The Internet giant's popular map of the world that uses satellite tech
Google Earth is a virtual, 3D exploration program that allows users to pinpoint and view almost any location in the world. By using satellites, aerial photography and geographic information system (GIS), its maps have the capability to display buildings, structures, and landmarks as well as road and street views. Additional satellite imagery has been recently added, such as the sky, the surface of bodies of water, and options for outer space, Mars and the Moon. Users also have access to a new Historical Imagery feature that exhibits area changes through the years.
Google Earth is available for Windows 2000/XP, Mac OS 10.3.9 or higher and Linux. It is free to download and provides the option to add upgrade features for a fee. The Pro and Plus downloads are geared for commercial users, so the free version will be sufficient for most users.
• Google Earth is relatively user-friendly and easy to use.
• Google Earth provides detailed images and various map layers. Layers include borders and roads, parks, lodging, terrain, 3D buildings, and a National Geographic layer. These can be selected and turned on or off as the user desires.
• Any address can be searched for and pinpointed. The user then has the ability to generate travel and driving directions from one point to another.
• The user is given the ability to zoom in on and view buildings or areas in close detail.
• The user has the capacity to save points of interest, landmarks or plan a sightseeing tour.
• Google Earth showcases news and weather-related information including clouds, radar, and extended forecasts.
• Google Earth has developed a community with discussion boards and blogs that allows users to share information, travel tips and points, and bookmarks.
• Google Earth requires high speed internet connection for it to function effectively.
• The zooming and moving functions may cause images to blur or load very slowly.
• Some user-added points of interest may be inaccurate.
• Not all Google Earth area views are available in full detail.
• Because images are not labeled with dates, it is sometimes unclear if an area is up-to-date. Some pictures or images may be several years old.
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