One of the geography courses I am fortunate to teach uses a blended physical and human geography framework. The first several weeks of the year, the course entails why geography is important along with physical Earth observations and understandings. The first physical Earth lessons deal with landforms and the inner Earth/ outer Earth processes that form them. This June I converted many of the files from to kml/Google Earth. Below are the maps sets used in class to visualize these Earth processes…+ a bonus Google Earth/kml file to help teach and/or review plate tectonics.

The pedagogical formula follows the working definition of geography taught to me from Brock Brown PhD.

“Geography is a perspective…the geographical perspective provides a broadly applicable interdisciplinary method of observing and analyzing anything distributed across Earth’s space.”

  1. Starting questions: what, when, where?
  2. Followed with: how and why?
  3. Lastly: what if, what next, what about me, what about others, what should we do?


Google Earth File (Add to your drive):

Start with an observation: Physical Map Set (Natural Earth, NOAA Physical, NOAA Digital Elevation Model, Topographic NASA, World Topo-Bathy NASA) Video

Google Earth Video

Follow up with understanding the process(es) that are responsible for the spatial observation. (Bonus Google Earth file: )

**Bonus +1 Here is a Google Earth Project for Continental Drift** (No kml required)

Website overview Plate Tectonics Google Earth file:  

Google Earth Video

Lastly, how as this impacted people in the past? How about the impact on people today…tomorrow ? (prediction) Video (Ctrl+click to enable two layers)

Google Earth Video