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Google Earth

  • By: Katarina Doctor
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Google Earth is a virtual globe that is available for free through the Internet to anyone in the world who has an Internet connection and a computer with the minimum requirements. Google Earth is many things in one: a virtual globe, a 3D (three-dimensional) geobrowser, an interactive geospatial encyclopedia, a basic GIS (geographic information system), an advanced visualization technology, and a tool for teaching, learning, and entertainment (Figure 1).

Google Earth was originally developed by Keyhole Corporation, which Google purchased in October 2004. In early 2005, the basic version of Google Earth became available to the public. Google Earth enables exploration of the terabytes of images and information served by Google within the spatial context of Earth. In addition to Earth, the software includes a virtual ...

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