Storing Lists of Places in Google Earth

History classes refer to historical locations. Google Earth has imagery of historical locations. Why not use Google Earth in the classroom? Geography is often important for understanding the reasons for various historical events, such as how land was divided or why wars ended the way they did. By providing an interactive view of landmarks, Google Earth can be used to help teach everything from the importance of geography, to the engineering marels of bridges and parks.

In this post, I will explain how an educator can build a list of places in Google Earth and share it with others. I am assuming the reader already has Google Earth installed and has basic knowledge on how to use it. Please note that I am using Windows 7. The Mac and Linux versions should be similar, but may have slight differences. iOS and Android versions have vastly different interfaces and are not covered here.

The task of creating and sharing a list of places may seem daunting at first, but becomes much easier when broken down. This post will describe the process in five easy steps:

1. Create a new folder in the My Places panel.

Figure 1
Figure 2

On the left of your screen, locate the Places panel. At the top of it, you should see the My Places folder. Right-click it, choose Add, then choose Folder (Figure 1). Choose a name for the folder and optionally add a description to it (Figure 2). Click OK to confirm the new folder. For more advanced uses, folders may be nested to help organize groups of places.

2. Choose a place to add.
Navigate to the location you want to add to the list. In this example, I am searching for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, the address of the white house.

3. Add a placemark to the list.

Figure 3
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6

Begin by ensuring the folder you would like to add to is selected in the left pane (Figure 3). This will ensure the placemark is not added to a different folder. Next, click the Add Placemark button on the toolbar (Figure 4). Add a name and description to describe the placemarks so you and your viewers know what the place is (Figure 5). Click OK when done, and the placemark should appear in the folder you created in the My Places pane (Figure 6). Repeat steps 2 and 3 to continue adding more places to the folder, if desired.

4. Export and share the folder of places.

Figure 7
Figure 7

Right-click the folder you created in the My Places pane and select “Save Place As…” (Figure 7). Save the KMZ file wherever you see fit. Make this file accessible to others by emailing it, uploading it to a website or Google Drive, or by any other means you see fit.

5. How to use the KMZ file

Figure 8
Figure 8

To use the KMZ file once it is on another computer, simply double-click it to import your folder into the Places panel. Expand the folder if necessary, and then all the places you marked may easily be viewed by double-clicking them (Figure 8). You can even view photographs taken by sightseers of the location to see landmarks from more angles.

I hope this tutorial has helped to bring 3D imagery into the classroom. If you would like more information about using Google Earth, please see the following websites:

An overview of the main window:
Google’s homepage for using Earth in the Classroom :

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