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e-Help Seminars - Richard Allaway and Russel Tarr
e-help Seminar 26
Google Earth: History possibilities
Toulouse 8-10 June 2006

Three things that Google Earth can do to enhance history
Obtaining existing resources - weblinks
Creating your own resources - weblinks
A Classroom Case Study: Circumnavigation of Francis Drake

1. Three things that Google Earth can do to enhance history:
All of the following, along with dozens of other examples, can be downloaded directly from http://www.activehistory.co.uk/google-earth (currently containing 124 resources, many more to follow this week!)

Terrain / Overlays
"Overlays" are maps which are scanned from a computer (or taken direct from the web) and then dropped over a historical site to give a much better sense of "place"; in addition, they can appear to physically "lie" over the landscape they describe, which is fantastic for sites where terrain made a difference (e.g. Vimy Ridge).
▪ London after the Great Fire
▪ Auschwitz
▪ Vimy Ridge

3d Models
A number of users have designed their own 3D models which you can "whizz" around from various angles. So far they are quite gimmicky, but they show what the software is capable of.
▪ Taj Mahal
▪ Leaning Tower of Pisa
▪ Great Pyramid of Giza

Flyovers are fantastic - a series of placemarks which can be arranged chronologically or thematically and then Google Earth "flies" from one spot to another. The first two examples here are good illustrations of the chronological approach; the third is a thematically-based one which could easily be adapted to other subjects.
▪ Assassination of JFK
▪ 1066: Year of 3 Kings
▪ Six Wives of Henry VIII

2. Obtaining existing resources - weblinks
In the first instance, it is a good idea to locate some resources to play around with that have been created already. The two sites I am using to build up my own searchable database are:
Google Earth "History Illustrated" community

Google Earth Hacks: Historical Placemarks

3. Creating your own resources - weblinks
Sketchup: 3D Model Creator
This freeware application allows you to create 3D models for Google Earth.

Tagzania: Networked placemarks
Sign up to this website to create collaborative tours with your students.

FlickrMap: Geotagged photographs
GeoTag your photos so that they appear as placemarks in Google Earth.

4. A Classroom Case Study: Circumnavigation of Francis Drake
Available from ActiveHistory here.
This is my first attempt at a Google Earth "Flyover". It comes complete with 6 differentiated worksheets and 32 locations to visit, and gives some idea of how the application can be used in the classroom.

If you have any comments or questions, please let me know!

Contribute further to the seminar at



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