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Touring Google Earth Route Info

Maybe you're planning to hop in the old jalopy and see what there is to see out on the open road. Or it could be that you're not interested in where the roads go at all, but you'd still like to show where several things are in relation to each other for one reason or another.

In Google Earth, tours are the solution to these kinds of needs. A tour is an animation of a journey along a series of points, and those points are up to you. That journey might follow a nice smooth highway, or it might soar high over places where even a 4-wheel drive or a mule would have trouble.

You can use the search results that Google Earth gives you as the basis for a tour. When you use the Directions tab, for instance, you get not only a series of placemarks but a slightly different way of marking things, called the Route. Check it out and see them both in action:

1. In the Search pane, click the Directions tab.

2. Enter a value in the From text box and another in the To text box.

For example, you might want to put Chicago in the former and Detroit in the latter.

3. Click the Begin Search button.

The results appear in the Search pane.

After you have something to work with, take a look at a couple of different ways of using it. The results in the Search pane consist of a series of steps (such as turn left here, go this far, turn left again, continue for two miles, and so on). Each step in the process is also a temporary placemark.

These Directions placemarks use an automobile icon that is green for the first step, amber for intermediate steps, and red for the conclusion of the journey.

To play the tour:

1. Click the top level heading under the Search results.

2. Click the Play Tour button.

The viewing area flies to each placemark, showing each of them in the order in which they are listed.

Search results are designed to be ephemeral in Google Earth; that is, they're automatically deleted whenever you exit the program. If you want to keep the results of a search you have performed, however, it's simple to do. Those temporary placemarks in the Search pane can be moved to the Places pane, where they will be automatically saved when you exit Google Earth instead of being automatically deleted. Here's how:

1. Choose the item you want to move.

• To move the whole set of directions: Right-click the direction set's top level (the one that says wherever to wherever).

• To move an individual placemark: Right-click it only.

2. Choose Save to My Places from the pop-up menu.

That's all there is to it.

If you don't like using menus, you can also drag and drop items from the Search pane to the Places pane.

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