Google Earth: Changing the Way We Look at the World

Most of us have probably already had fun with Google Earth. We excitedly try to find our street, our rooftop, and, better yet, our car. If we stop to think about it, what we are doing is truly amazing. Imagine being able to take a picture of nearly every corner of the earth via satellite, and then uploading it onto the web for millions of people to see. Well, that’s what Google does. And it doesn’t stop there.

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The Bite behind Google’s Bark

Google’s first feature to play around with, and perhaps the most basic, is the Earth view. As said above, you’re able to vertically zoom into your state, city, and street. Also, you can get even closer with the street view, which provides a car’s eye view of your surroundings. You can then click to move up and down the street and toggle a turn button that allows you to look right at your front porch. Interesting enough, but Google Earth is just one platform in the gallery of Google.

Another feature of the Google Earth bundle is Google Ocean. With Google Ocean, you’re able to go beneath the surface of the world’s vast oceans and see what you can find. Because data imaging of the ocean is so time consuming, Google has provided its users with clickable videos, “Hope Spots”, research discoveries, and shipwrecks.

While both the classic view and Google Ocean provide us with amazing details and information about the world, the true story is found in the showcase with both Heroes of Google Earth and Climate Change. With Google’s Climate Change feature, you can take a detailed, narrated tour of climate change projections, learn new facts about the world, and hear about possible solutions. Al Gore voices the introduction, setting the mood for the presentation.

Heroes of Google Earth, on the other hand, complies stories of how people and organizations have used Google Earth to change the world. The Defenders of Wildlife, for example, used Google Earth as their platform for tracking the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, uploading markers on the map where users can get information and resources.  Similarly, the US Forest Service has used Google Earth to keep tabs on aircraft as they fight forest fires. Each craft contains a black box that sends back information to Google Earth, allowing to the Forest Service to track and visually coordinate forest fire efforts.

Of course, that’s not all. Google Earth also has features based on the Moon, Mars, the galaxy, our sky, favorite places, and even ancient Rome.

Keeping the Flow of Information Open

The true benefits of Google Earth are education and information flow. Google Earth allows anyone with access to the interest the ability to explore the world and use Google’s resources. Not only does this help spread awareness about things like global warming, but it also creates a platform for people to connect and use Google’s resources for change. It truly helps us grow better habits.

Charlotte Vick, a curator of the Explore the Ocean layer in Google Earth, said it best when she said, Google Earth is “part of Google's mission to organize the world's knowledge and make it universally accessible.”Pin It

There’s something truly cosmopolitan about Google and its venture. Thinking back just 100 years ago, let alone 500, the ability to both conceptualize and view the world in its entirety would be unthinkable. Through technology like Google Earth, each generation is intrinsically wound closer and closer together. It’s not a very far step to think “We are all a part of the same world” when playing around with Google Earth.

If you haven’t already, go check out all the features of Google Earth in their Showcase room. Be prepared, you may learn something, or, better yet, you may begin to look at the world in a very different way.

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