UI Refresh

Swipe Right: New UI / Swipe Left: Old UI

It has been about five years since’s last UI refresh. There are several issues that have been resolved. Watching students use the site in my classroom has brought on many of these changes, but some are just me wanting to tinker around. The most significant changes center around students using touch screens on their 11.6” Chromebooks.

Other changes have to do with scrolling of panels and creating a vertical split screen mode for modern, relatively large, smarty phones and/or tablets. As always, I am a one teacher shop that can only test on the devices that teachers can afford. So hopefully the new design works for your students. If not, the old version will be hosted here for the time being.

Swipe above image: New larger and on-hover highlighted buttons

Swipe above image: “Select Map” menu has been reworked to better fit smaller screens

Swipe above image: Close Streetview icon added to panel’s header

Swipe above image: Added scrollbars to each panel to accommodate smaller screen sizes

Swipe above image: The importance of scroll bars. Allowing students to work with varying window sizes

“Layers” automatically toggles on after clicking a map set

New vertical view option which might not help a lot in landscape on a computer, but…

..pretty handy in portrait mode on my Note 8 (image above) and/or a tablet in portrait mode

**Phone viewport must be wider than 385px**

Spice up Google Earth Projects with Custom HTML

One of the most requested features I get asked about is adding narration or audio to Google Earth Projects. Recently, I was fortunate to participate in a Google for Good 2020 session were Jordon Mears and I discussed how to approach adding audio to Google Earth Projects via Earth’s custom HMTL option. (Click here to watch full presentation – Free on-demand)

Click here to watch full presentation – Free On-Demand

Thanks for those who watched the session. However, as an educator, I understand the need to offer a non-serial version and examples of our 15-minute conversation.


Code Editor: Visual Studio Code (Code editor from session)

Hosted MP3 file:

HTML Templates:

Google Earth Project Example Link (Feel free to make a copy)

Step 1: Start simple

For me, when working with HTML and Google Earth, starting with the most basic snippet, then working up, saves hours of development time.

Our inquiry begins with…Can HTML audio tag work in Google Earth Web?

Finding the simplest code example often starts with Google search, “html Audio.”  These searches often lead me to school.

From here, I will take their “Try it Yourself” snippet and replace their mp3 with one of my own.

<!DOCTYPE html>

<audio controls>
  <source src="" type="audio/mpeg">
Your browser does not support the audio element.


Copy and Paste the modified code into Google Earth Web and hear it work.

Simple HTML Audio – Google Earth Web

Step 2: Spice it up!

Now that we know the html audio tag works, we can spice up the style of the page with a little more HTML, CSS, and simple JavaScript. You can always create your own, but if you don’t have the time, feel free to use a template from this GitHub repository ( The snippet below is using the oneImageAudio.html example found in repository.

<!DOCTYPE html>
        <meta charset="UTF-8">
        <title>Simple Audio with One Image</title>
        <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
        <link rel="stylesheet" href=",200,300,400,500|Roboto+Slab|Material+Icons" type="text/css" />
        <link rel="stylesheet" href="" />
        <link rel="stylesheet" href="" type="text/css" />
        <div id="container">
            <main class="panelMain">
                <div class="mediaContain">
                    <div class="slideshow-container">
<!--First media in Carousel--Best Image Aspect Ratio 3:2 Replace Image Source (src) bellow-->
                        <div class="mySlides fade">
                            <img class="image"src="">
                            <div class="captionDiv">
                                <div class="caption" >Replace Caption</div>
                <div class="content" id="content">
<!--Replace title text between div-->
                    <div class="title">
                        Replace title
<!--Replace mp3 source (src="youraudio.mp3")-->
                    <audio id="audioI" style="display:none" >
                        <source src="" type="audio/mpeg">
                            Your browser does not support the audio tag.
                    <span class="mdl-chip mdl-chip--contact audioPlay" style="width:85px;margin-left: 8px;">
                        <span class="mdl-chip__contact mdl-color-text--white" style="margin-right: 5px;"id="playIcon">
                            <i class="material-icons">play_arrow</i>
                        <span class="mdl-chip__text" id="playButton">Play</span>
<!--Replace text for description--Every <p> needs to have a class="text"--Any html works-->
                    <div class="description">
                        <p class="text">Replace description...If you need a new paragraph the class="text"</p>
<!--Best image height for footer is 24px with a max-width of 145px-->
<!--If you don't want the footer is it best to delete the html within the logoLeft/LogoRight Div-->
                <div class="footer">
                    <div class="logoLeft">
                        <a href="" target="_blank">
                            <img src="" >
                    <div class="logoRight" style="display:none">
    <script src=""></script>
    <script defer src=""></script>
Custom HTML Audio – Google Earth Web

There are several HTML files in the repository for you to use, modify, or recreate.  You can reach me @geteach on twitter if you need help exploring, creating, or sharing this Earth.

Read more about my Google Geo fun here: Decade of Google Geo EDU (

Or read some other Google Geo post here:

GeTeach’s Spring Cleaning – 2020

Left Canvas Electricity – Production
Right Canvas Electricity Consumption had a little spring cleaning this past week. The CIA World Factbook, along with UN’s Human Development Index, data was updated. As always, this biggest change looks to be Net Migration for Syria (Human Geography -> Demographics). Five years ago, there was a large negative flow out of Syria; now there is a relatively large inflow.

Net Migration –

There are now over 190 map layers in New layers include percentage of Improved Sanitation (Human Geography -> Society), percent of population working in Agriculture/Mining, Industry, and Service (Human Geography -> Economy), and updated Population Density map (Human Geography -> Population Density), and Median Age (Human Geography -> Demographics).

Left Canvas Agriculture/Mining (% of labor)
Right Canvas Service (% of labor)

In addition to new data, most of the thematic maps have new color gradients. Therefore, the maps, along with the legends, should be easier to process with new, more “modern”, colors.

Left Canvas Electricity – Renewable Resources (% of capacity)
Right Canvas Electricity – Nonrenewable Resources (% of capacity)

The most immediate impact on my classes will be the addition of population pyramids located with Median Age, Total Dependency Ratio, Youth Dependency Ratio, and Elderly Dependency Ratio within the Demographic dataset.

These 2018 population pyramids are being served from a CIA Factbook host, so hopefully the agency does not change there urls, but having population pyramids in the site is a dream come true for my own teaching and learning; considering much of the course I teach is based on the unequal distribution of goods, services, and people across Earth’s service.

Left Canvas Total Dependency Ratio
Right Canvas Median Age

Another change worth mentioning is the inclusion of a small source/credit tag under legends. has always had a source/credit in the description box associated with each layer, but I was never comfortable with users have to click the “I” icon at the top right of each canvas to see the source of the map or data.

Left Canvas Human Development Index 2000
Right Canvas Human Development Index 2018

There are also numerous spacing changes with the styling. I doubt anyone will notice the 3-pixel margin shifts, but as a self-described pixel snob these items were truly bugging me. It is similar to painting a house or bedroom. The painter knows all their mistakes; even though it is never noticeable to any guest.

3-Pixel Margin added to info-box.
Canvas CIA Factbook

Well back to my real job…I hope teachers and students continue to enjoy at least one of the over 18,000 correlations; developing a deeper understanding of people’s relationships with their world and each other.

If you are new to, here is a four-minute overview video of many of the functions already built into the site.

Decade of Google Geo EDU

“Free site dedicated to help teachers educate and engage students using Google Geo Tools”

The above has been my mission statement for about ten years now. I should probably change ‘site’ to ‘sites’, but will worry about that later. As I am finally getting around to backing up some old project files, I noticed two things. One, my files are an absolute mess. Two, I have used a lot of Google Geo Tools over this decade; primarily oscillating between Maps API, Google Earth, and more recently Earth Engine. A friend once asked if I could put everything in one place. Looking at my files today suggest this will be highly unlikely. I try to use this blog to showcase work I think other students and teachers will be interested in. That stated, I don’t have an index of post for Google’s Geo Tools. Therefore, below are my favorite posts and projects organized around Google Geo Tools.

Google Earth

The one that started it all. As some people know, I am a big fan of kml and Google Earth; often calling it my gateway technology.  With the web version of Google Earth, the future of this technology remains as current today as it was a decade ago.

Blog Posts

Explore, Create, Share with Google Earth Creation Tools: Overview of what is easy and possible with content creation tools. (Contains many of my current Google Earth Projects)

An Inclusive Earth: Include more student in more languages using Google Earth on Web.

Custom HTML Info Boxes: Google Earth Quiz Tutorial: Advanced tutorial for creating custom HTML info boxes for Google Earth on Web.

thanksgiving-fun-with-kml: Learn basic kml coding using ground overlays (oldy but goody).

RIP-Earth-API-Plugin: Not many people know, but used to run off a Google Earth API. Here is a post memorializing what used to be possible via this plugin. Great older videos in this one!

Old Side Projects | Archive

Philippines- Typhoon Haiyan ( Deprecated Earth API )

Google Maps API

My primary page,, is built using this platform. Originally created to just share maps with my students, the site now shares maps with thousands of students.

Blog Posts – layers: Quick overview of all the layers in circa 2016. Several additional layers have been added over the past three years.

#12MapComparisonsOfChristmas: Some of the many comparisons students can make with

Authoritative Bias of Maps: While not strictly a Maps API post, it is my first lesson of the year with a lot of maps fun.

Old Side Projects | Archive

Round Rock ISD mini-geteach (Class Project 2016):

Sense of Place Westwood High School (Class Project 2016, before Tour Creator:) click icons on map

Regional Issues Project 2015 (Click red markers on Map):

Homage to Maps Engine/Maps Gallery: Many people don’t remember that Google had an amazing curated library of datasets that could be imported into or opened within the gallery. That is before Google Deprecated the cool stuff. Some of the technology is still used with My Maps and I think Google Earth’s content creation. Those asset/map IDs look familiar;).

It was such a great lesson on level of aggregation/scale

Google Earth Engine

Earth Engine took awhile to grow on me. Mainly because I kept having to recreate so much with the combination of deprecating and new technologies. That, and I have a day job teaching high school. However, over the past year I’ve taken a couple of weekends to create a few projects.

Blog Posts

First(ish) Google Earth Engine Attempt: Reflection of my first true Earth Engine App visualizing 60 years of climate data.

Side Projects

Currently, I am putting all my Earth Engine Experiments (3 for now) here if people would like to use them in the classroom.

So there you go Jeff, A decade of projects using Google Geo Tools. Thanks for the suggestion!

Custom HTML Info Boxes: Google Earth Quiz Tutorial

It looks like Google Earth Web has stopped supporting onclick events. Therefore the code snippets from the videos have changed to utilize event listeners. After some thought, I am not going to recreate vs code extension. This GitHub repository is where all the latest html files reside.

I was super excited when the Google Earth team launched content creation tool for Google Earth on Web. Mainly because these tools allow students and teachers an easy way to explore, create, and share their stories; their knowledge. I was equally excited the Earth team created a platform that allowed for custom HTML within these creation tools. With custom HTML, users can create narrated tours, quizzes, video stories, timing animations, etc. However, custom HTML adds complexity which requires a little extra know-how.

On occasion I get asked to create tutorials on how I create some of these special HTML Earth projects like quizzes. I am hesitant to create these for several reasons. First, I am a high school social studies teacher and not a developer. Yes, I have created some cool (my subjective opinion) Google Earth projects and have a successful Google Maps API website, but that is just me goofing off while attempting to find ways to engage my students. Second, I have been wrestling with how to meet the needs of the greatest number of people. The classroom gives educators and learners the space to cycle through feedback loops; a learning flow. This format does not allow for this immediate and meaningful feedback.

With these in mind, I came up with this tutorial blog/video series for creating custom HTML Google Earth projects. 

The challenge:  Create a three question Google Earth Quiz; choosing Google Earth Quizzes for this series because a number of people have asked. 

The series is designed in seven parts. Experienced HTML creators can jump to Part IV, while people who have never created a simple web page may want to begin their journey from the start;  setting up a coding environment to creating a web page using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. That stated, if you can copy/paste you can create your own Google Earth Quiz. All the HTML and CSS templates will be on GitHub, so the entire process could be done in a day or two.

Enjoy creating and feel free to share. Please let me know if you would like more tutorials on custom HTML for Google Earth on Web. You can find me on twitter @geteach.

Part I Setting Up a Coding Environment

Challenge I:

For part I,  we will create a coding environment that matches the instructional videos. If you already have a text editor you like (ie. Notepad++ or BBEdit) you will be fine. My assumption is that you already know a little about coding, so you will be able to follow along.


  1. Install and learn to navigate Visual Studio Code
  2. Create Project Folder
  3. Create our first web page together



  • Text Editor (Editor)
  • Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) Structure
  • Tags
    • <head>
    • <title>
    • <body>

Challenge I: Video

Part II Install Visual Studio Code Extensions and Style New Web Page…Twice:)

Challenge II: 

In this challenge, we will install a couple of extensions in Visual Studio Code to make coding easier. In addition we will explore inline styling followed by cascading style sheets. 


  1. Install live server and rainbow tags vs code extensions
  2. Inline style our web page
  3. Create .css file and move the inline style to this file



  • Local Server
  • Tags
    • <div> block element
  • Styles
    • Background-color
    • Width
    • Height
    • color
  • Cascading Style Sheet (.css)
    • Class

Challenge II: Video

Part III Create Google Earth Custom HTML Info Box

Challenge III:

This video will demonstrate how to make a more complex webpage to insert into Google Earth on Web. We will go through the process of using a provided HTML template to create something custom.


  1. Finally(ish)…we are going to create our first complex custom HTML info box using Visual Studio Code!



  • Tags
    • Comment HTML <!– Comments go here –> ( Toggle using CTRL + / )
    • <p> (paragraph)
    • <img> (Empty Tag Images)
    • <a> (anchor link)

Challenge III: Video

Part IV Create Google Earth Custom HTML Question Info Box

Challenge IV:

It is time to take what we learned and ask some questions. For this challenge we will create/modify the custom HTML Question box template.


  1. Alright, Alright, Alright, Alight…Create three question panels for Google Earth!



Challenge IV: Video

Part V Create Google Earth Custom HTML Answer Info Box

Challenge V:

Now that we have created three question panels we need to create three response panels.


  1. Create custom html answer pages



  • Review style classes

Challenge V: Video

Part VI Create Initial Google Earth Quiz Project

Challenge VI:

Create a Google Earth Project with our question and answer panels.


  1. Create Google Earth Project
  2. Add Custom HTML panels to project
  3. Position camera for each question/answer feature.



  • Features (aka placemarks, paths, polygons)
  • Set camera view (snapshot)

Challenge VI: Video

Part VII The End – Add javascript for Table of Contents

Challenge VII:

Now that the custom HTML files are styled, it is time to add a little script to trick Google’s Table of Contents.


  1. Add Click(); event to show and flyto answers feature
  2. Add onwindows load event to hide all answers and flyto question features



  • javascript
  • Function
  • Fire event
  • window.onload
  • Show/hide
  • Flyto
  • Internal anchor links (<a>)
  • Click();

Challenge VII: Video