Exploring the World through Google Earth: A series of self-directed labs for an introductory geography course

Authors: Tim Edgar*, University of Utah
Topics: Geography Education, Higher Education
Keywords: Pedagogy, Higher education, Google Earth
Session Type: Interactive Short Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Iris, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Geographic data have revolutionized our view of the physical and human processes causing global change, and Google Earth has greatly increased our ability to access and visualize these data using Keyhole Markup Language (KML) files. This presentation discusses applications of Google Earth in an introductory science exploration course in the Department of Geography, University of Utah. The course uses Google Earth as a visualization tool to investigate important geographic processes responsible for global change phenomena. In weekly, self-guided labs students use Google Earth to analyze kml datasets for topics related to Earth’s energy balance, climate change, population growth, land cover change, and natural hazards. The structure of the labs put a strong emphasis on conclusions drawn from direct observation. The course culminates with a final project developed and presented as an interactive KML. In addition to discussing examples of how Google Earth has been used in this course, this presentation will provide background on the structure of KML files, several data types that can be constructed as a KML, sources for such data, and opportunities and challenges for working with different KLM file structures in Google Earth.

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