Photo courtesy of Google Earth™ mapping service

Features of Google Earth Maps

­The best way to get to know Google Earth is to start with a location and see what Google Earth will tell you about it. So let's start with HowStuffWorks headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. If you type "3350 Peachtree Rd. Atlanta, GA," into the Google Earth search box and click "Search," you zoom in from space to HowStuffWorks headquarters. You are now looking at a photograph of the location.

To get more information and turn the photograph into a real map, the next step is to turn on some layers. Available layers include dining, lodging, banks, roads, terrain, malls, grocery stores, gas stations, parks, transit, schools and geographic features.

To create a nice, functional map, you might just turn on the "roads" layer. If you zoom out a bit, you've got yourself a good driving map of the broader area surrounding 3350 Peachtree Rd. in Atlanta.

Photo courtesy of Google Earth™ mapping service

Let's say your little tour of Atlanta includes a stop at HowStuffWorks headquarters followed by a trip to the Georgia Dome to check out a Falcons game. A click on the Google Earth directions button reveals two slots: one for the starting address (3350 Peachtree Rd. Atlanta, GA) and one for the ending address (1 Georgia Dome Dr NW, Atlanta, 30313). Clicking "Search" reveals both written directions and a highlighted route on the map, which has automatically zoomed out to accommodate the entire route from HowStuffWorks to the stadium.

Photo courtesy of Google Earth™ mapping service