This photo shows the starting view in Google Earth. All baseline visual data in Google Earth comes from satellite imagery and aerial photographs taken by aircraft. See the Google Earth toolbars next.
All of the map navigation buttons, including zoom, tilt and rotate, are located in the Google Earth frame. Available layers include dining, lodging, roads, terrain, grocery stores, gas stations, parks and more. See Google Earth in action next.
You can virtually fly around the globe using Google Earth, viewing famous places and landmarks, like the well-known monument on the next page.
Image Credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
Google Earth allows you to zoom in on global landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris (pictured above) just by clicking on a location in the "Sightseeing" box. See an ancient landmark on the next page.
The pyramids in Egypt are seen through Google Earth. One can appreciate their sheer immensity by seeing them juxtaposed with the relatively tiny structures of the urban landscape to the east. Go to Europe to see the next landmark.
This view shows St. Peter's Basilica (the domed building in the lower center) in Vatican City, Rome. You can also use Google Earth to view natural landmarks, like this formerly volatile location on the next page.
Google Earth shows Mount St. Helens in Washington State. Because the imagery data comes from different sources, it's provided at different resolutions, causing some areas of the globe to appear crisp and others blurry. See another natural feature next.
The Grand Canyon is another must-see on Google Earth. While the U.S., Canada and the U.K. are covered thoroughly, and decent data exists for Western Europe, India and Japan, the rest of the globe can be hit or miss. Learn about privacy concerns next.
The most vocal opponent of Google Earth by far is South Korea, technically still at war with North Korea. South Korea is very upset that anyone can view South Korean military installations like the Osan Air Force base above. See another example next.
Indian military analysts are divided over whether Google Earth, which the president has warned could help terrorists find targets, poses a serious threat to national security. There are also many positives to Google Earth. See NASA's application next.
Image Credit: LAURENT FIEVET/AFP/Getty Images
One NASA application for Google Earth is the Blue Marble Next Generation application, which creates a beautiful image of the Earth from space. Or you can view this planet on the next page.
You can also view satellite images of Mars through a NASA Google Earth application, effectively turning your Google Earth into a Martian globe. Need a bigger picture? Check out Google Sky on the next page.
Google Sky gives you the ability to view constellations and other objects in the night sky. Two very cool features are the Moon in Motion and Planets in Motion layers. Layers can also be used for social and political purposes as seen in the next picture.
The Crisis in Darfur is an overlay developed by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum that maps out the genocide in Darfur. Another Google Earth feature is 3-D depictions of major U.S. cities. See one of these U.S. cities on the next page.
Google Earth 3-D shows realistic 3-D drawings of city skylines, like this image of Denver. Take a look at Manhattan in 3-D next.
Google Earth 3-D depicts Manhattan. As with any other view, you can use the "tilt" and "rotate" buttons in the navigator panel to get the full 3-D perspective. See the home city of HowStuffWorks in the next image.
HowStuffWorks is headquartered in Atlanta, seen in this 3-D image. Zoom in on HowStuffWorks with Google Earth next.
A Google Earth search can find the location of businesses like HowStuffWorks. You can also find restaurants, like in the next image.
Searching for a business on Google Earth is useful when you want to find the nearest restaurant, such as in this map near the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. You can also use the dining layer to find restaurants. So what does all this cost? See the next page.
A Google Earth download is free and works on most operating systems. On the next page, see how Google Earth can show you how we've altered the planet.
In addition to the stunning natural features and manmade monuments available for viewing on Google Earth, users can also see the ways we have scarred, drilled, detonated and otherwise altered the planet. Above is the Storax Sedan nuclear test crater in southern Nevada. Click ahead for another nuclear landmark.
Image Credit: Image © 2012 DigitalGlobe; © 2012 Google
Aerial and satellite photography allows us to see places we would probably never want to venture in person, such as Prypiat, Ukraine, which adjoined the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Prypiat and the rest of the surrounding areas were evacuated after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster for fear of radioactive contamination. The town remains abandoned. Next, you'll see how humans sculpt the Earth to their will.
Image Credit: U.S. Dept of State Geographer; Image © 2012 DigitalGlobe; © 2012 Google
The Palm Jumeirah is a manmade archipelago off the coast of Dubai. Created by a company known as Nakheel Properties, this meticulously detailed monument was made from blasted rock and sand from the ocean floor. To see another artificial island group off the shores of Dubai, click ahead.
Image Credit: Image © 2012 DigitalGlobe; Image © 2012 GeoEye; © 2012 Google
Just northeast of the Palm Jumeirah lie the islands of "The World" -- another project of Nakheel -- which are artificial land masses in the shape of the planet's continental structure. Images like this one from Google Earth may someday be the only evidence of The World, as some have alleged that the islands are slowly sinking back into the ocean.
Image Credit: Image © 2012 DigitalGlobe; Image © 2012 GeoEye; © 2012 Google; Data SIO, NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBEO
Image Credit: © 2012 Google; USDA Farm Service Agency
Some of Google Earth's 3D renderings are strangely beautiful, such as this view of the Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. In the image captured for Google, the shadow of the 867-foot igneous rock structure falls sharply over the pine forest below. Google Earth also allows users to see links to photographs taken in the surveyed area, so if you want to see what Devils Tower looks like from the ground, all you have to do is click one of the hovering photo icons, and you can view this amazing rock from hundreds of angles.
Now that you've seen our Google Earth Pictures, check out our Googleplex Pictures