers] menu and turn on “3D buildings”, you get the old buildings back! If you leave “3D Buildings” enabled and then re-enable “Terrain”, you get the new 3D imagery. If you turn them both off, of course, you get a flat (but very responsive) earth.
In terms of using Google Earth on your mobile device, one of the best tips I’ve heard came from Stefan Geens nearly four years ago when Google Earth was released on the iPhone — turn the phone sideways and use your thumbs to navigate. Using that two-point input, you can easily zoom, pan and scroll to wherever you need to go. The tablet is a bit different, and I tend to get better use out of Google Earth on there if I set the tablet down and use my index fingers.
Combined with the fairly new KML support on mobile devices, Google Earth is quickly becoming a very formidable app.
What are your favorite tips for using Google Earth on a mobile device?

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. Parbodh C Bali says:

    Why Google Earth is not being downloaded in India on Samsung P3100 Tab. It say, not compatible in your region. What is solution, I need it badly.

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