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About Our Great Lakes: Tour

Introduction | Background | Ecology | Economy
Great Lakes Facts | Threats | Lake by Lake Profiles | Tour

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 own.

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

List of YouTube videos included in Great Lakes Tour

Back Great Lakes profiles