Sunday, May 22, 2011

4 Tips While Using Google Earth

Street View can be enabled in Google Earth by checking the layer of the same name under the Layers section. Once the Street View layer is turned on, geographical locations which have been photographed by the Google Street View vehicles show up in the map marked by little camera icons.

Even though USA and some other nations have been exhaustively covered, Street View is not available for all countries owing to various reasons including privacy and national security. But wherever Street View panoramas are available, you can apply the following tips to get the best out of Google Earth.


google earth street search
Left click on the camera icon of a location to bring up the Placemark with details like physical address of that location. You can launch Street View by clicking on the link in the placemark or by double clicking on the camera icon.
google earth street view
Some locations have multiple layers of Google Earth Street View embedded with each layer marking a significant landmark in or around the location. To find locations with layers, just hover the mouse over the location and if you see the Compass symbol, there is more to that place. For example, in the case of Springfield, Illinois, Abraham Lincoln’s Presidential Library is also linked to the Street View icon and clicking on it takes us directly to the venue.

Accessing The Panorama

All the Street View images offer a 360 degree panoramic view of the location. Panoramas cannot be more awesome but it will be quite annoying to see a particular section of the image immediately. Like a puppy chasing its tail, we will have to move left or right to find the spot we are looking for. To avoid this in Google Earth, hover your mouse over the arrows on the top right corner of the Street View.
google earth street search
A rectangular thumbnail view of the Street View is displayed and you can just click on it to view the exact location you want to see without having to go round and round the panorama.

Finding The Distance

google earth street search
By using the Ruler tool, we can find the distance between two Street View locations. Once you select the ruler option, just connect the line between two Street View Icons to view the distance between the two.

Adding Other Layers

google earth street view
From the Layers section, we can add overlays to complement the street view. For example, adding the 3D buildings and weather layers adds 3D models of buildings & weather information to the location. These layers can be viewed by adjusting the transparency slider which sits just above the Layers section.

Final Thoughts

Street View has been implemented in both Google Maps and Google Earth. However, the Google Earth Street View implementation offers a better 3D experience when viewing the surroundings. Users can also add their own placemarks and create paths between places for future reference & travel.
One gripe of mine is that the images are not of very high quality and often are fuzzy & look smudged. Considering the fact that Google Earth is a desktop application, high definition images can be handled without hogging system resources unlike a web browser. Hopefully Google will add images of higher resolutions in the near future.
Google Earth can be a fun application too. Check out how you can use Google Earth to play games, feel the speed of a flight simulator or investigate conspiracy theories.
Do you know of a better Google Earth tip? Please share it with us in the comments below.

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