Using Views and Perspectives in Google Earth

You can set unique camera angles, or perspectives, to your placemarks in Google Earth, by using "Snapshot View". You can control how users view your placemarks when they double-click on them or when you're recording a narrated tour of your Google Earth layer. This tutorial will guide you through how to set the camera angle or perspective by using "Snapshot View".

In this exercise, we will add "Snapshot Views" to placemarks about several chimps that have been studied by the Jane Goodall Institute.

This video demonstrates how to create unique views and camera angles in Google Earth (0:27).


  • Absolutely no programming skills needed!
  • You will need Google Earth installed on your computer. Download the latest version here. (It's free!)

Let's Get Started!

1. Open Google Earth.

2. Download the sample data to use during this tutorial, and open it in Google Earth. For this exercise, make the Terrain layer visible. Go to the Layer Panel, and scroll to the bottom. Check the box next to Terrain to make it visible.

Create Snapshot Views

1. Notice how there is no unique camera angle or perspective set for the placemarks -- when you double-click on a placemark, the Earth doesn't tilt or rotate to a unique perspective.

2. Use the mouse or the navigation tools to orient the Earth to a unique perspective for a placemark. For example, zoom into the placemark labelled "Flirt" and tilt and rotate the Earth to a unique perspective.

3. Right-click on the "Flirt" placemark in the Places panel and select Snapshot View. This will save your unique camera angle, or perspective, for this placemark.

Using Snapshot Views can be very effective for telling stories and guiding users through your Google Earth layer in a controlled manner, helping them get the unique perspectives you want them to see.

4. You can also set the Snapshot View in the Properties window click on the Snapshot current view button, as shown to the right. To open the Properties, right-click on the placemark in the 3D viewer or in the Places panel, and choose Properties (on a PC) or Get Info (on a Mac). Go to the View tab, and click the Snapshot Current View button.

Now, when you double-click on that placemark in the 3D viewer or in the Places panel, Google Earth will fly to that saved view or perspective.

5. You can also assign a Snapshot View to a folder. To do this, right-click on the folder in the Places panel and choose Snapshot View.

Now when you double-click on the folder in the Places panel, Google Earth will fly to that saved view or perspective. Here is what the finished product might look like with saved snapshot views.

Discussion & Feedback

Have questions about this tutorial? Want to give us some feedback? Visit the Google Earth Outreach Discussion Group to discuss it with others.

What's Next?