In the most simple terms, Google Earth is a digital map, which shows detailed, high-quality information gathered from satellite images of the Earth. One able to see different views in 3D, from various angles and perspectives. The program can be downloaded for free on a mobile or a computer and covers around 98% of the world, and one can see cities and landscapes from various angles.
What is Google Earth for?
Google Earth uses satellite images, aerial photography, GIS data, and represents the information in a 3D globe. One can zoom into any portion of the earth to get a view from various angles. This fascinating software allows for anyone sitting in one continent, to be able to see even the most minuscule feature in an entirely different part of the Earth. Features like Street View, Night Sky, Flight Simulator, are interesting to navigate. Google Earth basically offers a 3D view of the world, to the most minute details, so one can virtually travel the globe, without having to step out at all.
What are the key features to watch out for?
The 3D Building Model is one of the best and most interesting features of Google Earth. One can see different monuments and prominent buildings from different angles. So if you feel like visiting the Statue of Liberty and cannot for some reason, Google Earth 3D provides a pretty comprehensive and granular view into the monument.
Google Earth features stories and places that one can explore through the program. Pictures of the places lead you to the location, which you can zoom in and navigate with the click of a button. Some of the most beautiful pictures and imagery of the places give you a fantastic online tour.
Google Earth is linked to Maps, which can help find the distance and navigation from your location to the desired destination. While Google Earth gives you the zoomed view of the destination of interest, so even before arriving at a particular destination, you can see how it looks like. In the recent versions of the application, Street View is also integrated into the software, for a more drilled down view of localities and areas.
The Voyager feature shows the Google Stories and virtual tours of various natural and man-made wonders of the world. Information about iconic monuments, amazing satellite images, and a collation of the most breath-taking places on Earth.
The application works on both Android and iOS systems and works on any Windows or Mac operating systems. Easy to download and run.
What are the alternatives to Google Earth?
Google Earth, although a really unique program with state-of-the-art features and imagery, does have able competitors like Google Earth Pro, Google Maps, NASA World Wind, Arcgis, Street View, Cesium, Gis, QGis, etc. The biggest difference between Google Earth and Google Earth Pro is the quality of images that one has access to, to be able to download and print.
Google Maps is a more functional, mapping application, that tracks real-time information about routes, traffic, detours, time is taken from one place to another. While Google Earth shows images from the world, Google Maps tracks real-time information to navigate from one place to the other, and serve entirely different functions. Google Earth is a more experiential program, while Google Maps is purely functional.
NASA WorldWind is an open-source virtual globe, which was first developed by NASA. Since this is open source, developers use it to manipulate and analyze data. Google Earth has also introduced Projects (which is only accessible from a desktop application), for deeper involvement with programmers and developers. Again, the usage is slightly different for WorldWind and Google Earth. While Google Earth is more experiential, for travel and images, NASA WorldWind is more inclined towards building programs for developers using WorldWind as the basis.
Other programs like Arcgis, Street View, Cesium, Gis, QGis, and others, do not have the resource or knowledge base of Google, to be able to compete entirely. By the sheer volume of data captured and applied, Google Earth is a superior application for 3D imagery and navigation of the Earth.
Best things about Google Earth?
Google Earth offers a unique opportunity to be able to navigate any part of the globe, by simply clicking a button. It is easy to use, fairly intuitive, offers a map view and a street view, is interactive, and gives interesting suggestions to zoom into. If one gets deeper into it, it’s a black hole for time, as it really lets you explore the world. The coexistence with Google Maps also makes navigating easy. For researchers and travelers, Google Earth provides a great perspective into viewing the world as it is. The precise data ensures minuscule details to be seen clearly, and it is an excellent tool to experience some of the most amazing structures of the world.
Worst things about Google Earth?
There are privacy issues that the program is facing, with some countries and sensitive military zones blanked out on the program. One can literally zoom into the house that one lives in, so it does pose the question of privacy. Features like Projects are only accessible through the desktop, which can be slightly limiting. Apart from the experiential factor, Google Earth lacks any obvious functional application like say a Google Maps does. It also does not have real-time data, like Google Maps, so it might show some outdated images as well.
What’s our verdict?
Google Earth quite literally opens up the world to users on a smartphone, laptop, or tablet. The sheer volume of information about the features of the world is fascinating to explore, and for researchers, writers, travel enthusiasts, explorers, the program is a real boon. It’s easy to use the application, with simple features, and an intuitive interface. The multiple views and tools allow for easy exploration of various sites. However, the first thing you probably will be zooming into is your own house, and be completely taken by how good the picture quality is!