When Google Earth debuted in 2005, people from around the world became mesmerized by the immersive mapping technology that it displayed. In 2022, the software is more sophisticated than ever before, allowing you to see the world in ways you could never have imagined before.
Traveling as a woman in today’s world can feel daunting at times, especially if the journey forms a part of an emotional or psychological shift. But there are tools available that can not only help you familiarize yourself with the foreign landscapes you will soon traverse, but also offer a fresh perspective on them. In that way, Google Earth can serve as an eye-opening (and fun!) tool for understanding the world we live in.
Incredibly, the three-dimensional planetary browser gets updated every month, meaning that new hacks, shortcuts, and features are constantly popping up for you to enjoy. Here are ten of them to whet your travel appetite and get you excited about your next adventure.
1. Enter The 3d Realm
There are two main ways to view the planet on Google Earth: aerially and three-dimensionally. Checking out the arterial perspectives can be great for checking out map routes or understanding geography, but the 3D setting brings the whole planet to life.
In fact, some of the world’s most famous structures have been modeled in 3D by structural designers to give users a uniquely realistic perspective of famous sights. Some of them include the Sydney Opera House, the Grand Canyon Skywalk, and even entire cities. This can be a really eye-opening, practical way to navigate new places before you’ve even booked your flights.
2. Go On A Safari Adventure
Yup, that’s right, you can access all the beauty and wonder of an African safari without even leaving the front door, and it’s all thanks to Google Earth. To do so, you have two options: for a more free-spirited immersion into the wilderness, switch to street-view or ground level view and simply “trek” to areas where wild animals live (such as the Okavango Delta, the Talawe wetland, or Hwange National Park).
However, that route can only offer static images, which is a little visually limiting. The second option is to go through Google Earth’s Explore.org network, which hosts up-close live streams of eleven different safari hotspots. Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Africa tend to see the most activity.
3. Scour The Planet For Surf Spots
The female surf community has blossomed over the past decade, and we’re here for it. Knowing where all the best waves are at for better surf is a key aspect of any avid surfer, male, female, or otherwise, and Google Earth is the perfect companion for the task.
Not only do you have the freedom to search for impressive waves from anywhere on the planet, but you can also employ the software’s Super Surf Spots feature which identifies ideal waves in real-time. That means you can get an up-close view of where the best waves in the world currently are, and check out what the waves will be like in your upcoming travel destination.
There are also a variety of popular live stream platforms available from around the world if you prefer them, but any of the above options are great for wave navigation and assessment.
4. Use The Flight Simulator
Flying overseas tends to trigger intense emotions for some people – be they relative to excitement or anxiety. But using a flight simulator like the one Google Earth offers can help you to acclimatize to the sometimes turbulent environment of an airplane and stabilize erratic thoughts and feelings.
Only recently released, this feature is one of the best-kept hidden gems of Google Earth’s software. Through it, you can fly your very own virtual airplane across any country of your choosing, and even stop at airports from around the world. You can even start your flight mid-air from any location!
The controls are extremely sensitive and the graphics ultra-realistic, so you can shamelessly live out your fantasy of being Amelia Earhart without any of practice or required skills. If you struggle with the controls (which you can access using basic keyboard keys) and crash a bit too often, Google will simply ask you if you’d like to exit and start again.
5. Visit Famous Galleries And Museums
Who wouldn’t want free access to any famous art gallery or museum in the world? Google Earth heard the pleas of cabin-fevered lockdown partakers in 2020 and released this cultural phenomenon that has been a great hit with people from all places and age groups around the world.
Find the classical Musée D’Orsay gallery in Paris, France, or the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, Korea. Other listings include the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Uffizi Gallery in Italy, and even the ancient Machu Picchu in Cusco, Peru.
You can “walk” through any of these monumental places by accessing the Street View option on Google Earth and entering in the name and address of the museum or gallery of your choice. There is a total of 28 institutions available, so take your leisurely time!
6.Use Mashups To Time Travel Through History
Sometimes, in order to fully appreciate an experience, you have to look into its past. Mashups are a form of web technology that combines data retrieved from multiple sources to create an entirely new tool. One of the ways it can be applied is with Google Earth for the purpose of traveling through history to observe the major landscape and geopolitical shifts.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the historical journey of a country prior to visiting it (or after, for that matter), using a mashup that incorporates the geographical Google Earth with a separate history-based site will give you close-proximity perspectives on the days of old.
7. Print Out Personalized Maps
Printing out sections of the globe can be a fun and immersive way to prepare for an overseas adventure. You can incorporate the images into a vision board, use them for collage, or use them for their practical value when you’re not sure where to turn.
Printing maps from Google Earth is a simple process: first, find the area that you want to print, and make sure it fills the screen. Then, click the View menu and select View Size, before selecting Print Output. From there, you can choose the size you need and print your geopages from the File menu. Now you have personalized references of your dream travel destination right inside your home.
8. Jet Into Outer Space
Going into outer space is something many of us dream about throughout childhood, and sometimes, we don’t stop there! Aspiring to travel between the stars is an aspiration that many adults share. The allure of space is powerful and enchanting, and now, you have the chance to make your dreams come true. You can experience outer space through the virtual lens of Google Earth. By switching to the Sky mode that Google Earth offers, you can leave your home planet and experience everything in the atmosphere above it.
It includes images and videos sourced from NASA, which are realistic and highly immersive. You can visit the Moon, and Mars, and even go on some tours about the famous Apollo mission. What better (and more accessible) way to discover more about this expansive universe?
9. Remember To Update The Program
Google Earth is constantly being analyzed, upgraded, and remodeled to keep the data fresh and ensure new developments around the world are accurately captured. The features available for virtual scoping and travel are also constantly improved upon. With new updates implemented every single month, you’ll want to install them for the best possible planet earth experience.
Some recent updates include improved support of map layers, more accurate star and night sky positions, and faster imports for 3D renderings. That means you get to see the world through as accurate and beautiful a lens as possible – and all through the power of technology.
10. Get The Big Picture
When it comes down to it, what software like this really does for humans is give us a perspective of the planet we live on (and beyond) in ways we are simply unable to on our own. Shifting your perspective to see the bigger picture is an important life lesson that all of us must learn at some point – and many of us will indeed learn over and over again.
If you are looking for an accessible, gentle way to prepare for a journey of travel and self-discovery, software like Google Earth can be a surprisingly illuminating tool. We are, after all, small creatures in an ever-expanding universe, and uncovering more about it can help us become more accepting of both our lives and our positions within it.
So go forth and explore. Your life will be richer because of it, and it will prepare you both mentally and emotionally for embarking on your own adventure in the real world. So buckle up, and follow your bliss!