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Thursday, May 2, 2019

5 Google Earth Pro Tips for Teachers and Students

Google Earth is currently available in a few different versions. There is the web browser version that was built for use in Chrome and Chromebooks. There is an iOS version and an Android version for use on tablets and phones. And then there is the original version made for use as desktop software on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. That version is now known as Google Earth Pro. Despite the "Pro" label, the software is free to install on your computer.

Google Earth Pro has more features than any of the other versions of Google Earth. If you haven't tried Google Earth Pro and you have a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer, here are five things you should know that you and your students can do with it.

Create Narrated, Guided Tours
Google Earth Pro makes it easy to create a narrated tour of a set of placemarks, a region, or the whole world. The recording tools are built right into the software. Watch my video to learn how you can create a narrated Google Earth tour.



Create a Tour of the Moon or Mars
Not only can you create a tour of Earth in Google Earth, you can also create a tour of the moon and a tour of Mars. Watch the following video to see how to do that.



Find Google Earth Tours Through Google Search
Google Earth Pro has a lot of content available within it as soon as you install it and open it. But you can find even more great Google Earth content by conducting a Google search that you file according to file types .KML and .KMZ. That process is outlined in the following video.



Find Historical Imagery in Google Earth
Google Earth Pro has a timeslider that lets you view historical satellite imagery and some historical photographs. That process is outlined in the video below. You can also find historical maps in Google Earth Pro by opening the Rumsey Historical Maps collection in the Layers section of Google Earth Pro.


Make Google Earth Pro Load Faster
One of the common complaints about Google Earth Pro is that it can take a long time to load and or can make a computer run slowly. There is a simple solution to that problem. The solution is to turn off any layers that you aren't currently using. There is a handful of layers that are on by default in the standard installation of Google Earth Pro. You can turn those off by simply unchecking them in the Layers menu. See the screenshot below for a visual.
Click to view in full size. 

What is RSS? How Can You Use It?

This is the last thing that I'm going to publish about this ridiculous copyright infringement debacle I've been dealing with for a week. But as I said earlier today, I am going to try to make the best of it by sharing some pertinent and related resources about copyright.

The owner of the site that was republishing all of my posts has been infuriatingly persistent in saying that her copyright infringement was my fault because my RSS feed had too many characters (see the screenshot in this post). Just because you can read something on the Internet doesn't mean that  you can republish it in its entirety without permission (possible exceptions for a Fair Use critique).

If you're wondering what RSS is, Common Craft explained it very well in this video released twelve years ago. With the exception of the mention of Google Reader, the information in the video is still accurate today. Today, your RSS reader options include popular sites and apps like Feedly and Flipboard. (Disclosure: I have a long-standing in-kind relationship with Common Craft).



RSS feeds make it easy to follow your favorite websites in one convenient place. When you follow a site in an RSS reader, you're reading that site's original content with full attribution and full links back to the original source. And if the owner of the site chooses to monetize the RSS feed with advertising, that site gets the benefit of ad revenue (I've made the choice not to include advertising in the RSS feed for Free Technology for Teachers because I think it muddies the reading experience).

Unfortunately, RSS feeds also make it easy for people to republish a site's work in full violation of copyright. Just because a feed exists doesn't mean that you can republish a site's entire content without permission. As Haje Jan Kamps rightly explains in his analogy comparing stealing from a blind shopkeeper to copying content via RSS, just because something is easy to do doesn't make it right or legal.

How to File a Copyright Claim With Google

In my previous post I detailed the copyright debacle that has consumed way too much of my mental energy and way too much of time over the last week. As I mentioned in that post, I am trying to make something good out of it by creating and sharing resources about what to do if you find yourself in a similar situation. To that end, I made a video about how to file a copyright complaint with Google.


You can find Google's copyright complaint form here.

As more than a few of you have said to me, this debacle has served as an example that you can use with your students and colleagues when discussing copyright issues.

How to File a Copyright Infringement Complaint With Facebook

I frequently deal with websites that are plagiarizing my work. Usually, I deal with sites that are plaigiarizing my work by simply sending them a notice that they've been caught and that they should stop. Seven times out of ten it ends there. If it doesn't end there I'll send a formal DMCA takedown notice. In every instance in the past decade, those two steps have done the trick.

Unfortunately, for the last week I've been dealing with the owner of a site called Online Cultus that didn't respond to any private messages except to once say "we're not stealing any posts." Worse, the owner of the Online Cultus, Aleksandra Arsik, unleashed a series of Tweets in which she blamed her copyright infringement on me for publishing an RSS feed that lets people read my posts online. She thinks that because the RSS feed exists that she can copy and paste the posts then simply add "source: Free Technology for Teachers."

Since the owner of the site dug her heels in and refused to acknowledge any wrong-doing I had to start filing copyright infringement notices with the two biggest sources of traffic for her site, Google and Facebook.

How to File a Copyright Claim on Facebook
In an attempt to make something good out of this copyright debacle I have made a couple of videos to illustrate how to file copyright infringement notices with Facebook and Google. The first of those videos is How to File a Copyright Claim on Facebook.


As I mentioned in the video, filing a complaint on Facebook is a little more complicated than it is on Google. This largely due to issues around fair use. If you need to file a copyright claim on Facebook I recommend thoroughly reading the documentation that they provide as you go through the copyright complaint form that is available here.