Using ‘Google Earth’ in the History Classroom

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Google Earth ( is a fantastic free tool which allows you to explore the globe from your home computer. Download the software onto your computer and within seconds you can find yourself touring the planet at high altitude, zooming in and out of countries, towns and even streets; examining the terrain, adding your own overlay maps and constructing virtual ‘flyover’ tours of selected locations. This software has obvious applications in the Geography classroom, but it also has incredible potential for History teaching.

1. Three ways that Google Earth can enhance history

a. Terrain / Overlays
‘Overlays’ are maps which are scanned from a computer (or taken direct from the web) and then dropped over a historical site to give a much better sense of ‘place’: for example, a contemporary engraving showing London After the Great Fire, or aerial photographs of Concentration Camps around the Third Reich. Even more impressively, ...

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