Google Earth Pro is Free to Download

I recent learned via the Google Earth Blog that Google Earth Pro is now free to download. I hadn’t used Google Earth for some time so I decided to try out the Movie Maker feature which is Pro only.

With movie maker it is possible to record live navigation with the mouse although this doesn’t tend to give a very smooth or or professional result. Using a specially designed 3D mouse such as the Space Navigator works much better. For my test I opted to make my video from a quick tour I created zooming into the Tower of London from orbit. This was achieved by selecting a sequence of points for the camera to visit. Movie Maker was then used to convert that tour to video. This took about 30mins to render with a fade in and fade out added in Adobe Premiere.

The attribution details at the bottom of the screen can be a little distracting because they change as the view moves between imagery from different satellites. It would be possible to crop these out but Google do insist on particular guidelines for permission to use their imagery and attribution. The are also occasional issues where parts of the 3D geometry flicker due to caching. Nevertheless, the results are very good for a quick and easy visualisation!

The combination of satellite imagery and 3D geometry are great for engaging viewers and giving a map context. Other features like a recorded voice over and the ability to highlight areas of interest can also be useful depending on the context. A comparison of features between the free and Pro versions of Google Earth can be found here, along with the link to download it.

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