How To Use Google Earth

Google Earth is a both a useful and interesting program. It offers the flexibility of a mapping system along with the ability to view satellite images of space, oceans, terrain, and even your backyard. Whether you're a scientist, a student or just an intrigued onlooker, follow these steps to use Google Earth.

Step 1

Download Google Earth. In order to use Google Earth, you first need to download it. Although there are several different versions, only one is completely free to use. To download this version of Google Erath, go to and click on the download button. You'll have to agree to terms and conditions of its use. Once the download is complete, click on the run button, and allow follow the directions to complete the installation of Google Earth on your computer.

Step 2

Get familiar with the commands. Google Earth is more than just a mapping tool - it's a technologically advanced satellite imaging program that lets you look at actual images from our world and beyond. You can view images from anywhere by simply telling Google Earth what you want to see. Start by typing your own address into the ‘fly to' box. You will immediately be taken to your own rooftop! You can navigate your neighborhood by using the controls on the right of your screen. Play around with the tools to tilt the view. It should give you a 3D look at the terrain (but it will not work for structures). Or, you may use your computer arrows or mouse to move around and use the zoom feature.   When you use Google Earth, you can also control how far from the ground you view an image. Use the vertical tool, which is also found on the right of your screen. Keep in mind that Google Earth is not always up-to-date. Some rural addresses may not be available, and some newer communities may not yet be programmed into Google Earth. However, you should still be able to zoom in and see what the community (or field) looked like before houses were built there.

Step 3

Explore the world. Once you have mastered the controls of Google Earth, venture outside of your backyard. Type in country names like Australia, and watch as the screen changes to a photographic image of Down Under. Type in the address of your friend who's studying abroad and actually see a picture of the where building he lives in France. You'll be amazed at how easy and addicting it is to use Google Earth.

Step 4

Explore the universe. You can also view the universe with Google Earth! While you won't always get the more detailed images with the free version, it's still fun to explore this feature. Click on the picture of Saturn and explore the many planets. If you can see any stars in the image, click on the image of the star to read about that star. If you like, you can also view a short video about the star.

Step 5

Use the program. Now that you're a world traveler, make use to the many features offered by Google Earth. Get directions by typing in an address in the ‘To here' or ‘From here' box.  You can save these directions to ‘My Places' or you can explore the route by clicking on the appropriate button. Look through different terrains to find great places to hike. Explore foreign countries to research the neighborhoods of your ancestors, and change the view from satellite to terrain and so on. When you use Google Earth, you'll be amazed at the quality of the photographic images and you'll enjoy using Google Earth for all of your navigational needs.


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