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In our first pass, I hope I explained

  • Adding points, lines, polygons, overlays, and folder
  • Editing what you created (including organizing material within your folder)
  • Saving your work into a KML or KMZ file and sharing it with others.

All of these functions are, to my mind, pretty essential – almost any project will require all of these skills. Without these skills, you're not yet ready to take full advantage of Google Earth.

In this pass, I want to touch on slightly more advanced features, ones that you might not need or (in some cases) that you might not want.

  • Things you can add
    • Network link – for example http://nsidc.org/data/google_earth/seaice/NSIDC_SeaIceExtent.kmz
    • Model – these would be 3-D renderings built using a design program SketchUp (sketchup.com)...but these are no longer free (!) and are quite challenging to the novice user. 
    • Tour – this will allow you to screen-capture and audio-capture while working in Google Earth. The end result is a multimedia package: the user is moved around in Google Earth and they listen to your voice-over narration. It's a nice idea, but...I find that it crashes my computer and I'm not sold on how useful that is. I would rather (a) do this motion and narration myself in a classroom, or (b) put the sequencing and info into the structure of the file itself – order the markup in way you want users to encounter it, add text and images to explain what you want to say along the way, etc.
  • Things you can do
    • Elevation profile (for paths only)
    • Sunlight
    • History
      • Given the existence of a History feature, clearly Google Earth can handle more than just three dimensions (lat, lon, and elevation...or y, x, and z coordinates if you're more mathematically inclined than geographically inclined); Google Earth can handle a fourth piece of data, TIME: It can show you (within certain limitations) what a given location (lat,lon) looked like a different points in time. Now that you know this...can you also include time in your Google Earth files? Yes, you can!! I don't know of a way to do this through the normal Google Earth interface, though; I only know how to do it by opening up a kml file in a text editor and writing the markup myself. Here are three examples of what this looks like. Open each file twice: Once in Google Earth to see how it behave, and once with a text editor (e.g., Notepad) to see how it's built
    • Leave the earth! Switch the dataset to the sky, the moon, or even Mars! Once you've mastered the technology of scanning a spheroid and rendering it in your visualization software, it's all the same....

 

 

 

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