Google Earth Tutorial

This is a pre-lab tutorial activity to be completed independently before Lab 1.

Learning Objectives

After completing the exercises in this tutorial assignment, you should understand how to use Google Earth Pro to:

  • Examine the Earth’s surface in plan view and in three-dimensions.
  • Use the compass to understand direction when navigating in Google Earth Pro.
  • Use the scale bar and measure tools to determine on-the-ground distances.
  • Specify locations using geographic and Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) grid systems.
  • Modify the options in Google Earth Pro to use metric or imperial units, and geographic or UTM coordinates.
  • Search for specific locations by place name or using geographic coordinates.
  • View historical satellite imagery to examine changes to an area over time.
Google Earth Pro is an excellent tool for visualizing landscapes using satellite imagery. We will be using Google Earth Pro in several lab exercises in this course to examine volcanoes, rivers, and geologic structures. You will need to be familiar with how to navigate and use various features in Google Earth Pro to complete these exercises. To prepare for your first lab, complete the tutorial assignment in the next section before you meet for Lab 1.
If you are familiar with Google Earth Pro and the use of geographic and UTM coordinate systems to describe locations on Earth, this tutorial should take you about 25 minutes to complete. If you are not familiar with Google Earth Pro or the use of geographic and UTM coordinate systems, this tutorial could take up to 1 hour to complete. Contact your lab instructor if you have questions as you complete this tutorial.
To get started, download Google Earth Pro (free) for desktop: Although there are also web and mobile versions of Google Earth Pro available, these do not have all the features you will be required to use in this course. It is recommended that you use the desktop version on a computer.


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A Practical Guide to Introductory Geology Copyright © 2020 by Siobhan McGoldrick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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