Skip to main content

I have recently been introduced to Google Earth (GE) Google Earth(not to be confused with Google Map). Google Earth is a Windows program that you download. You need a good processor and graphics card and a fast Internet Connection. It is a fantastic program. You can type in your address and you are "flown" right to your house (if Google has high-resolution images for your neighborhood). And you can see your house! You can then type an address from the other side of the country. You are flown back into space and "dropped off" right at the new address in a few seconds.

GE has a measuring tool that is very easy to use. With the high resolution images, it is easy to lay out a course. The meters show up with each mouse click.

I'm not implying that you measure the course --just lay it out. I used it recently to change the last 1.1 km of a course because of construction. Very slick.

There are several levels of GE. The lowest level is free. The others have a charge.
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

When I first heard of Google Earth I was hugely excited. Then I read the system requirements and saw that the program omitted Windows ME as an operating system - That's what I have on my five-year-old computer.

Is there any likelihood of trouble if I download the program and install it on my computer?

Later - I downloaded the program and tried to install it. It refused to do so, informing me that my operating system was not correct for the application. This toy may prompt me into a computer purchase.
Last edited by peteriegel
I have played with Google Earth for a couple months on several computers. I did purchase the $20 upgrade in order to save and print the maps as well as for downloading from my GPS. I did notice the program runs better on some computers than others. It's crashed several times on my PC at work (1.7 GHz Celeron processor, 376 MB of RAM, running Windows XP Pro SP2).

The maps have some gaps with areas outside of the US. For example, you won't find anything but ocean if you look for Trinidad and Tobago. Some areas of the US seem to have much better coverage than others. I can locate my home in the Boston area, but not my mother's in Twin Mtn, NH. Google Earth does appear to use the same set of maps that is avaiable online.

Example of

If you can find your location at, then you'll find it in greater detail on Google Earth.

Google Earth is a beta product and I expect some if its faults will be ironed out. I do enjoy using Google Earth (as do my children.) I used Google Earth to create images to help explain the marshal positions to the volunteers at the 2005 Tuft's 10K.

Volunteer Instructions for Tuft's 10K Marshals

Here's an example of the detail possible. It shows the course at the Charles Circle.

I'm not sure Google Earth can be used to create a map which replaces the traditional course map, but it might be used to explain the course to runners and race personnel. -- Justin
Last edited by justinkuo

Thanks for the posting with examples of how to use Google Earth. It is interesting that you had some problems with a 1.7 GHz Celeron and 376 MB of RAM. I am running on a slightly less powerful laptop: 1.2 GHz Celeron and 248 MB of RAM. It runs fine but did crash some in the early days when I gave it some poorly structured data.

My laptop is on its last legs. I'm looking forward to the arrival of my new, more powerful laptop.


Google Earth (GE) is very different than Google Maps (GM). (Be patient, there have been postings on the GE BBS requesting a Mac version.) GE is a very dynamic program. You can grab the maps with the mouse cursor and move around your vantage point. Zooming in and out is instantanous using the mouse scoll wheel. I'm sure the base information in GE is the same as in GM but the difference is that in GE the data is being streamed to you as you roam around the world.

But to really see the difference, you have to play with it. Although you are a Mac user, I happen to know that you DO use a PC to score races so maybe you should take a look.

I have also been fascinated with Google Earth and I have used some of the pictures for race courses. I'd like to know how you draw that line on the ge picture, and can you do that on the free version or do I have to order a better version for that?
I've used the maps to get elevations (but be careful because I've had some that don't come out right).
A slight disappointment has been that for some areas, although there's plenty of detail, it can be somewhat out of date. The area around the Pentagon has been rebuilt considerably but the picture shows everthing as it was a few years ago.
Bob Thurston

I am using the paid version because my client is paying. But my understanding is that you can draw the line on the free one Smiler. I told someone last week about it and he was using it already to rough out a course. He said it was particularly useful when he had to reroute the end of a course. It allowed him to experiment with different possibilities with Google Earth displaying the distance as you draw the line. (I assume he did the final laying out with a bike and didn't use the results from Google Earth.)

There are two kinds of lines: paths (which I have not used) and Measure. You can measure in miles, km, m, etc.
America’s Running Routes to serve as the largest searchable database of running routes in the U.S.


Contact: Tom Surber,Media Information Manager
USA Track & Field

Using cutting edge technology provided by Google Maps, USA Track & Field (USATF) has developed a revolutionary service, America's Running Routes, that allows runners to map and measure their favorite running routes and then save them to what will be the largest searchable database of running routes in the U.S.

America's Running Routes provides the running community with an array of functionality and shows USATF's continued commitment to offer runners of all ages and abilities information and services to enhance each running experience.

Ever wonder how far your run was? Just visit America's Running Routes, map out your run using satellite views, and the distance will be displayed, including mile markers along the route. Think others might enjoy your running route? Click the "save" button, and your route will be added to the database for others to enjoy.

America's Running Routes allows runners to search for routes in a particular city or to narrow their search to find running routes from hotels, parks, schools, trail heads, or running stores. Business travelers and vacationers can now find running routes near their hotel or other destination.

"We are excited about the ability to offer the 30 million runners in the U.S. this free service," states USATF CEO Craig Masback. "Just the other day I ran a new route from work, then was able to map it, measure it, and save it using America's Running Routes. Now others in Indianapolis, and those coming to Indianapolis for next year's USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, can run the same route and know that it is 3.3 miles."

To learn more about America's Running Routes, visit, and then click on the America's Running Routes icon.

America's Running Routes - Run It. Map It. Share It. - A Database of America's Running Routes
I just bought a new computer. Windows XP, 200 GB drive, Pentium 4 (2.93 GHz), 512 MB memory. The price was right, and it works like a champ on America's Running Routes (ARR) and Google Earth.

ARR is, in my view, a significant move by USATF to provide something solid for road runners. We have been doing this for years in RRTC, but have been pretty well under the radar on the USATF web site.

While the distance-measuring capability of ARR is not as accurate as bike measurement, it is plenty good enough for laying out ordinary routes for people to run, and a whole lot easier to use.

I think it's a huge step to the good.

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.