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Explore the Earth on your computer

Check out mountains, hills, landmarks, and underwater scenery with the 3D viewer. You can zoom in and out, and tilt or rotate the view to look around.

Change your point of view

Use a mouse to change your perspective and explore different terrains.

  • To look in any direction: Left-click and hold. Then, drag the cursor until you see the view you want.
  • To return to the default view: Click the map and press r.

Zoom in & out

You can zoom in and out to see more or less of a map area. Use the scroll wheel on your mouse or mouse touchpad to zoom in and out.

Tilt to view hills & mountains

When you first start Google Earth, you’ll see a straight view of the globe. You can tilt the map in any direction.

Mac

  • Press and hold the scroll button. Then, move the mouse forward or backward.
  • Press Shift and scroll forward or backward to tilt up and down.

Windows & Linux

Press Shift + Left-click. Then, drag in any direction.

Adjust terrain elevation

  1. Open Google Earth.
  2. On Windows: Click Tools Next Options Next 3D View. On Mac: Click Google Earth Next Preferences Next 3D View.
  3. Under "Terrain," enter a number between .01 and 3 for "Elevation Exaggeration." 1.5 shows a natural elevation.
  4. Click Apply.

Explore the ocean

See sea floors, deep ocean trenches, and other underwater terrain.
To hide or show the surface of the ocean: Click View Next Water Surface. You can see from above or below the water’s surface.

Point the view North

In the top right corner, on the compass, click the up arrow. The compass and globe will both return to a north-facing view.

Use the navigation controls

The navigation controls are in the upper right corner of the map and fade when you aren’t using them.

  • To show navigation controls, mouse over the right corner of the map.
  • If you don’t see the navigation controls, in the top menu, click View Next Show Navigation Next Automatically.

Show or hide the compass: In the top menu, click View Next Show Navigation.

Move around the globe

  1. Open Google Earth.
  2. Point to a directional arrow on the compass.
  3. Left-click and hold. Then, release the button when you’ve reached the part of the world you want to see.

Set a default start location

You can change where you start each time you launch Google Earth.

  1. Open Google Earth.
  2. Go to the location you want to set as your start location.
  3. Rotate, tilt, and zoom in until you have the view you want.
  4. In the top menu, click View Next Make this my start location.