NAGT > Professional Development > GSA Sessions and Activities > 2011 GSA Activities and Sessions > Teaching with Google Earth

Registration Details


This half-day workshop is part of the GSA Short Course 4-Pack. For $35, select any two workshops from the four. Early registration ends on September 6. To sign up for a workshop, use the GSA meeting registration.

519D. Teaching with Google Earth

cosponsored by NAGT and the Geoscience Education Division of GSA

October 8, 2011 - 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Part of the GSA Short Course 4-Pack


Conveners: Peter Selkin, University of Washington Tacoma and Declan De Paor, Old Dominion University.

Workshop description

Google Earth, an easy to use tool for presenting data on a three-dimensional model of the Earth, is taking geoscience education by storm. This 1/2 day workshop will provide an introduction to Google Earth and highlight a wide variety of examples of its use in introductory geoscience courses. Discussion will focus on tips and strategies for using Google Earth to engage students with geoscience data.

Before you go

Before coming to the workshop, please make sure you have the latest version of Google Earth installed on your laptop. Instructions for downloading, installing, configuring, and troubleshooting Google Earth are contained in Installing and Configuring Google Earth (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 131kB Oct7 11).

We hope to focus on using Google Earth in the classroom rather than basic navigation. If you haven't had much experience with Google Earth, we suggest playing around with it before you go, and maybe trying the beginner tutorials from Google. For a quick reference on basic functions, see "Getting Around".

Workshop program

Note: the following schedule is tentative, and will change somewhat depending on responses to the participant survey.


8:00 - 12:00 Morning workshops

12:00 - 1:00 Lunch with other workshop groups (lunch is included with the workshop fee)

12:50 - 1:00 Internet set up / testing and troubleshooting

Installing and Configuring Google Earth (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 131kB Oct7 11)

Poll Everywhere response system

1:00-1:20 Introductory Remarks

Introductory presentation (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 3.1MB Oct7 11)

Demo Google Earth tour (KMZ File 14.4MB Oct7 11)

SDSU KML Geology, source of the CA geologic map (and others). Note that many of these do not display placemarks or titles in a user-friendly way.

Google Earth Design, a blog that Peter mentioned with many useful ideas about how to most effectively design Google Earth files (mainly for teaching, but also for other purposes).

1:20-1:40 Activity Case Studies

Google Earth emergent models for teaching subsurface geology from Declan's ODU site and DigitalPlanet (look at APP and API).

1:40-2:10 Google Earth from the Student's Perspective (Hands-on)
Google Earth from the Student's Perspective (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 125kB Oct8 11) handout

Landscape change exercise (Google Docs folder)

Lahar exercise for 40 people or for 10. Also, Ron Schott's gigapan near Orting and photos from the area.

Grand Canyon Activity (KMZ File 5kB Oct8 11) and Google Earth Library (source of topo maps as Google Earth KMZ files).

2:10-2:25 BREAK

2:25-3:30 Technical Aspects of Google Earth (incl. hands-on)

Technical Aspects of Google Earth (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 2.7MB Oct8 11) Handout

KML Reference

Tideflats Image (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 323kB Oct8 11)

Tideflats KML (KMLFile 1kB Oct8 11)

How to use KML files: KML Fundamentals (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 237kB Oct7 11)

3:30-3:45 BREAK

3:45-4:40 Small Group Lesson Planning (Hands-on)

Note: we didn't really do this - instead went further into cross section generation (see also: the non-plugin version and had a chance to discuss/answer questions.

4:40-5:00 Future Directions

5:00 Conclude

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