Google Earth, one of the most popular Google programs used by schools, other than the search engine, is now available in version 4.3 for Mac, Windows, and Linux users. Version 4.3 has some great new features like adjustable lighting options, new languages, new overlay options, and new navigation features.
The updated navigation tools in Google Earth v4.3 make it easier for new users to seamlessly transition from 2D navigation to 3D (street level) navigation. The new navigation features make it easier for users to navigate the tilt feature of Google Earth.
Applications and New Features for Educators
In the previous versions of Google Earth the only lighting option was mid-day sunlight. Now users can adjust the lighting to reflect times of the day. This is a nice feature for science and geography teachers to use to demonstrate how the angle of the sun relative to a fixed position changes throughout the day. This feature could also be used to demonstrate the influence of latitude on the amount of sunlight a place receives.
The newest version of Google Earth has a street view overlay option. Now when a teacher creates a fly over tour of places in Google Earth, street view maps can be added. Integrating street view maps into a Google Earth tour not only shows where a city is, but also what that city actually looks like.
Here is a short video about Google Earth’s newest features.