TCLT6 Workshop. Columbus, Ohio. USA.  2010-06-14

Using Google Earth and Google Maps for task-based activities and cultural knowledge

(Last updated: 2010-06-09. Also available at

Jun Da (笪骏)
Middle Tennessee State University

1. Target audience

This tutorial is intended for those who are interested in using Google Maps and Google Earth for Chinese language teaching and learning. No prior knowledge about either application is required.

2. Objectives

In this tutorial, you are going to learn the basic skills of using Google Maps and Google Earth, which include

  1. how to create customized maps in both applications; and
  2. how to share your customized maps with others.

3. Before you start

It is suggested that you set up an account on to make full use of the different functions of Google Maps/Google Earth.

4. Using Google Maps

4.1 What is Google Maps

Lars Rasmussen: Google Maps is "a way of organizing the world's information geographically". (c.f.

4.2 Google maps for different Chinese speaking communities

4.3 How to create a customized map in Google Maps

  1. Sign in at => Click on 'My maps' => Create new map
  2. Within the map itself, click on the 'Placemark' icon to add a point of interest and the 'Lines' icon to draw walking/driving route. Add your own annotations when prompted.
  3. When you are done, save your map.

4.4 How to share your customized maps

5. Using Google Earth

5.1 What is Google Earth

A stand-alone desktop application with more extended features than Google Maps.

5.2 Download, install and setup

  1. Download from and install on your computer;
  2. Set the language to use: Tools => Options => General => Language settings

5.3 Using Google Earth

5.4 Share your map data

Your map data can be saved as .kml/kmz files and shared with others.

6. Ideas for using Google Maps and Google Earth for CFL teaching