Introduction to Google Earth Projects

At it’s most basic, a Google Earth project is a collection of locations that the viewer can step through one at a time. Think of a project like a PowerPoint slide show with locations as slides.

Each location, however, can include many elements beyond a simple map picture, including a Street View scene, photographs, video, text information, and links. Lots of information to help the user explore and learn about the area.

While a Project is similar to the projects you find in the Voyager section of Earth, not all features you see in those tours are available in the ones you create. Some of them, like the interactive quizzes, require learning some specialized coding skills.

But don’t worry. There is still much you and your students can do with the tools Projects provides.

Here’s an example of a project I did for fun, a virtual tour of Amsterdam, a poor substitute for a real trip that was scheduled for Spring of 2020.

Project Example 1

In the left column, which is the editor’s view, you see the title and description. Below that is a list of the locations in the tour. The first location is actually a full-screen image that acts as a title slide for the project. You can include as many of these images in your tour as you like, maybe acting as dividers between sections, for example.

All of the elements of your project can be edited at any time and the order of the locations can be changed simply by clicking and dragging.

Project Example 2

This is an example of what a user would see at a location in the tour. In the lower left are the navigation tools they would use, arrows to go the next or previous location. Clicking on Table of contents show a list of the locations so user can jump directly to one.

In the upper right is a picture and description of the location. Both were elements I added when creating the tour. You can have multiple images in this area, allowing the user to step through them as a slide show. You can also include videos in this section, although they must come from YouTube.

Starting a Project

So let’s build our own project. To start click on the Projects icon in the left column of the main window and then click the New project menu in the upper right.

Project Options

From here you have several choices. The three in the lower pane are useful for sharing completed tours or for advanced users who want to add advanced features. However, they are not something we will address in these tutorials.

So, we will choose the first one, Create project in Google Drive.

Project Start

It’s always good to give your project a title, especially if you have more than one you’re working on, and a description will help users understand what they will see on your tour. Click the pencil icon and make the changes.

Next, click the New feature menu to see your options.

New Feature Options

What happens next, depends on what you have planned for your tour. Check out the tutorial titled Creating a Location in a Google Earth Project to learn all the features and options you have when adding a new location.

You can also make this a collaborative project by sharing it with anyone with a Google account, similar to how you probably already share Google Drive documents. See the tutorial for Editing and Sharing a Google Earth Project for the details.