Search Google Earth
User Guide

Finding Places and Directions

Note - Not all language versions of Google Earth support all the features described on this page. Learn more here.

You can use the Google Earth Search panel to find places on the globe in the following ways:

This section covers basic search techniques using Google Earth. For more information on searches, see Managing Search Results.

Finding Addresses and Locations

Tip - Follow a tutorial on this subject: Searching for Locations and Businesses

You can search for specific locations using the Fly To tab in Google Earth. To do this, enter the location in the input box and click on the Search button.

Search button Search button

Each tab of the Search panel displays an example of a search term (see above). Google Earth recognizes the following types of search terms, which you can enter with or without commas.

spacer Format Example
City, State Buffalo, NY
City Country London England
  Number Street City State 1600 Pennsylvania Ave Washington DC
  Zipcode or Postal Code 90210
  Latitude, Longitude in decimal format 37.7, -122.2

Note that such coodinates must appear in this order (latitude, longitute).
  Latitude, Longitude in DMS format 37 25'19.07"N, 122 05'06.24"W or
37 25 19.07 N, 122 05 06.24 W

Note that format 37d25'19.07"N, 122d05'06.24"W does not work with Google Earth. Such coodinates must appear in this order (latitude, longitute).

Note: Currently, street-level searching is limited to certain countries. Learn more here.

The most recent search terms are saved in the search entry history (indicated by the small black triangle on the right of the search input).

See Managing Search Results for more information.

About Search Terms

Certain search terms are not currently recognized as locations in the Fly To tab. These include:

Tip: If you want to find a particular street in a city, you can enter the name of the street alone, and the search engine will display the top 10 matches for that street entry. For example, if you want to find Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, CA, you can enter the phrase Sunset Blvd Hollywood CA in the search field and the beginning of Sunset Boulevard will be displayed in the 3D viewer, along with the top 10 results for streets that contain the string Sunset in their name.

Searching for Listings

You can search for directory listings using the Find Businesses tab in Google Earth. To do this, enter your search term in the What input box and click on the Search button. The top 10 matching results are displayed in the current view. To target your search over a specific city, enter the name and state of the city in the Where input box. This returns the first 10 results from the center of that city outwards, searching web page information in that region.

You can also search for user-created content.

Search Methods

You can use a number of search methods, including:

When you use the Find Businesses feature, you are using Google Maps search to search a combination of Yellow Page listings along with web page information for that region. For example, you might search Shell Oil and see a result for an investment company with holdings in Shell Oil Co. and whose web site also references the term Shell Oil.

Your search terms for both What and Where are saved in the entry history (indicated by the small black triangle on the right of the search input). When you log out of Google Earth, the last 10 search entries are saved for the next session. This location search history is independent of the location search history for the Fly To search panel.

A Find Businesses search starts in a radius either from the center of the current view, or from the center of the location indicated in the Where input box. So, if you want to search for a movie theater close to a restaurant where you are having dinner, try entering the address of the restaurant in the Where input box when searching the term movie theater.

See Finding Addresses and Locations for example location searches and Managing Search Results for details on results.

Getting and Printing Directions

You can get and print directions to and from any placemark in the 3D viewer, or any place listed in the search results or available in the Places panel.

Getting Directions

Directions are available for a place or listing in the following ways:

The direction route is mapped in the the 3D view with a line indicating the route. See Getting and Printing Directions and Saving Directions for more information on how you can use the results of your directions search.

Note - Direction are not always available for locations that are far from roads.

Printing Directions

  1. Make sure that the driving directions you created are selected in the Directions tab.
  2. Click File > Print. The Print dialog box appears.
  3. Choose Driving Directions and click Print. Another Print dialog box appears.
  4. Choose the appropriate printing options and click Print. Google Earth prints driving directions that include images of intersections that require turns.

You can remove the directions from the 3D viewer by clearing the check box next to your directions summary, or by clearing the search results entirely. See Managing Search Results for more details.

Touring and Saving Directions

Once you have a route displayed in the 3D viewer, you can use the tour feature to "fly" the route in the 3D viewer, and you can save the directions to your My Places folder for later reference.

Touring the Route

Select the Route item at the end of the directions listing. Click the Play Tour button:

Play Tour button

The 3D viewer automatically starts the tour from the departure point, oriented in the correct direction as if you were flying over the route you have marked. The tour follows the route, stops at the end, and zooms out to encompass the entire route in the 3D viewer. See Touring Places for more information.

Touring the Route

Note - You can also display driving directions in an animated time sequence. To learn more, see Viewing a Timeline.

Saving Directions

When you get driving directions between two points, those directions are listed beneath the Search button in a folder that is expanded to show all the turning points along the route. You can save those directions to your My Places folder as follows:

  1. Scroll up on the results listing until you see the top folder that contains your directions. The folder is labeled with the To and From search words you entered.
  2. Collapse the folder by clicking on the minus icon. This helps provide a less cluttered appearance in your My Places listing, but is not necessary.
  3. Right-click (CTRL click on the Mac) on the folder and select Save to My Places from the pop-up menu. The folder is moved from the search listing window to your My Places folder. Because its appearance is collapsed before you save it, it also appears collapsed in your My Places folder. If you wish, you can save only individual route points to your My Places folder instead of the entire route.

Once you save the directions to your My Places folder, you can edit the folder and its placemarks in the same way you would any place data. See Editing Places and Folders for more information.

Showing and Hiding Points of Interest

The Layers panel holds an extensive list of points of interest (POIs) that you can turn on to display in the 3D viewer wherever you are. This listing includes:

Turn on a POI by checking it in the Layers panel. Turn off a POI by clearing the check box. You can also search for user-created content.

Note - To view all available POIs or layers, at the top of the Layers panel, beside View, be sure to choose All Layers.

You can interact with points of interest in the following ways:

Tip: You can deselect a parent POI category and thereby hide data for that category, including sub-categories. This is faster than turning off multiple sub-categories one-by-one.

For more information on points of interest and layers, see Using Layers.


If you are using Google Earth for the first time, this feature is a great introduction. A Sightseeing folder inside the My Places folder contains a number of points of interest already marked on the earth for you to explore. To view them, expand the folder and double-click on one of the entries. The 3D viewer flies to that location.

Tip - If you are upgrading to Google Earth from a previous version, you can access the Sightseeing folder by opening the default_myplaces.kml file located in the Google Earth installation folder, as follows:
  1. Click File > Open. A dialog box appears. Use the dialog box to navigate to the folder where Google Earth is installed. If you installed Google Earth using the default method, look in Program Files > Google > Google Earth for the application.
  2. Select the default_myplaces.kml file and click Open. A second My Places folder appears in the Temporary Places folder.
  3. Expand this second My Places folder to view the Sightseeing folder within. If you wish, you can drag the sightseeing items to your original My Places folder if you want them to appear the next time you start Google Earth. Or, simply right-click (CTRL click on the Mac) on any place you want to save and select Save to My Places from the pop-up menu.

You can also tour places in the Sightseeing folder as you would any placemark. See Touring Places.

Viewing a Location in Google Maps

To display the current view in Google Maps in your web browser, do one of the following:

Searching for User-Created Content

You can search for content (KML) created by other Google Earth and Maps users. To do this:

  1. Navigate to the appropriate location on the globe (e.g. San Francisco).
  2. In the Search panel, click the Fly to tab. Enter an appropriate search term (e.g. "mexican food").
  3. To view user-created content, scroll to the bottom of the search results in the Search panel. Check the Web results folder. User-created content appears in the 3D viewer with blue markers User created content marker.
  4. Click any blue marker to learn or view more information.

Note - You can view additional user-created content by checking the Google Earth Community layer.

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