Google Earth

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Google Earth is a free desktop application that allows you to view a 3D model of the Earth overlayed with satellite imagery. You can zoom to any place on the earth and, in densely-populated areas, usually identify individual houses. Google Earth allows you to overlay waypoints and tracks onto the satellite imagery, making it particularly useful for geocaching.

The initial program download is a bit over 10Mb (not too painful on dial-up!) and as you zoom in to look at particular areas the higher detailed maps are downloaded. If you have Broadband the maps download quite fast, on dial-up it will take a bit longer but from feedback on the Forum it is still quite useable. The maps are cached on your harddrive for later and off-line use.

Google Earth Homepage. Follow this link to download the program.

Google Earth Hacks Places of interest, downloads and more.

Google Earth BLog Amazing things about Google Earth. News, tips, and more.

How To's

Change the default view on startup

  1. Open Google Earth
  2. Under Places, right-click on default > Edit
  3. Tick Advanced checkbox
  4. Click Location tab
  5. Tick Center Placemark in View
  6. Click View tab
  7. Whilst Edit Placemark window is open, navigate as usual to the default view you want
  8. Click Snapshot current view when satisfied with view
  9. Click Advanced checkbox
  10. Click OK
  11. Under the Tools menu, Click Options
  12. Click Control tab
  13. Move the Fly-To/Tour speed setting to Fast.
  14. Click OK
  15. Close Google Earth and restart

If you don't want the word "Default" displayed on the screen, simply deselect the tick-box. If you rename the Placemark it will no longer display as the Default view.

Store More Maps On Your Hard Drive

To make more of the maps stay cached on your computer, and not downloaded in the future you need to modify the Cache settings: -

  1. Click Tools -> Options > Cache tab
  2. Change Disk Cache size to the maximum allowed value.

Track Travel Bugs

This interesting GreaseMonkey script tracks Travel bugs on Google Earth. The thread is available here. There is a direct link to the script here, and a sample image is also available.

Automatically Load Cache Waypoints from the Internet with the Geocaching Australia Network Link

Google Earth can load waypoints from websites on the Internet. The network link allows Google Earth to display caches in real-time - no gpx files to download or convert, just scroll around and it talks to our server and downloads the nearby caches.

To try it out, click here and zoom to your favourite location and you should see caches pop up like magic! Many Australian and worldwide waypoint sets are available.

You should save the link in "my places" and it will be there next time you run the program. Just click in the tick box to turn it on or off.

View GSAK Caches in Google Earth

Here is a macro Riblit wrote to plot caches in Google Earth, using GSAK and GPSBabel.

SET $Bable = "C:\Program Files\GSAK\GPSBabel.exe"
SET $Gearth = "C:\Program Files\Google\Google Earth Plus\googleearth.exe"
SET $temp = "C:\Program Files\GSAK\temp\"
SET $tfile = $temp + "test.kml"
SET $ifile = $temp + "babel.gpx"
FILTER name="userset"
EXPORT type=GPX File="$ifile"
RUNPGM PGM="$Bable" parms= -i gpx -f "$ifile" -o kml -F "$tfile" Wait=Yes
RUNPGM PGM="$Gearth" parms="$tfile"

User: Riblit runs a filter to get the caches down to a manageable level, mine just filters caches he has checked. If you don't want a filter, delete the FILTER name ="userset" line

The variables will be ok for a default GSAK and Google Earth install. Copy and paste the code into GSAK's macro editor and save, add a button if you like.