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Getting Started With Google Earth & Google Earth Pro

By Steve Higgins, Michele McHugh, and Lee Moser

Downloading Google Earth

  1. Open your web browser. In the search bar at the top of screen type https://www.google.com/earth/about/download/gep/agree.html. Read over Google Earth’s Privacy Policy and Google Maps/Google Earth Additional Terms of Service.
  2. Select Agree and Download. This will take you to a “Thank You” screen that tells you the download should start automatically. Check the bottom left side of the window for an icon that reads “GoogleEarthSetup.exe”, select it to open the file.
  3. A window will appear asking if you want to run the file, select Run. This will begin the download process and the installation should begin and finish on its own.

Using Google Earth

  1. To use Google Earth, open the start menu. Select All Programs and locate Google Earth.  Select Google Earth. When Google Earth is opened, a Start-Up Tip window will be in the foreground. This can assist you in using some of the Google Earth features and map controls and aid you in navigating the program. Close out of this window to use Google Earth.
  2. There is a side bar located on the left side of the screen. From here you can search for a specific location. Enter in the location (either a business or building name, address, GPS coordinates or even a crossroad will work) you would like to view and select search. This will give you an aerial view of the specific location you are searching for.
  3. On the right side of the screen there are four tools listed vertically that can be used to change your view. You can change the orientation of your view, move the map around to view the different areas around your searched location, change your view from aerial to a view from the street, and to zoom in and out, respectively. You can also click and drag the map to move around. 
  4. Above the map is a series of icons depicting tools that can be used on your map. These include measuring distances, adding place marks, creating paths, etc. Instructions for using these will be explained in more detail in the section titled “Using Google Earth Pro.”
  5. To save a location first conduct a search for the location. Once your search is completed, there will be a list of the location name, address, and any other information that can be found via a Google search in the sidebar. Under that there are three icons; a folder, a clipboard, and a printer. Select the folder to copy the location you have searched for into My Places to be used for future reference. Double click on the saved location to view a map of that area. 

Upgrading to Google Earth Pro

  1. Open Google Earth. In the Start-Up Tip window scroll to the bottom of the page. Where it says “Check out the advanced features in Google Earth Pro”, select Upgrade today!
  2. You will then be directed to the Earth Help website page. From here, scroll down and select Earth Pro and Earth EC. Then, select Get Started with Earth Pro. This will take you to the page titled “What is Google Earth Pro?”
  3. From here, scroll down the page to Get Earth Pro. Select Get an Earth Pro license. This will take you to the “Start Using Earth Pro” page. 
  4. Scroll down to Install Earth Pro and sign in. Select Download Earth Pro. Once downloaded, you will need to sign in with your email address and this license key: GEPFREE.
  5. On the Download Google Earth Pro for PC or Mac page, select Agree and Download after reviewing the Privacy Policy and Additional Terms of Service. You will be taken to the Thank You page and a tab at the bottom left side of the window will appear that reads GoogleEarthProSetup.exe. Select it, then select Run on the Open File window that pops up.
  6. The Google Earth Pro download and installation should be complete.

Using Google Earth Pro

  1. From the start menu select All Programs. Locate and select Google Earth Pro to open the program. The same Start-Up Tip window will appear when Google Earth Pro is opened. Close this to use Google Earth Pro.
  2. Drawing Paths
    1. Position your map to include the area you are interested in. The more detailed the map, the more accurate your path will be.
    2. From the tool bar directly above the map, select Add Path. The new path dialog box will appear. Here you can name your path, add any additional relevant information, change the color and width of the path’s line, etc.
    3. To draw your path, click in the map and locate your starting point for the path.  To draw a free-form path, click and hold to drag the cursor along the path you would like to draw. To draw a straight line path, click once on your starting point and once on your next point. The two points will connect with a straight line.
    4. These drawing techniques can be combined. To do this, start drawing your path using whichever method you would like, either free-form or straight line. To transition from free-form to straight edge, draw your path and release the cursor. Next, click on the spot you would like your straight line to connect to from the end point of your free-form path drawing. To change from straight line to free-form drawing, reverse the process.
    5.  You can make your path 3D by selecting the Altitude tab from the New Path dialog box. From here, choose the appropriate setting for your 3D path (Relative to ground, Relative to sea floor, or Absolute) from the drop down menu. Next, enter in the distance you would like your path raised off the ground; you can also do this using the slider directly below the drop down menu. Check the box marked Extend Sides to Ground. You will now have a 3D path.
    6. Click OK to save your path.
  3.  Elevation Profile
    1. You can see the elevation of the paths you have drawn.
    2. To do this, right click on your saved path under Places in the sidebar. Select Show Elevation Profile from the menu. 
    3. The bottom of the map will be the Elevation Profile of the path you have drawn. The x-axis is the distance on your path, the y-axis is the elevation. The percentage number is your slope.
    4. You can move the cursor through parts of the Elevation Profile to the areas that correspond on your map. Doing this allows you to select a specific portion of your path.
    5. To select a portion of your path, click and hold, in the Elevation Profile box, on the area you would like to start, then drag your cursor to the point you would like to stop. Doing this will allow you to see the measurements for that specific area rather than the measurements for the entire path. 
  4. Drawing Polygons
    1. You can draw polygons to show the area you are interested in. To do this, zoom as far in or out of the map as you need to best contain your area of interest.  From the toolbar at the top of the map, select Add Polygon.  The new polygon window will appear. There are five tabs with different tasks. The first tab is Description, where you can describe your area and add any images or links associated with it. The next tab is Color, where you can change the color, width and opacity of the lines you are drawing. You can also choose to have your polygon as just an outline or to be filled in. The View tab will show you the latitude and longitude of the area you have drawn by clicking the Snapshot current view button in bottom right corner of the screen. The Measurements tab will give you the exact perimeter and area of your polygon.
      1. To draw your polygon you will have to move the Google Earth – New Polygon dialog box to the bottom of the page, but do not exit out of it.  Do that by clicking and dragging it across the screen to be out of the way of the map. 
      2. Select your starting point for your polygon and click on it.  This will be the first point of your polygon.  Repeat this step for each point you want on your polygon to create straight lines.  You can add as many as you need to completely enclose the area you wish to focus on. To create a free-form shape, you can simply click and drag around the area you are concerned with. 
      3. You can use both of these methods together to create a shape with straight edges and curved lines. To do this, select your starting point and follow instructions for whichever method you want to use first, whether it be for straight lines or free-form shapes.
      4. The polygons you draw can also be made into a 3D object. To do this, select the Altitude tab from the Google Earth-New Polygon dialog box.  From here, enter the distance in meters you want your shape to be. You will need to choose whether you want your shape to be relative to the ground, seafloor, or absolute.  Then, check the box labeled Extend Sides to Ground to create your 3D shape.
      5. Click OK to save your polygon.
      6. Changes can be made to polygons you have saved by right-clicking on the polygon you would like to edit from the sidebar under Places and selecting Properties from the menu. 
  5.  Taking Measurements
    1. Navigate to the area you are concerned with. 
    2. In the menu bar, select Tools, then select Ruler. A dialog box will appear. You can select what type of measurement you need (line, path, circle, 3D polygon, etc.) and change the units you would like your measurement to be in.
    3. Make sure the Mouse Navigation box is selected.
    4. On the map select your starting point and your end point. 
    5. A line on the map will appear and your measurements will be recorded in the Ruler dialog box.
    6. Your measurements can be saved for future reference by selecting save in the Ruler dialog box. You can then name your measurement and add any other details you would like to include.
    7. Click OK to save. Google Earth will save your measurements under Places on the sidebar. 
    8. To reference these measurements at a later time, open Google Earth or Google Earth Pro. Under Places in the sidebar, your previously saved measurements will be listed. Position the cursor over the measurement you would like to view, right click, and select Properties. This will open your measurement dialog box.
    9. A dialog box with the e-mail provider you have selected will appear. Enter the e-mail address you would like to send your file to. The file will already be attached for you.
    10. Select Send.
  6. Layers
    1. The layers are specific details you can have on your map such as roads and weather.
    2. An arrow next to the layer indicates more functions for that topic.
    3. To add or exclude a layer, either check or uncheck the box next to the layer’s name.
  7. Adding Topographic Maps to Google Earth
    1. You can add USGS Topographic maps to Google Earth Pro.
    2. In your web browser type: https://www.earthpoint.us/TopoMap.aspx in the address bar.
    3. Select View on Google Earth. In the bottom left of your screen a download will appear that says: EarthPointTopoMap_140938.kml. Select that to open your topographic map in Google Earth and Google Earth Pro.
    4. The topographic map will be placed in your Temporary Places menu in the sidebar. To permanently save the add-on right click on Earth Point Topo Map and select Save to My Places. This feature will now be available for future use.
    5. The topographic map will automatically be in the foreground of your map. You can change the opacity of this layer by using the slider bar under the Places menu, which allows you to see the satellite imagery as well as the topography.
      1. Select Earth Point Topo Map from Places
      2. Move the slider bar to the left to make the topographic map less opaque and to the right to make it more opaque.
  8. Adding Soil Maps to Google Earth
    1. In your web browser type https://casoilresource.lawr.ucdavis.edu/ in the address bar.
    2. On the main page, click Soil Survey located on the pictures showing aerial maps and soil surveys. You will be taken to the SoilWeb Apps page.
    3. Select SoilWeb Earth. At the bottom of the screen, your downloads will appear.  Select SoilWeb.kmz. This will automatically install the SoilWeb Earth application onto your Google Earth program. 
    4. The SoilWeb extension will be stored under Temporary Places. To save for future use, right click on SoilWeb and select Save to My Places.
    5. This feature will show you the different soils in your location. You can click on the soil type to get a more in-depth description of your soils. 
  9. Map Sharing
    1. You can share the work you have done to your map with other Google Earth users.
    2. To do this, select the feature you would like to share (any placemarks, paths or polygons you have drawn) by right clicking on it in Places in the sidebar.
    3. From the menu, select E-mail… A Select E-mail Service dialog box will appear.  Select the E-mail provider you would like to send your file through. 
    4. Select Send when finished.