From the Kenosha News on 6-24-07

Google Earth shows location with satellite imagery and more

      If you want to go a step beyond the map programs discussed last week, check out Google Earth.  Rather than a web site, Google Earth is a program that you can download for free and install on your computer. 

      To download Google Earth, go to http://earth.google.com.  Click on the Downloads link in the upper left corner of the screen.  You can select a version for Windows, MacOS, or Linux by clicking in the appropriate circle next to that operating system, then clicking the “Download Google Earth” button.  The installer program will begin to download; when it is finished, click the Run button to install Google Earth.  Once the installer is finished, the program will show up on your programs list in Windows.  Click Start, the All Programs, then Google Earth, then Launch Google Earth.

      When the program launches, it shows the entire earth with North America facing you.  In the top left corner is a box in which you can enter the address or location that you want to see.  For example, you can type “Coloseum, Rome, Italy” in the box and click the magnifying glass button.  You will “fly” from the current location to the new one.  Once you get the “map,” which is really a satellite view, you will notice various different symbols superimposed on the map.  The ones that look like a wiffle ball with a crack on the top is the Wikipedia symbol.  If you click on one of these, you will be linked to a Wikipedia article on that item (e.g. Trajan’s forum.)  The four-pointed star in a circle denotes a photo of that feature from Panoramio.  The “i” symbol denotes a posting from a member of the Google Earth community; some of these are photos, and some are postings to a discussion.  The red up-side-down-raindrops with letters on them represent local hotels; click on one for a link to an overview of the hotel and Tripadvisor reviews.

      In the upper right corner of the screen is a circle that shows that north is up.  Float your mouse pointer over this to reveal the navigation controls.  These controls include a zoom bar to the right.  Click on the + to zoom in more or the – to zoom further out.   Within the compass circle, you can move east, west, etc. by clicking on the corresponding arrow.  Rotate your vantage point by clicking on the N and dragging it around to make north be at the bottom, etc.  Above the compass circle is the elevation slider bar.  If you click on the right end of the bar, you view the terrain from closer to the horizon.  Many natural terrains are shown in something approaching 3D, but the buildings seem hopelessly flat.  (Test this by flying to “Mount Everest.”)  You can also click on the map and drag it in any direction using the active “hand.”

      In addition to the “Fly to” tab with the box to type addresses, there is a Find Businesses tab and a Directions tab.  Use the Directions tab to plot a route as you would with Google maps or Mapquest, but find interesting items along the way.

by Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 6-24-07