Using Google Earth in Libraries: A Practical Guide for Librarians

Philip Calvert (Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 5 June 2017




Calvert, P. (2017), "Using Google Earth in Libraries: A Practical Guide for Librarians", The Electronic Library, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 617-618.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

We must all be familiar with Google Earth; who has not used it to make virtual flights over cities and oceans, done the same with 3D and gone back in time to see how the world once looked. Yet it will be a far fewer number of us who have used the same software as a research, mapping and cultural exploration tool. This book explores the use of Google Earth as a research tool in libraries. The book opens with a chapter describing Google Earth and how it can be used, for example, by the importation of external objects, such as photos and KML files. This chapter is necessary because many who read it (this reviewer included) will realise they have not been using the software to its full potential. The second chapter explains how Google Earth can be used as a portal or a discovery tool for pointing library customers to resources, such as pathfinders and online collections. The idea that it can be used as a resource management system may not have occurred to many librarians who use Google Earth but there are, apparently, several libraries that do this already and their projects are described in this chapter. The next chapter is about using Google Earth for teaching in geospatial, environment, geography, science and other courses, and it provides several pointers to ongoing projects. Chapter four goes “under the hood” to ask what can be done using KML coding. The authors suggest animations and dynamic placemarks as two ways to use this functionality. They then show how to import map data from other sources, often in formats such as shape format (.shp) that can be used in Google Earth Pro or converted into Keyhole Markup Language (KML). This chapter also describes some advanced capabilities in Google Earth that even regular users may not know of. These include georeferencing (the assignment of coordinates to an image); creating a video tour; working with Google Fusion Tables to customise tabular data to be viewed in Google Earth; and then the creation and mapping of 3D data. The last chapter consists of some self-paced tutorials on placemarks, georeferencing and other topics. The images in the book are useful, as they bring to life a visual tool. The index is brief but does the job. This is good book that should be purchased for professional development in any library that currently or might in the future use Google Earth.

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