In April 2009, Google added the capability to
view the Great Lakes from beneath the water
surface. The Great Lakes Environmental Research
Laboratory (GLERL) has developed a basic narrated
Great Lakes tour that highlights points of interest
in each of the five Great Lakes and identifies
a few unique underwater features. The original
Great Lakes bathymetric data were compiled by
a NOAA (NESDIS-NGDC and OAR-GLERL) and Canadian
Hydrographic Service team from archival U.S.
and Canadian soundings spanning more than 75
years. Dr. David Schwab (GLERL) generated a dataset
of lake depths at points on a grid where the
grid spacing is 3 arc seconds (3/60 of a degree,
roughly 80 m) and provided it to Google. The
Great Lakes are shallow compared to the oceans,
the Great Lakes bathymetry will not appear as
dramatic to the experienced Google Ocean users.
Our intent with this first tour is to inspire
others to use this tool to create tours of their
There are two ways to view the sample tour:
1. Use the Google Earth API plug-in below. This method
is not optimal for viewing the details of the points
of interest on the tour, but does not require
downloading Google Earth.
- a. Click on arrow on the control bar on the lower left of the screen
- b. Pause the tour if you wish to view the video clips mentioned
in the narrative
- c. To return to the tour hit the play button on the control bar on the lower left
of the screen
2. View the tour in Google Earth. First you will need
to download Google Earth 5.0.
Once in Google Earth, click the + symbol next to the menu item that reads
"Great Lakes KML Tour" and then from the submenu click on the item that
reads "Narrated Tour". In some browsers the tour will start automatically.
If not, set your browser preferences to “use Google Earth” rather
than download the file.
Launch Google Earth Great Lakes Tour
Google Earth API