Discover places and change your view

You can use Google Earth to travel the world and explore new places. You’ll find exotic cities, landmarks in 3D, and buildings up close. 

Learn how to experience places in Street View.


Navigate in Google Earth

  1. On your computer, open Google Earth.
  2. Choose an action:
    • To find a specific place: Click Search Search.
    • Move around: Drag with your mouse. 
    • Zoom in and out: At the bottom right, use +/- or right drag the mouse.
    • Explore around your location: Hold Ctrl + drag the screen.

Turn on latitude & longitude gridlines  

You can turn on gridlines to learn about geographic coordinates and get your approximate location on the Earth’s surface.

  1. On your computer, open Google Earth.
  2. On the left, click Map Style Map Style.
  3. Turn on Gridlines.

Tip: Turn on gridlines to show the 5 major circles of latitude: The Equator, Arctic Circle, Antarctic Circle, Tropic of Cancer, and Tropic of Capricorn, as well as the Prime Meridian.

Show 3D imagery

To turn 3D buildings and trees on or off:

  1. On your computer, open Google Earth.
  2. On the left, click Map Style Map Style.
  3. Turn Enable 3D buildings on or off.

Tip: Turn off 3D buildings to possibly show newer imagery and increase the overall performance of Google Earth.

Change the view

  • Switch between top-down view and orbiting 3D view: At the bottom right, click 3D 3D. If you're already in 3D view, you’ll find 2D instead.
  • Reset your globe to face true north: At the bottom right, click the compass.
    Tip: When your globe doesn't face true north, the compass icon appears.
  • Fly to your current location: At the bottom right, click My Location My location.

Choose your map style

  1. At the top, click Menu Menu.
  2. Click Map Style Map Style.
  3. Choose a view:
    • Clean: Imagery only — no borders, labels or roads.
    • Exploration: Imagery plus most places of interest, like borders, labels, and roads.
    • Everything: All of the above plus landmarks, businesses, public transit, and more.
    • Custom: Choose which features you want to find when you use Google Earth.

Troubleshoot places that load slowly

Sometimes, places take time to show in Google Earth. To experience Earth images on your device more quickly, you may need to change your image quality settings.

  1. On your computer, open Google Earth.
  2. On the left, click Menu Menu and then Settings.
  3. Under "Memory cache size," choose a size:
    • To load images more quickly, increase the cache size.
      Tip: It's easier to increase the cache size on newer devices.
    • If you have a slower computer, you can lower the cache size and load images more slowly.
      Tip: This may make Google Earth run more smoothly.
  4. Click Save.
Tip: While you wait for a place to load, check the bottom left to tell how much of the image already loaded.

Nearby places of interest

Mini-pins on the maps show nearby places of interest you may enjoy. The pins are listed in different categories, including:
Food and drink: 
Food Wine Bar or pub Cafe 
Shopping Grocery
Outdoor attractions:
Camping Golf Zoo Park Mountain
Emergency services:
Pharmacy Medical aid Red Cross Red Crescent Red Shield of David 
City services:
Police School Restroom Post Office Library

To learn more about the mini-pins and what they represent, consult the full legend.

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