Finger Touring

Don't let Covid stop you seeing distant places. Whilst nothing like the experience of actually being 'there', Google Earth and other sources can show you the riches and beauty without any travel expenses, long boring flights, crowds of tourists etc. This page has some links to get you started.

Google Earth

Google Earth is a fascinating system that you can spend hours on. Current versions are:

  • Google Earth Online using the Chrome, Firefox or the new Edge browser on a computer. I strongly suggest you check this guide out first and familiarise yourself with the controls.

  • Google Earth Pro which you download and install on a computer. For all the features to work you still need to be online anyway.

  • Google Earth App for tablets and phones which you download from the Google Play / Apple App stores and then use this guide

Some suggested places to visit:

  • International Space Station. Check out the Cupola for a view of earth as the astronauts see it. Rotate around to see inside. Do check out the different places using the 'Table of Contents' on the Information Card. It sure is a mess of wires, hoses, cables and 'stuff'. Yet to find a toilet!

  • Great Barrier Reef. Rather boring until you click the little Street View man and then a blue dot or line on the screen. Try the ones on Knife Reef for underwater 3D views.

  • Mount Everest. Note how the mountains are all rendered in 3D - very clever. They have only done this for popular sites, many city centres and popular tourist places. Seems like nobody has posted a 3D view (the little blue dots and lines) from the top yet and the closest ones seem to be near the base camp.

  • Machu Picchu. The mountains are in 3D but not the buildings. Still there are plenty of 3D views - Just click the Street View man and then a blue dot or line. In the section below there is a very good 3D YouTube video of Machu Picchu

  • Nevada Test Site seems like 'nothing to see here', however zoom in to the valley to the right of it and you will see the round craters from various explosions. It is where the US carried out a lot of nuclear testing and there are actually tours of the site now. The largest crater is the Sedan Crater which is at about the 2 o'clock position from the red pin on the screen. The crater is 390m wide and 100m deep and the explosion blew our 12 million tons of earth. The testing site was in the Pacific ocean and the radioactive remains are buried under Runit Dome at Enewatak Atoll. The dome is the white circle adjacent the water filled crater.

  • Airplane Boneyard Tucson Arizona, the biggest in the world. Again it doesn't seem much until you zoom in a bit and see row after row of aircraft all neatly lined up awaiting scrapping, or sometimes recovered.

  • Canterbury Cathedral has very good 3D rendering of both it and the township - definitely worth an explore. Click the Street View man and then any of the blue dots on top of the cathedral to go inside and have a look around - example.

  • Garden City Kansas - zoom a bit and check out the large number of green and brown circles - they are all centre pivot irrigation. Try using the ruler command at the bottom of the left side menu to measure the size of some of them. Some of them cover an area of 1.6 km diameter. The water for them is taken from the Ogallala aquifer, one of the worlds largest, however its water level has dropped by 90 metres in some places. Worth having a read about.

  • Ivanpah Solar Power is in the Mojave desert in California. It occupies 16 square kms and uses 173,500 mirrored heliostats, each 7 square meters. Unfortunately birds are attracted by the intense brightness of the tower.

  • Panama Canal, Panama, one of the major engineering wonders of the world. The story of its building and operation is both fascinating and brutal as it cost about 25,000 lives in its building. New locks have been build to accommodate the new 'Panamax' size container ships. At the Miraflores Locks end it is next to 3 rectangular dams. Try clicking the blue dot and looking around and up to get an idea of just how big these new locks are. There are quite a few YouTube videos about it - this is one on its building. Fantastic engineering with the machinery they had

  • Niagara Falls - Plenty of 3D features and plenty of blue dots to click on and look around. Including from boats with plenty of wet weather gear.

Interesting websites.

These are just a few places you can visit on the internet that I found interesting (and had mostly not heard about)

The Red Monastery is a Coptic Orthodox monastery named after an Egyptian saint called Pishay. It is located near the Upper Egyptian city of Souhag.

5 Egypt heritage sites

Tomb of Queen Meresankh III was the daughter of Hetepheres II and Prince Kawab and a granddaughter of the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu.

Tomb of Menna is located in Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, part of the Theban Necropolis, on the west bank of the Nile, opposite Luxor

Ben Ezfa Synagogue sometimes referred to as the El-Geniza Synagogue is situated in Old Cairo, Egypt. According to local folklore, it is located on the site where baby Moses was found.

Mosque Madrassa of Sultan Barquq is a religious complex in Islamic Cairo, the historic medieval district of Cairo, Egypt

Smithsonian Virtual Travel is an online magazine with plenty of links to famous places and 3D tours of them.

3D Dogsled ride Hop in the basket and take a ride on a dog sled in Fairbanks Alaska. Alaska’s four-legged athletes love to run and accessing Alaska’s state sport—dog mushing—has never been easier. Scenery is basically snow and trees

Northern Lights in Norway 360 degree time lapse video that you scroll around in

Northern Lights Relaxation Sections of it are played in real time so you can truly see how awe inspiring these lights are. Best played on a BIG TV with a nice sound system and fine wine. Stunning light show and if this show, music and wine doesn't relax you then nothing will. It goes for 2 hours!!

Carnival of Venice 360 degree video. Italy is the motherland of carnivals and one of the cities that first held these colorful celebrations is Venice. Later on the idea of carnivals spread out through the world. Nevertheless, Venice still remains one of the most famous places for such beautiful events. Very well done video.

Helicopter ride to the active Kamchatka Volcano. A National Geographic 360 deg video - very well done

Journey into the Deep Sea is another National Geographic 360 deg video with great exploring of coral reefs. Swim with manta rays, sea turtles, and sharks while you explore beautiful and threatened coral ecosystem.

One Strange Rock is a 360 degree tour of the International Space Station. Another National Geographic video and very well done.

Patagonia is a rugged place on the bottom of South America shared by Argentina and Chile - another 360 degree video

Expedition to the heart of an active volcano is an adventure that's also part scientific exploration, a group of climbers attempt to descend into an active volcano to get as close as possible to the spitting lava lake. Be a part of the expedition in this 360° video.

Ancient City of Petra in Jordan and dating back the the 2nd millennium BC.

If you like these 360 degree videos and want more then simply search on Youtube for '360 virtual tour' (or just click this link)

Some other interesting videos and sites to check are:

Google Arts and Culture is a site with all sorts of stuff and places to visit.

Machu Picchu 360 photos with a tour guide

Budapest after WWII and now. Very clever photography and alignment - just click each photo to see the difference.