Hello and welcome to my guide to the ‘world of websites and apps’, a new feature which aims to acquaint readers with some of the more useful and fun sites out there on the World Wide Web.
At present going on holiday, taking a day trip or even just a quick visit to the supermarket is proving more difficult than usual.
So how about a virtual trip across LS26? Or West Yorkshire? Or… around Planet Earth!
Google Earth maps our Planet by superimposing satellite images, aerial photography, and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) data onto a 3D globe, allowing users to see towns, cities and landscapes from various angles. Users can explore the globe by entering addresses and coordinates, or by using a keyboard or mouse. The program can also be downloaded on a smartphone or tablet, using a touch screen or stylus to navigate.
It’s been around since 2001 so many people will have heard of, or used, Google Earth. Even if you’ve used it in the past there’s always something new to explore. The last big update – version 9, 2017 – added support for viewing in a browser. Prior to that the program was a downloadable desktop application. That downloadable version is now Google Earth Pro which offers higher resolution and historical imagery among other features.
Another interesting update arrived in the form of a VR (Virtual Reality) version which is available via Valve’s Steam. Steam is often considered a gaming distribution / community platform but it also offers many other kinds of downloadable software. So if you want to add an extra dimension of experience when you fly to the top of Malham Cove or stroll along the streets of New York City, you can navigate using special VR equipment such as the amazingly powerful HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift.
Google Earth can be fun for revisiting the street where you grew up or retracing steps from a memorable holiday. But it also has practical and worthy uses. Citizens and environmental groups are using Google Earth to fight threats such as water pollution, deforestation and illegal fishing. It can help to expand children’s horizons with interactive storytelling using Google Earth’s Voyager, a feature that lets scientists, artists, educators and others create immersive stories using maps, 3D views and interactivity.
Thank you for reading; I hope you enjoyed this first article. If you have any questions about Google Earth or anything else web-related please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A good place to start is earth.google.com.
Apps are available for Apple and Android devices in their respective app stores.
The Google homepage for the VR version is here: arvr.google.com/earth.
More information on the VR version / controllers can be found here: www.vive.com; www.oculus.com; store.steampowered.com.