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June 5, 2014 / carlispina

Combine Content Into A Tour Around The World with Google Tour Builder

Google Tour BuilderCurrently in beta, Google Tour Builder is an interesting new tool that allows you to use Google Earth to showcase a combination of images, videos, and text on any topic. Items associated with specific geographic locations allow users to take a virtual tour around the world seeing the selected content at each stop. The tool was originally developed as a way for military veterans to track where they have travelled around the world, but is now being used in many other settings, from educators showcasing historical information to nonprofit organizations highlighting their mission.

To view or create tours, you will need to download the Google Earth plugin. Once you’ve done this, you can views tours that have been shared or create your own. The first step to creating a tour is entering the tour’s name and author. Tours then start with an introductory entry that provides an overview. You can add an image to this intro by clicking on the “Add a photo” link, which allows you to upload an image which will appear as the thumbnail for the tour when it is shared or added to the Google Tour Builder gallery.

Each subsequent entry can be created by clicking the “Add Location” link, which will then prompt you to search for the geographic location that the entry is associated with. The location search feature works well to suggest locations based on search terms and once you have picked the proper place, you can opt to zoom in so that users will see a specific building or other geographic feature. You can then add a mixture of images, videos and text to the entry, which will be displayed to the left of the point on the globe when users move through the tour. Completed points on the tour can be dragged and dropped into any order before you finalize it. Once you are happy with your tour, you can click the done editing button and then share the tour using options that match those found in Google Drive.

The entire process of creating a tour using Google Tour Builder is quick and user-friendly, particularly if you have used other Google applications. Teachers could easily create assignments that require students to build tours with the tool and libraries and museums can also use it to showcase their materials in a new and educational way.

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