GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 222-4
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM


VAN DER PLUIJM, Ben, Dept of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Univ of Michigan, 1100 N University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 and WILLIAMS, Josh,, Cedar Park, TX 78613

Google Earth is increasingly focusing on the platform's web version (GEW), instead of the stand-alone desktop version (GED). Whereas the desktop version offers greater functionality, it also requires full downloads of all linked materials, so placing heavy demand on computer resources. Instead, Google Earth Web (GEW) is browser based and loads material only as needed. Thus, it is much faster and can also be used on smaller portable devices, such as tablets and smartphones. However, its present functionality is very limited compared to the desktop version. In response, we developed two approaches that offer enhanced Google Earth Web functionality: GeoTrips and GeoExplorations.

GeoTrips replaces the basic information panel with a panel that allows animations, videos, StreetView, GigaPan, voiceovers, text with embedded images, linked activities and weblinks. GeoTrips allows a mix of standard GEW and enhanced GEW, supporting easy implementation. It is illustrated by a geological fieldtrip example. GeoExplorations adds GED functionality to GEW by adding on-demand globe overlays with points, lines, polygons and images with embedded information and hotlinks. Georeferenced point overlays (like real-time earthquakes), line overlays (like plate boundaries) and image overlays (like geologic maps) can be used. For example, locations on a hotlinked geologic map or a specific earthquake event can be queried and link to more detailed information on the web. Because GEW’s globe view is affected, GeoExplorations requires that all stops in a module are modified; it is illustrated by a Geology of the US module. These latest versions of eGEW incorporate Google’s recent changes to html (disallowing ‘onclick’) and a hosted javascript that background manages functionality. Users of eGEW modules only need to replace links to their material.

Examples and instructions will be posted at

  • GSA2021.pptx (4.2 MB)