Using a web browser, navigate to http://www.earth.google.com.
In the top right corner, there is a green button that
says “Download Google Earth (Free)”. Press this button.
Read the License Agreement, then press “Agree and Download.”
Your browser will be directed to another page where the
download dialog box should appear.
If your browser is not directed to the download dialog
box, click on “click here to start it”.
Press “Save File” then choose a location to save the
Navigate to the location on your computer where you
saved the installer and double-click on it to begin the installation process.
Follow the directions given to complete the
Google Earth is a powerful tool for navigating global
datasets. It is becoming the new
standard in geospatial data exploration. For those of you who have never used Google Earth before, here is a
quick-start guide that will help you get up to speed with this software.
Panning in Google Earth is the same as spinning a typical
globe, except you can spin the globe any direction. You can rotate the globe with your mouse by clicking and
holding the left mouse button and dragging. This will move the globe as if it were a ball floating in
space. This same
panning can be performed by using the arrow keys. If the panning using the arrow keys is
too coarse, then you can hold the ALT (or option) key and press the arrow keys to perform
finer scale panning.
Rotating the globe underneath the center of your view can be
achieved by holding the SHIFT key and pressing “Left” or “Right” arrow to
rotate the view counter-clockwise or clockwise respectively. This is turning your view so the top of
the screen is oriented in a different compass direction.
Zooming in Google Earth is the same as bringing a typical
globe closer to your face for finer scale viewing. If you have a wheel mouse, you can use the scroll wheel to
zoom your view in and out. If you
do not have a wheel mouse, you can use the up and down arrow keys while holding
to zoom in and out.
When titling, you are changing the view from a top-down
(bird’s eye) view of the globe to a horizon view (typical human view) or
looking across the surface of the globe. Tilting can be achieved by pressing and holding the
wheel on your mouse and dragging forward or backward. If you do not have a wheel mouse, you
can hold the SHIFT key and press the “Up” or “Down” arrow to achieve the same
After moving (panning, rotating, zooming, and tilting) the
globe around in Google Earth, you may want to return your view to something
more expected. To return your view
to north being up, you can press “n” (north mode). To return your view to top-down (bird’s eye) you can press
“u” (up mode). To return your view
to north being up and top-down simultaneously, you can press “r” (reset
All of the above navigation methods can be achieved with the
navigation center in the top right corner of the Google Earth screen (shown below).
Google Earth makes it possible for anyone to view their
global imagery on a simple common format as long as their projection is the
same as Google Earth. There are
plenty of different datasets to explore on the Google Earth KML Gallery located
While navigating the web, you can left-click on KML (Keyhole
Markup Language) or KMZ (Keyhole Markup Zip) files and choose to “Open with”
the kmlfile (default) or kmzfile (default) viewer. This should open
the file directly in Google Earth. You can also choose to “Save to Disk” the KML file to open with Google
Earth at a later time.
To open pre-existing KML or KMZ files from your computer,
inside Google Earth, click on the “File” > “Open”. Navigate to the folder containing your file, left-click on
the file and press “Open”.
If a dataset contains a time sequence of data, it can be
animated with the timeline to the left of the navigation center. There is a play button on the right
side that will automatically loop the animation.
For more shortcuts go to http://earth.google.com/userguide/v4/ug_keyboard.html.