LOOKING UP COORDINATES USING GOOGLE EARTH
Want to know where you carried out a distribution, but don’t have a GPS unit, or forgot to use it? Just look it up
in Google Earth!
Open Google Earth, and navigate to the area where you have been working. (You can use the ‘fly to’ box near the
top left of the screen to get you to the right area, such as ‘Delmas, Haiti’.
If you are not very familiar with the geography of the area, you may find it useful to switch on Google Earth’s
road layer, so that you can see road names. You’ll find this in the ‘layers box at the bottom left of the screen:
Once you have navigated to the place where you have been working, you can look up the coordinates by simply
pointing the cursor at the screen, and reading off the coordinates shown at the bottom of the screen:
By default, these coordinates will be shown as degrees, minutes and seconds.
Want to see decimal degrees, or degrees and decimal minutes? Just go to the tools menu, then options, and in
the tab ‘3D view’, you can change the way that the coordinates are shown :
Want to create your own set of points? Zoom in to the area that you want to mark, and simply click on this icon at
the top of the screen.
A ‘pushpin’ will appear in the centre of the map window. If it is not in quite the right location, you can simply drag
and drop it to the right location. You’ll also see here that you can see the exact coordinates of this point. A
dialogue box will also appear – you should rename the location from ‘Untitled Placemark’ to something more
meaningful to you, then click ‘OK’ to save it. You can also add a description to the placemark, which people will
also be able to access when they look at your data. This point will now be saved in your ‘temporary places’. This is a layer which you will find within your ‘places’ on the left hand side of the screen.
Want to change what your marker looks like? Just right click on the placemarker, and select ‘properties’. You will
then be able to choose from a much wider selection of markers. When you go to close Google Earth, you will be asked if you want to save items in your ‘temporary places’ to your ‘my places’. This is the same as saving a document; if you want to be able to see these layers again, you should select ‘yes’.
Want to create your own polygons (areas)? Zoom to the location where you want to draw a
polygon, and just click on this button at the top of the screen:
Your cursor will turn into a square, with a crosshair. You can either draw freestyle, or draw one
vertex at a time. To draw freestyle, just hold down the left mouse button and draw a shape
using the mouse. Release the mouse button when you have finished drawing the area. Or, if
you want to create one vertex at a time, just left click the mouse button once to create a
vertex. You can also do a combination of these two moves. Once you are happy with the shape
of your polygon, rename it in the dialogue box, and click ‘OK’ on that box.
This will again now be saved to your temporary places:
You can also change the appearance of the polygon, again by right clicking the item and
choosing ‘properties’. You can set different colours for the border and for the fill colour, and
set the fill to be partly transparent if you want.
When you go to close Google Earth, you will be asked if you want to save items in your
‘temporary places’ to your ‘my places’. This is the same as saving a document; if you want to
be able to see these layers again, you should select ‘yes’
ARRANGING DATA INTO FOLDERS
Once you start creating points and polygons, you may want to start arranging them into
folders. You can do this in the ‘places’ area. Right click in the place where you would like to
create a folder, and select ‘add’ the ‘folder’. This area works in the same way as windows
explorer – you can create folders, then drag items into folders. This allow you to structure your
data in a meaningful way.
When you want to share your data with others, all you need to do is to right click on the layer
you want to export, and select ‘Save place as’. Just then give the file a name. This will save as a
‘KMZ’ file, which anyone can open if they have Google earth installed on their computer. It will
be displayed for them in exactly the same way as it is displayed for you. You can right click on a
folder containing many points and polygons, and even many individual layers of information
and sub folders. All of these will be packaged into one ‘kmz’ file.