North Carolina Geologic Tour

Weather you are a teacher wanting to create a virtual tour to go with a lesson or a student wanting to give a sense of place to your project, Google Earth provides quite a fiew tools to enhance the curriculum.

As an example I will use a tour that I created originaly for Freshman Earth Science, but have successfully used to look at landforms with 5th graders.
You can download the .KMZ file here:

Creating a Tour of your own:

The concept of a tour is that you create placemarks with the viewpoints you want to portray. Then you can easily return to these locations.
To make a tour of them we create a folder in MY PLACES
  • right click on MY PLACES and select ADD > FOLDER
  • Now drag your placemarks into this folder or have it selected as you create new place marks.

To create a placemark

  1. Navigate to the view of the location you would like (Note: the placemark will remember the angles of the camera and the height from the ground.)
  2. Click the Push-Pin icon on the toolbar
  3. Set the details for the placemark - Here you can set a name, tweak the longitude and latitude, insert a description that will pop up for the user when clicked (more on this in student made tours) and set the properties of the placemark such as color and icon. It is worth mentioning here that once set you can access the placemark again to make changes by Right Clicking on a PC and selecting Properties or on a MAC select the placemark and press APPLE + i together.
  4. If you want to adjust the view for the placemark, set the new view then use the above method to enter the properties browser. Go to the VIEW tab and select snapshot current view.

Playing your Placemarks Tour -

Once you have created a series of placemarks and put them in the folder, you are ready to play them back.
  • For playback, simply select the folder of sites and make sure it or the specific places you want to include are checked.
  • Then click the playback box at the bottom right of the places browser.playFolder.png
  • This will begin to play the placemarks in the folder. There will be a player bar that will run the tour and give you a progress indicator. tourplayer.png

Adjusting the speed and pause of the tour -

Now that you have a series of locations you want to play through, you may want to adjust the movement details of the tour.
  1. Select Tools > Options on a PC or Google Earth > Preferences
  2. Select the Touring Tab - note: you can adjust the navigation tab for fly speeds and and other items
  3. Use the top section for adjusting the features of tours from folders of placemarks.
  4. Here you can adjust movement settings for tours along a line as well (see below for lines)

Touring Along a Line -

Another way to tour is to lay down a line using the line tool LineTool.pngJust like placemarks, you will have a line preferences/options window open.
With the preferences/options window open you can click on the map to create a series of connectedpoints.
When done select the play line iconplayline.pngat the bottom of the places browser.
The camera will stay connected to the line on a string at the height you select. To view further in front of you set the camera tilt angle closer to 90 degrees. This adjustment can be found on the TOURING tab of the Preference/Options menu (see above).