The long anticipated upgrades to Google Earth were officially announced today by Google (a day I’ve spent sick and in bed). The highlights of the improvements are the addition of underwater ocean imagery and historical imagery. The ocean imagery is provided by Google partners like NOAA and National Geographic. To view the ocean imagery select the “ocean” layer in Google Earth 5.0.
The historical imagery in Google Earth 5.0 allows users to compare past images of the Earth’s surface with that of current imagery. Some of the historical imagery is of buildings (San Francisco in the 1940’s) while other aspects of the historical imagery is of environmental features.
Google Earth 5.0 makes it easier than ever to construct a virtual tour. Simply click the record option in the tool bar and begin building a free-form tour in Google Earth.
A video overview of Google Earth 5.0 is embedded below. Download Google Earth 5.0 here.
Applications for Education
The Google Earth ocean imagery will allow science teachers and science students a new way to view ocean features and study ocean currents. The historical environment imagery is a good feature for showing students how climate change is affecting the Earth’s surface.
The historical imagery layer will give history teachers the ability to have students explore the changes in city buildings over time.