Tips & Tricks

Anything goes in this section - slowing down the zoom speed so students can see where they're going, historical imagery, increasing the cache size, the flight simulator, tilting into an oblique view - anything!

(needs something on using 3D layer - cache, making video, etc.)

1. Slow down!

By default, Google Earth zooms out of one location and into another very quickly. By slowing it down learners get a better sense of locations. It also gives you more time to discuss what's going on!

Go to Preferences / Navigation and then move the Fly-To Speed slider all the way to the left:

2. Go back in time

Google Earth's Historical imagery function is not only of use to History teachers! The 1930's view of the earth is much more aesthetically-pleasing - especially if you turn off Borders and Labels in the Layers section:

3. Smoother zooming

If your internet connection is fairly slow or intermittent, or if the machine you're using isn't the fastest, it's a good idea to increase the cache size of stored imagery. This means that more of your memory and/or hard disk space will be used but means smoother zooming and faster loading of layers (including 3D buildings!)

Go to Preferences / Cache to do this. Most of the time you can easily double the default values:

4. Flight Simulator

Previously a hidden 'Easter egg' feature of Google Earth, Flight Simulator is now a feature! Go to Tools / Enter Flight Simulator and then choose your aircraft and starting position. 

Warning! It's both tricky to get the hang of and addictive!

5. Google Earth browser plugin

Can't install Google Earth on your work machine, but can install browser plugins? Install the Google Earth browser plugin!

Access Google Earth via

Looking for something cool to do with the Google Earth browser plugin? Play Monster Milktruck! 

(many more at EarthSwoop:

6. Show the overview map

Ensure learners understand where it is in the world that you've zoomed into by turning on the overview map. Go to View / Overview Map (it appears to the bottom-left)