Google Earth Manual
Designing and Creating Earth Science Lessons with Google Earth
Used with permission by Earth Science Australia
Steve Kluge - Fox Lane HS, Bedford, NY and Purchase College,
SUNY, Purchase, NY Drew Patrick - Fox Lane HS, Bedford, NY Eric Fermann - Eastchester HS, Eastchester, NY
By applying a topographic map overlay and manipulating the
orientation of the landscape, the relation between contour lines
and landscape features becomes obvious.
Igneous processes such a volcanoes and flows
Slope angles for various volcano types can be calculated
Meandering streams and oxbow lake formation along the
Mississippi; erosion and deposition
Glacial vs. stream valley
U-shaped valleys and deep v-shaped valleys
Arêtes, horns, etc; lateral, medial, end, and terminal moraine
Wave refraction; long-shore drift
Meteorite impact craters
Relating crater diameter to the diameter of the impacting
Earthquake and volcano locations can be activated to show
concentrations near plate boundaries; mid-ocean ridges and
trenches are visible, distance of volcanoes and volcanic islands
from trenches can be calculated.
Especially when used in association with a geologic map
overlay, anticlines, synclines, and dipping structures can be
Time of day and angle of insolation
Shadows from tall objects such as buildings can help students
identify the sun location and the time of day.
Ordering Placemarks in a Tour
When creating and adding placemarks to a tour folder, each successive
placemark will be added to the top of selected folder in
the Places frame.
Tours play in order from the top down. Creating placemarks in your folder
in a logical sequence will create a 'backwards' tour (i.e. the first
location created will be the last 'stop' on the tour).
Tour placemarks can be rearranged by clicking and dragging each stop into
its appropriate position in the tour list (See also Moving Placemarks).
One suggestion to aid with the re-arrangement of the tour is to number the
stops sequentially. When re-ordering the placemarks, 'stop' number 1
should be at the top of the tour folder, and stops should continue in
numerical order. Notice that a number of the stops in the sample Giant
Peak tour are numbered. Remember, placemarks can be edited at any time
Saving and Sharing Folders and Placemarks
Once you have created folders and placemarks in my Places, GE will save
them there. But if you want to bring your GE tours to another computer,
send them to a friend, or post post them to the web, you will have to save
them as separate .kml or .kmz files.
To save a folder or placemark, simply right click the folder/placemark you
wish to save, and select "save as" as indicated in the image to the right.
Select or create and select a folder on your hard drive to hold your GE
files. You can save your files in either .kml (Keyhole Markup Language
file) or .kmz (Keyhole Markup Zip file)format. It makes sense to save
folders containing several placemarks as .kmz files.
When you click a .kml or .kmz file in My Computer, it will automatically
open with Google EarthTM
Re-sizing Images from the Internet
You're quite likely to want to include images you've found on the
internet, but the image size may be too large to fit your placemark they
way you's like. The remedy is quite simple, and just involves adding width
and height specifications to the <IMG SRC=" "> tag. Follow these
steps to resize an image in your placemark:
Right click the image you're interested in and select "properties".
Jot down the image size on a piece of scrap paper.
Multiply both the width and height measurements by the same
reduction factor (0.5 will produce an image 1/4 the size of the
original), and jot down those new dimensions.
Edit your <IMG SRC=" "> tag by adding width and height specs
<IMG SRC=" " WIDTH="your calculated width" HEIGHT="your
To reduce an image whose original size is 900 by 387 pixels, for
instance,use this IMG SRC tag:
Using Your Own Images
Rather than linking to someone else's images, you may want to use your
own. While images that you own can be attached to a .kmz file, the image
will greatly increase the size of the file and increase file download
times as well. Furthermore, we have experienced some trouble getting
images to reliably travel with a GE file. For those reasons, we recommend
hosting your images at one of the sites listed in the Image
Hosting section of this manual. Instructions for uploading your
images are at those sites, and generally you will have to open a free
account to do so. Once your picture is up on the host site, you can
retrieve its URL by right clicking the image and selecting "properties".
You can cut the URL from the properties window that opens and paste it
between the " " in the <IMG SRC=" "> tag in your placemark
It is quite likely, however, that your images will be the wrong size to
fit your placemark. You can resize the images right in your placemark (see
the resize section above). Alternatively, you can
download and install Easy
Thumbs, a free and easy to use image resizing and editing tool
(other options are listed in the Imaging
Processing section of this manual).
Generally, images will need to be no larger than 450 pixels wide or high,
and since they will be viewed on screen, jpg quality can be set to 70%
with no significant degradation of appearance
The Giant Peak overlay map in the screen shot to the left was saved from
the MapTech site as "giantmap.jpg"
You can view giantmap.jpg on Fox Lane's server here.
Once you've saved your map, upload it to your image hosting site
(see the section on Images above for information
on hosting images). Right click the map image at your hosting site, view
properties, and note/copy the URL of your map image. You will need the URL
when you create your overlay.
Adding an Overlay to the Display
First, make the following adjustments in the Layers frame: turn on "Roads"
and turn off "Terrain". You may want to turn off everything else as well.
On the dispay, Use the navigation controls to set North to the top of the
display, and adjust the view so that your are looking directly down on the
center of the area where your map will drape over the landscape. Make sure
the display area is a little larger than the area your map will cover.
Click on the folder you created in "My Places" to select the destination
for the overlay.
From the toolbar, click "Add" and then "Image Overlay" as indicated to the
right. A green square will appear on the display, and the "New" image
overlay dialog box will open as shown below.
Type in a name for your overlay in the New overlay dialog box. Then enter
the URL of the map you want to overlay. Google EarthTM
will fetch the map, and place it in the green square on the display.
Finally, adjust the Transparency slider to the middle of the scale Adjusting Your Map Overlay
It's unlikely that your map ended up exactly where it should be. Use your
mouse on the green guides to re-center, stretch, shrink, rotate, and
otherwise prod the map into position.
Use roads and bodies of water, and any other landmarks that appear on both
map and GE display to align the map properly.
You can slide the Transparency: control back and forth to check the "fit"
of your overlay too.
The first few times you do this, you're likely to be a little frustrated.
Don't worry, it gets easier.
When you're done, click "Okay" and Google EarthTM
will save your properly positioned map to your folder in My Places. Editing Overlays
Image Processing Easy
Thumbs is a free utility that allows you to quickly and easily
adjust the size and quality of photos.
MS Paint is an image processing program that comes with Windows. You can
do basic image processing in Paint - resizing, cropping. If you can't
find an MS Paint icon on your machine, click Start > Search and type
MS Paint in the search dialog box.
iPhoto is the image processing program on the Mac platform. ImageJ is a free,
Java based image processing program created by Wayne Rasband at the U.S.
National Institutes of Health. You can find more information about
ImageJ here. If
you've never done any image processing, it will take you some time to
learn to use the various tools. MWSnap
is a handy freeware program that will allow you to capture any part of
your screen and save it as an image file.
Text Editing NoteTab Light is a
handy, free, text editing program with built in html creating and
editing functions from Fookes software.
The following section describes how to use images hosted
at Yahoo Photos. Other image hosting sites will work in much the same
First, go to Yahoo
Photos and either create a new account or log onto your existing
account. Follow the instructions there to create an "album" to hold your
GE images, and upload your photos to that album. Then click the album to
view it, and click the thumbnail of the image you wish to use in your GE
placemark or overlay. A full size image will display to the right of
your album list.
You can right click ON THE IMAGE to get its URL. The
images below show you how to do it in Internet Explorer and Firefox.
...In Internet Explorer
Right click the image and select "Properties". Select and copy the
image URL from the window that opens.
Right click the image and select "Copy Image Location". You can then
paste the image URL into your placemark or overlay description.
There are also sites that will host your .doc files. File Den will keep your files indefinitely, and you can
link directly to them from your Google EarthTM
placemarks. For a list and reviews of other image and file sharing
sharing, visit Free WebHosts.