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Google Earth

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A wonderful way to explore the world – you'll be travelling and investigating for hours.

Google Earth Review

by on April 20, 2012

If, like us, you were amazed by the desktop version of Google Earth when you first used it, you’ll love the iOS version. The iPad’s Multi-Touch interface is the perfect way to navigate the planet, allowing you to fluidly roll from one place to the next, pinching and swiping your way from one amazing place to the next.

Want to fly over Victoria Falls? Swipe your finger across the screen to sail over the globe, and, when you’re ready to land, double tap on southern Africa. Pinch and stretch two fingers on the screen to zoom in and out, and twist them to rotate the view. Keep zooming in on the Zambia/Zimbabwe border and slowly the majesty of Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) glides into focus. If the site of the Falls gradually revealing themselves doesn’t make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, then we don’t know what will. Tap on the yellow marker and you can read about the Falls on Wikipedia, or view photographs and videos of it.

Had enough of Victoria Falls? How about Angel Falls in Venezuela, or Mount Everest or the Colosseum in Rome? They’re all but a few finger gestures away. It’s a breathtaking experience, and the closest it’s possible to come to visiting far flung exotic places without enduring several hours of air travel and a frisking by customs officials. And if you want to see the Great Pyramid of Giza from space, but aren’t sure where to start looking, type a query into the search bar at the top of the screen and wait while you’re transported there in seconds.

Prefer a more recent example of magnificent architecture? How about Sydney Opera House? Zoom out and watch as the pyramids disappear, then spin the globe and descend on Australia. Zoom back in and watch as the Opera House and Sydney Harbour swoop into view.

There’s more. Switch on Auto Tilt and you can change your angle of view by tilting and rotating the iPad or iPhone. And with Show Terrain on, the three-dimensional effect of rolling hills and scooped valleys looks incredible. Like the desktop app, the iOS version has Layers, though there aren’t nearly as many. You can still view road names, panoramic photographs, local businesses, and Wikipedia entries. If you have saved maps in another version of Google Earth, you can access them here by logging into your Google account.

If it all gets a bit much and you start to feel homesick, tap the position marker in the toolbar and it will fly you home. There’s hours of fun to be had just visiting the town you grew up in and looking for your old school, or re-visiting places you once went on holiday. Navigating using gestures does take a bit of getting used to; it’s too easy to fly straight past the place you’re looking for or get completely lost, but perseverance is wonderfully rewarded. An astonishing app.

Download this app: Google Earth for iPad

Best iPad apps | Apple new iPad 3 review

Review courtesy of Tap!

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