6.2 – Installing and Exploring Weather Applications on Google Earth

Google Earth should be opened, spinning slowly to show what Google Earth looks like before installing Weather Aps!

Session Overview
In this session, participants will learn what Google Aps are, how to install them, and have time to explore the aps to get their mind working on potential uses for the applications to enhance the study of weather in their classroom.

Focusing Questions
What are weather aps for Google Earth?
How can I download, install, and use Weather Aps with Google Earth?

The following materials are used in this session:
- Laptops
- Projector
- Google Earth
- Weather Applications

The following resources are used in this session:
Weather Tracking Tools Network Link: http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2006/07/weather_and_sto.html
Pilot World-Wide Weather - http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2006/02/pilot_worldwide.html


Framing the Session
"In the last session, we learned a little about Google Earth. As you found out in the last session, there are a lot of interesting functions that are built into Google Earth which will allow you to teach many different lessons. In this session, we are going to learn how to download, install, and explore the functions of Weather Aps for use in Google Earth.

"Watch me as I show you how to download some cool Weather Aps for Google Earth. The process is very similar for both the PC and the Mac platforms. When there is a difference that needs to be shown, I will make sure to let you know the difference.

"First, let’s make sure we understand the task panes on Google Earth. As you see, one of the task panes is labeled Places. Inside the Places task pane, click on My Places to select it for manipulation. Right click My Places and select add and add folder. Once the folder pops up in the My Places folder, rename it Weather Aps. Quickly look at the bottom of this task pane and find the “Temporary Places Folder. We are not going to do anything with it yet, but I want to make sure you know where it is.

"Now we are going to toggle back to the resource section listed on the participant agenda. Find the list of hyperlinks in the resource list. Even though there is a big list of links, I am going to show you how to download and install just the first one, Google Weather Aps. Click on the first hyperlink and follow it to the appropriate web page on Google Earth Blog. If the hyperlink does not work, cut and paste it into your browser until you reach the Google Earth Blog.

"We will be clicking on the hyperlink in the middle of the paragraph entitled "weather and tracking tools network link". When we do this, a series of overlays will be downloaded into your My Places folder in the Places task pane. It will include a global hurricane tracking tool, global cloud maps, severe weather warning data and radar data from NOAA for the US, weather observations for the US from WeatherBonk, a real-time day/night viewing tool, and the global annual lightning flash rate map from NASA. As you can see, this is a pretty powerful application to add to Google Earth.

"This is where the two platforms begin to differ. I will discuss the PC format first, then the MAC format."

The next set of instructions is for the PC format:

1. Click on the hyperlink Weather and Tracking Tools Network.

2. Find the Weather folder you created earlier and click on the box to extend the folder open.

3. After the application has been downloaded, find the application in the Temporary Places folder.

4. Single click on the applications in the Temporary Places folder and drag them to the Weather Folder. If you do not move them to this folder, they will not be lost. Don’t worry, when you go to close the program, it will ask you if you want to save the items in the temporary folder but it won’t file them for you. Take a few minutes to move them into your folder so we can keep ourselves - and our students - organized.

5. That’s it! Now, starting with all the boxes unmarked, click the boxes next to each application one at a time to turn it on and off and see what it does.

The next set of instructions is for the MAC platform:

1. Click on the hyperlink Weather and Tracking Tools Network.

2. While the applications are downloading, find the folder you created earlier entitled Weather Aps and open it by double clicking.

3. Your download will download wherever you have your computer set up to download items. It is probably on your desktop. Find the application that you just downloaded. Installing it is really easy for the Mac!

4. Open your Google Earth program and shrink it just enough so you can see your spinning Earth. Find your downloaded aps file and drag it and drop it right on top of the spinning Earth. The applications will automatically be installed into your Temporary Places folder in Places.

5. Click on the Aps and drag them to your opened Weather folder and drop them into the Open folder. If the folder isn’t open, it will be difficult to drop the files in.

6. That’s it! Now, by clicking the box next to each application you can turn the application on and off and see what it does.

Guided Practice
"Now it is your turn to try it. Follow the directions that we just went over and create a folder in your My Places task pane. Once you created a folder, name is "Weather Aps". Now that we have created a folder, we can move on to downloading and exploring different weather aps."


Getting Started
"Take the next 30 minutes to follow the hyperlinks to the different Weather Aps and see which ones interest you. Download at least the first two sets of weather aps on the resource list following the steps that were shown to you. Then explore the power of the different applications and think about what you can do with them in your classroom. At the end of the session we will come back together and share."

Participant Activity

Step 1 – In the resource section of your agenda, click on the first two hyperlinks and download them according to the directions listed.

Step 2 – Move the files from the Temporary Places folder to the opened Weather Aps folder.

Step 3 – Click on the different aps to see what they do on Google Earth. Explore each application and think about what you could do with this in the classroom. Add ideas to your Weather Idea Document from the previous lesson.

Step 4 – If time permits, click on the other hyperlinks and download and explore more weather aps that you might use.

Facilitator Conferring
Circulate around the room and confer with participants. If participants finish early, suggest they download and install some of the other weather applications.

Take note of particularly good examples of work that can be presented during the Share.


Ask selected participants to share different ideas they have for how they would use the different downloads in their science/weather unit. Lead a discussion about how these ideas tie into and bridge back to the focusing questions.


Author: Robert McDougall
Email: rmcdougall@schools.nyc.gov
School/Employer: IS 195, New York City Department of Education
Title: 6th Grade Teacher