Google Earth is not just a cool navigation tool. You can also use it for presentations with real life locations. The app already has a built-in feature just for that purpose.
Let’s say you’re a travel journalist and you want to showcase where you’ve been around the world when pitching for new clients. Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating such presentations on Google Earth.
1. Download Google Earth and Drive
You can now use Google Earth in any browser, not just Chrome. If you’ve never tried the app before, you can learn more about it by visiting the Google Earth website. From there, press the Launch the Earth button to sign in with your Google account.
Also, the app mainly uses Google Drive to save the projects you create, so it’s a good idea to create an account before creating your first presentation.
Once you have logged in to Google Earth, our digital planet will appear on your screen with various features in the left sidebar, such as map styles and Google’s area and distance measurement tool.
Select the Projects icon and, assuming you don’t have a presentation yet, click To create and then choose whether to save the new project to Google Drive or as a KML file – it stands for Keyhole Markup Language, an XML file that contains geographic information.
The easiest method is the Google Drive option and wait for Google Earth to be associated with your account. Once you have created a project, click on the Pin on Earth icon to make sure you can always find it when you log in.
3. Give your project a title and description
Please take the time to name and describe your new presentation by filling in the two available fields. If nothing else, they can help you remember the purpose or details of each project.
On your dashboard, you have a few more options above your title and description. You can share, reload or delete the project, as well as copy it, download it as a KML file or report it for inappropriate content, the latter being more useful to visitors.
4. Add places to your Google Earth presentation
Below the title and description of your project is the New function button, which opens a menu with many more tools. To pin points of interest, you can either Search to add place or Add Placemark. The latter is especially good if the desired location is too obscure for Google to find.
A location you’ve searched for already shows some details provided by Google, which you can change by clicking To replace. Your own placemarks are blank from the start.
A third option is to zoom in on a location, enter Street Viewand click Capture this view. You can then add the place to your project after editing the details. Use this to get a Google Earth satellite image of your home or a landmark from your travels worth sharing.
All three methods allow you to edit the locations you choose. This includes:
- Name and describe them
- Editing the Font
- Add images and videos
- Personalize your placemark icon and color
- Choose the size of your info box
- Preview the location view
If you are satisfied, just click on the Back arrow: Google will automatically save your project. Each location you add to your presentation is added to the markup list, which you can easily select and edit as needed.
5. Connect places with lines
As a travel journalist, you may want to show how many flights you’ve taken from your home base in the past year or which stops you’ve made on a long road trip. You can use the Google Earth lines tool for this.
To do this, select Draw a line or shape of the New function menu. Click on the places you want to mark and lines will automatically appear between them.
Touch Enter to save the shape you created and open the editor. For example, if you close your shape in a square or triangle, you can adjust both the fill and the outline.
Another tool to make your project interesting is the Tilt the view button, which shifts your angle between 2D and 3D. In the editor of a place, choose the best point of view and click Capture this view— that’s what you get when you jump to the location in your presentation.
6. Add slides to your presentation
If you take photos during your travels, you can add them to your Google Earth presentation to share the people and landscapes you encounter and create stories based on your travel reports.
In the New function menu, select Full screen slide. Upload your image or video, add the text you want, choose a background color and preview the slide.
Include several of these images during the presentation to enrich the experience. This is especially useful for more creative projects on Google Earth, such as teaching or planning a book.
7. Move the features of your presentation around
When you have all the places, lines, and slides you need for your project, hold each item and move it up or down the list to rearrange the order.
The presentation plays from top to bottom, so how you organize all of your items will affect the impact and flow of your presentation.
To skip an item while presenting, click the Hide function icon next to it. Use the same icon to bring it back.
Note that you can also create folders via the New function menu, but they interfere with the presentation, so you’re better off using them to store unused items rather than hiding them individually.
8. Present your project
With everything in order, press the Gift knob. Unfortunately, Google Earth isn’t PowerPoint, so you can’t automate or speed up transitions, animate text and images, and so on. There are also limits on how often Google Earth is updated.
However, you still get a really cool presentation that flies from place to place around the world, occasionally interrupted by slides that can include photos or even charts, depending on what you’re presenting as a travel journalist.
Keep in mind that jumping between locations can be dizzying, so choose your presentation items carefully, as well as how much detail you add to them and what view you capture for each place.
While there are much better options when it comes to presentation design software, Google Earth is one of the best tools for visualizing geographic themes.
Whether you’re interested in travel, ecology, history, or culture, keep learning how Google’s advanced mapping features can give you the most engaging experience.