Using tours

Note: This updated touring feature is available only in Google Earth 5 and later

You can create and play tours of places and content. Tours are a guided experience where you fly from one location to another, view terrain and content and look around as you wish. You can create tours that record your exact navigation in the 3D window and even add audio. You can then share these tours with other Google Earth users

To learn more about tours and how to record tours, watch the video (English only) or read the sections below.


Watch Video

Read Instructions

Playing Tours

To play a tour, double click the tour in the Places panel. To create and play a new tour of items in My Places, select the appropriate folder in the Places panel and click the Play Tour button Play Tour button. To create and play a new tour of a line (path), select the appropriate line in the Places panel and click the Play Tour button Play Tour button.

The tour begins playing in the 3D viewer and the tour controls appear in the bottom left corner of the 3D viewer. To pause or resume the tour, click the Pause/Play button. To fast forward or go back on the tour, click the arrow buttons (press these repeatedly to accelerate back or forward). To replay the again and again tour, click the Repeat button. Use the tour slider to move to any part of the tour.

These controls disappear if the tour is inactive for a period of time, but you can make them reappear by moving the cursor over the bottom left corner of the 3D window.

Play Tour, Stop Tour

  1. Go back, play/pause and fast forward buttons
  2. Tour slider
  3. Current time in tour
  4. Repeat button
  5. Save tour button
  6. Close tour button

As a tour plays, you can look around by dragging the view. Note that this is diferent than navigating, as you can only look around from the view points of the tour. When you pause a tour, you can navigate anywhere. When you click the play button again, the tour resumes where it left off. Once you create a new tour, be sure to click the Save tour button.

Recording Tours

To record a tour, click the Record a Tour button in the toolbar or click View > Tour. The record tour controls appear in the bottom left corner of the 3D window. To begin and end recording, click the Record/Stop button. To add audio to your tour, click the Audio button. When you are finished recording your tour, it appears in the Places panel. You can then play it or share it with others.

Record tour controls

  1. Record/Stop button
  2. Audio button
  3. Current time in tour
  4. Cancel tour recording button

When you finish recording, click the Record/Stop button. The tour then plays. To save the tour, click the Save button in the playback controls that re-appear. Your tour appears in the Places panel.

Tours are KML-based. If you are familiar with KML, you can manually edit the code of your tour. Learn more about KML (English only).

Tip - You can record while another tour is playing to create a new tour. This allows you to create interesting perspectives and effects in the new tour, such as using the mouse to change the viewing angle.

Setting Tour Options

You can control touring behavior, as described below. To access these settings, click Tools > Options. (on the Mac, click Google Earth > Preferences).

When you are creating a tour from a folder in the places panel, use these settings:

  • Time between features - Use this setting to control how fast the viewer flies to each stop a the tour you create from a folder. Keep in mind that setting the tour to a high speed requires that your cache contain all imagery, or else the earth, road, and placemark imagery will not be streamed quickly enough to keep up with the tour.
  • Wait at features - Use this to set the desired pause time for each stop in the tour.
    • Fly along lines - Check this to make your tour follow a path (if available).
    • Show balloons when waiting at features - Check this to display balloons at each placemark when the tour pauses.

When you are creating a tour that follows a line (path), use these settings:

  • Camera tilt angle - Use this to set the angle of the view displayed when following a line
  • Camera range - Use this to determine how much of the earth (example 10,000 meters) is displayed in the tour
  • Speed - Use this to set the speed of the tour

When you are recording a tour, use the slider to choose a balance between the file size and the quality (fidelity) of your tour.