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Introduction to Google Earth

Google Earth is a free, downloadable application that uses 3-Dimensional satellite images and aerial photography to let users virtually fly around the globe.

A Google Earth Tour is a series of locations that are strung together based on a theme. A tour may point out interesting facts about nearby attractions, businesses and other destinations and geographical points.

You can download the latest version of Google Earth from

Take a Google Earth Tour

Links to Google Earth Tours can be found throughout publications published by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, or on the Comptroller’s Web site.

  1. In selected articles, click on the button that says Google Earth.
  2. Save the file to your computer.
  3. Double click on the saved file to open the Google Earth program with the locations of the customized Google Earth Tour marked on the globe.

You can navigate throughout the tour by clicking on the Fiscal Notes icons (icon ) or by clicking any location in the “Places” pane of Google Earth.

Screen shot of Google Earth with Military Bases Tour loaded.


How to save a tour in Google Earth

How to Get directions to a location

How to show accommodations around a location

Saving a Tour

By default, tours are opened up in the Temporary Places folder in the Places pane of Google Earth. To save the tour in your permanent My Places folder, select the top level folder of the tour and drag and drop it into the My Places folder.

Get Directions to a Location

Select any marker in Google Earth (Fiscal Notes marker, an image, etc). Right-click on it (or apple+click for Mac) and select Directions to Here from the menu.

Next, enter the starting location in the Search pane of Google Earth, which is located in the top left corner.

After entering the starting point and pressing the search icon (Search Icon) an overview of the route will be displayed in the main window, while turn-by-turn instructions will be displayed in the “Search” pane.

Click on the “Printable View” link to get directions in a printer-friendly format. You can also press the green play icon (Play Icon) and following nodes (Node Icon) to watch a fly over of the selected route.

How to find accommodations

The Layers pane of Google Earth allows you to select information, such as gas stations, hotel accomodations and restaurants, that you would like displayed on the map. To show hotels near a location, navigate to the location and then select the Lodging option in the layer pane.

You can display information such as real-time traffic data and weather, as well as display 3-D photorealistic buildings in cities.

More Resources

View the Google Earth tutorial at Google,

Required Plug-ins