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Learn what you can do with Google Earth!
What is Google Earth?
Google Earth is a free program from Google that allows you to "fly" over a virtual globe and view the Earth through high-resolution graphics and satellite images. It is greatly superior to static maps and satellite images. Google Earth gives you a drone's eye view of the world below.
Google Earth is the world's most detailed globe and one of the most frequently downloaded programs in the history of the internet. Within minutes you will be zooming in on your hometown and taking visual excursions to our planet's most visited or most remote places.
The images are detailed enough that in most populated areas you can clearly see your house, objects in your yard, and often recognize your car parked along the street. A digital elevation model within Google Earth allows you to view the landscape of many geographic areas in 3D.
A Free Download
Google Earth is a free downloadable program that you install on your Windows, Mac, or Linux desktop or laptop computer. The program requires very little space on your hard drive because the images are stored on Google's servers and streamed to your computer upon demand.
Google Earth is also available as a browser plug-in and as a mobile app. Google has been offering the program for free and improving it regularly since 2005. It has been downloaded over one billion times.
High-resolution satellite images.
Recent images for most locations.
Easy & safe to download and install.
Do fly-overs of anywhere on Earth.
Use on desktop, tablet or phone.
Zoom in on your house!
Free, easy to use.
Recent Images, Updated Regularly
Most of the images in Google Earth were acquired within the past three years, and Google is continuously updating the image set for different parts of the Earth. Large cities generally have more recent and higher resolution images than sparsely inhabited areas.
A misconception exists among some people that the images displayed in the Google Earth program are live-updated directly from satellites. This is not the case. The images are acquired by satellites, processed by commercial image providers or government agencies, and then updated to the Google Earth image database in batches.
However, Google and its image providers do have the ability to rapidly integrate new images into the program. This is sometimes done in emergency situations - such as when an area has been hit by a natural disaster and new images would be of valuable assistance to the recovery and relief efforts.
Google Earth will install on most computers with just a few clicks. Most people are surprised to learn that Google Earth will even work on their tablet computer or phone. Take it with you while traveling to check out beaches, neighborhoods, fishing locations, hiking areas, and much more.
When you launch the Google Earth program on your computer or mobile device it will display an image of the Earth from space. You can easily use the controls to "fly" down and find your location. However, if you are in a hurry, you can simply search for an address or the name of a landmark or the geographic coordinates. Google Earth will quickly "fly" you right to your destination.
Developed for the CIA?
Google Earth was originally called "Earth Viewer 3D." It was developed by Keyhole, Inc., a company funded by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The software was developed to be a program for "browsing the earth" - and that is exactly what it does.
Google purchased Keyhole in 2004, and with that acquisition it obtained Earth Viewer 3D, which it improved and distributed free to the public starting in 2005. Get your free copy of Google Earth using the blue button below.
Google Sky, Mars and Moon
If you enjoy Google Earth, you might also learn to use Google Sky, Google Moon and Google Mars. All of these are free online programs that are similar to Google Earth.
Author: Hobart M. King, Ph.D.
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