UPDATE: print instructions for this process are available as a PDF document.
I’m preparing to teach six sections of Biology 2 (junior-senior alternative to AP Biology, and a course I helped to develop when I was a classroom teacher) next Tuesday on creating a product in Google Earth that demonstrate the students’ understanding of the effects of extreme environments on human physiology.
Basically, the students will conduct their research on the effects of extreme environments (altitude, deserts, ocean, etc.) on the physiology of human beings. They’ll put together a tour of these environments using Google Earth, while using placemark windows as containers for different types of media that support their analysis and explanations.
So here is a part of the presentation of adding content to placemark windows in Google Earth.
Several things first. To add content to a placemark other than text, you have to know some HTML. I’ll address that in a moment. Second, I’m operating on the most current version of Google Earth (v4.2) on a PC platform.
So let’s get started. If you want to see a larger version of this post, with larger graphics, click on the diamond in the upper right portion of this post. That will expand the post to full-screen.
To address the HTML requirement, I’m using a very simple and nice online HTML editor (Mac users can access this editor if they use Firefox) from the Brookhaven National Laboratory. It looks like this:
So, I’ll begin entering content including some text, an image and a hyperlink. To add the text, simply type. To add an image, locate an image (mine came from the attribution pool of the Creative Commons portion of Flickr), get the address of the image (I accessed that through the image properties), click the image tool, and paste the address in. To add a hyperlink, type the text you want to become the link, hilite it, and use the link tool in the tools menu, and then paste or type the link (URL) in. It looks like this:
By clicking on the HTML Toggle Source button in the online editor, I can see the code:
I’m doing this at this point because I want to add a YouTube video on high altitude to my code that will eventually be placed into Google Earth, and I need to add the embed code. This can be found on any YouTube video page. After I copy and paste that code into editor window, it looks like this:
I’ll now copy this code to my clipboard.
Clicking on the HTML Toggle Source button returns me to the WYSIWYG editor. Here is the editor, with my YouTube video now in place.
Now it’s time to jump over to Google Earth. I’ll open up Earth, type in Nepal in the search (I’m not interested in the exact location for the purposes of this post), and go to the upper menu bar, and create a new placemark.
In the placemark window, I’ll paste the code from my HTML editor. It now looks like this:
Click OK, and then click on the placemark itself in Google Earth and this is what you see:
The Google Earth placemark now has text, a hyperlink, an image and an embedded YouTube video.
Once a placemark has been completed (or is still being constructed), the student(s) can save the placemark locally to a USB drive or network space by going over to the Places menu (left margin of GE), right-clicking on the placemark and selecting Save As. Be sure to save it as a kml file (although kmz would work).
To add more content to the placemark once it has been saved (for instance, the class period ended, and students are back working the next day), simply go to the File menu, select Open, and select the kml file for the placemark. The kml file will launch in Google Earth, and then the placemark can be edited to add more content. On aPC, you would right-click on the placemark icon and select properties.
To put all the placemarks together in a tour, create a folder in the My Places area of Google Earth, and open each kml file. The kml file will appear in the Places menu. Drag those to the folder you created, or copy each placemark if moving them in the places menu is awkward, and paste them into the folder (once each has been opened in GE).
Save the folder as a kmz (z = zipped) and in this way, all placemarks can be packaged together, and distributed as a single file. These kmz (or even kml) files can be shared in a variety of ways, but I like posting them to a wiki. Clicking on either type of file launches Google Earth and the users can see the placemarks.
If you are interested in seeing the end result live, save this file to your machine and click on it to launch Google Earth.
image of Everest from mckaysavage