Google Earth is a virtual globe, map and geographical information program that was originally called EarthViewer 3D, and was created by Keyhole, Inc, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) funded company acquired by Google in 2004 (see In-Q-Tel). It maps the Earth by the superimposition of images obtained from satellite imagery, aerial photography and GIS 3D globe. It was available under three different licenses, two currently: Google Earth, a free version with limited function; Google Earth Plus (discontinued),which included additional features; and Google Earth Pro ($399 per year), which is intended for commercial use. Google Earth
The product, re-released as Google Earth in 2005, is currently available for use on personal computers running Windows 2000 and above, Mac OS X and above, Linux kernel: 2.6 or later (released on June 12, 2006), and FreeBSD. Google Earth is also available as a browser plugin which was released on May 28, It was also made available for mobile viewers on the iPhone OS on October 28, 2008, as a free download from the App Store, and is available to Android users as a free app on the Android Market. In addition to releasing an updated Keyhole based client, Google also added the imagery from the Earth database to their web-based mapping software, Google Maps. The release of Google Earth in June 2005 to the public caused a more than tenfold increase in media coverage on virtual globes between 2004 and 2005, driving public interest in geospatial technologies and applications. As of October 2011 Google Earth has been downloaded more than a billion times.
Overview Google Earth displays satellite images of varying resolution of the Earth's surface, allowing users to see things like cities and houses looking perpendicularly down or at an oblique angle (see also bird's eye view). The degree of resolution available is based somewhat on the points of interest and popularity, but most land (except for some islands) is covered in at least 15 meters of resolution. Melbourne, Australia; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Cambridge, Cambridgeshire include examples of the highest resolution, at 15 cm (6 inches). Google Earth allows users to search for addresses for some countries, enter coordinates, or simply use the mouse to browse to a location. For large parts of the surface of the Earth only 2D images are available, from almost vertical photography. Viewing this from an oblique angle, there is perspective in the sense that objects which are horizontally far away are seen smaller, like viewing a large photograph, not quite like a 3D view.
For other parts of the surface of the Earth 3D images of terrain and buildings are available. Google Earth uses digital elevation model (DEM) data collected by NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). This means one can view the whole earth in three dimensions. Since November 2006, the 3D views of many mountains, including Mount Everest, have been improved by the use of supplementary DEM data to fill the gaps in SRTM coverage. Many people use the applications to add their own data, making them available through various sources, such as the Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) or blogs mentioned in the link section below. Google Earth is able to show all kinds of images overlaid on the surface of the earth and is also a Web Map Service client. Google Earth supports managing three-dimensional Geospatial data through Keyhole Markup Language (KML).
Uses Google Earth is useful for many day-to-day and other purposes. Google Earth can be used to view areas subjected to widespread disasters if Google supplies up-to-date images. For example after the January 12, 2010 Haiti earthquake images of Haiti were made available on January 17. With Google's push for the inclusion of Google Earth in the Classroom, teachers are adopting Google Earth in the classroom for lesson planning, such as teaching students geographical themes (location, culture, characteristics, human interaction, and movement) to creating mashups with other web applications such as Wikipedia. One can explore and place location bookmarks on the Moon, and Mars. One can also get directions using Google Earth, using variables such as street names, cities, and establishments. Google Earth can also function as a "hub" of knowledge, pertaining to your location. By enabling certain options, one can see the location of gas stations, restaurants, museums, and other public establishments in their area. Google Earth can also dot the map with links to images, YouTube videos, and Wikipedia articles relevant to the area being viewed.