As mentioned here before, Google Earth allows you to import 3D models and place them where appropriate. If you look at some of the sightseeing web sites listed in my reference section, you are sure to find a number of interesting 3D models. This is yet another way to help make your experience in Google Earth seem more real.
My two favorite 3D models are the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and the Statue of Liberty in New York City. Others I’ve seen done are the Eiffel Tower in France, the US National Monument, St. Louis Arch, the Pyramids in Egypt, and Stonehenge. See if you can find some interesting ones by going to some of the sightseeing sites I’ve listed in the reference section.
For those of you wondering what happens to Google Earth (GE) when you don’t have an Internet connection, the amazing thing is that it will work. But, it only works with what you have installed in your cache. If you anticipate taking your laptop somewhere where you won’t have a broadband connection, you can still use GE for a limited area of viewing. Or you can use it for doing a demonstration somewhere without an Internet connection.
Another blog all about Google Earth is Ogle Earth. Written by Stefan Geens in Stockholm, Ogle Earth has more of a technical focus, and he is very good at picking up new things coming out for GE. Definitely worth a read if you are really into new GE trends.
I just discovered that the release of Google Earth that came out earlier this month included a new feature called “Overview Map”. Turn it on by going to the “View” menu as shown to the right and select “Overview Map”.
This is actually a very nice tool which shows a minature overview of the earth map in the upper right corner of the 3D view. A red rectangle highlights your currently zoomed in view. If you point your mouse at another location on the overview map and double click your left mouse button you will be flown quickly over to this new location (and end up at the same altitude as your last position).
The overview map helps you keep perspective where on the Earth you are looking at, and is a fast way to go to another part of the world you want to see. You can turn this overview map on and off by keyboard shortcut: Control-M. You can also adjust the size of the Overview Map by going to the GE Options (under “Tools->Options” on Windows, or “Preferences” on the Mac). Here you can also change the “Zoom Relation” which means how close the Overview Map matches the zoom level of your current view (default is infinity).
One of the nicest features in Google Earth is the “Play Tour” viewing mode. If you have 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 top left click on “Directions” and enter “Arlington, VA” at the start, and “Washington, DC” 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 Washington, DC. (For added fun, select “Buildings” to see the 3D buildings of the Washington, DC area).
If you have a series of placemarks in your Places, you can select the folder with those placemarks and use the Fly Tour mode there as well. A keyboard shortcut – F10 – can be used as well.
You can adjust the speed, viewing angle, and height by going to the menu item “Tools->Options” and selecting the “Control” tab. Click on “Advanced” to adjust the Camera Tilt and Range.