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Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures: Unique Experiences in Costa Rica Tour Packages

Costa Rica is a destination that offers much more than just sun, sand, and surf. With its diverse landscapes, rich biodiversity, and vibrant culture, this Central American gem has become a popular choice for travelers seeking unique and off-the-beaten-path adventures. If you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica, consider booking a tour package that allows you to explore the hidden treasures of this beautiful country. In this article, we will highlight some of the unique experiences you can expect in Costa Rica tour packages.

Immersive Rainforest Treks

One of the highlights of any Costa Rica tour package is the opportunity to explore its lush rainforests. Unlike traditional tourist trails, these immersive rainforest treks take you deep into the heart of nature, where you can discover hidden waterfalls, encounter exotic wildlife, and witness breathtaking vistas. Whether it’s hiking through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve or exploring the Osa Peninsula’s Corcovado National Park, these immersive rainforest treks offer an up-close and personal experience with nature that will leave you in awe.

During your trek through the rainforest, knowledgeable guides will educate you about the local flora and fauna while sharing fascinating insights about conservation efforts in Costa Rica. You may have the chance to spot elusive creatures such as sloths, monkeys, toucans, and colorful tropical birds. The sights and sounds of the rainforest will transport you to a world far removed from your everyday life.

Volcano Expeditions

Another unique experience offered by Costa Rica tour packages is exploring its active volcanoes. The country is home to several impressive volcanoes such as Arenal Volcano and Poás Volcano – both offering thrilling adventures for travelers seeking an adrenaline rush.

Arenal Volcano is one of Central America’s most active volcanoes and provides an incredible backdrop for hiking, zip-lining, and even enjoying a relaxing soak in volcanic hot springs. You can take guided hikes to explore the lava fields and learn about the geological history of the area. For those seeking a more adventurous experience, ziplining through the lush rainforest with stunning views of the volcano is an absolute must.

If you’re looking for a unique sightseeing experience, Poás Volcano offers an opportunity to witness one of the world’s largest active craters. The hike to the crater offers breathtaking views of the surrounding cloud forest and a chance to learn about the volcano’s history and its impact on Costa Rica’s ecosystems.

Cultural Immersion in Indigenous Communities

Costa Rica tour packages also provide opportunities for cultural immersion by visiting indigenous communities. These communities have preserved their traditions, customs, and way of life for centuries despite modernization.

Visiting an indigenous community allows you to learn about their unique culture, traditional practices, and artisanal crafts. You may have the chance to participate in hands-on activities such as traditional cooking classes or crafting traditional handicrafts alongside community members.

By interacting with locals, you gain a deeper understanding of Costa Rica’s cultural diversity and contribute directly to sustainable tourism initiatives that support these communities. This cultural exchange fosters mutual respect and appreciation while creating unforgettable memories.

Coastal Exploration

No trip to Costa Rica is complete without exploring its stunning coastline. From pristine beaches lined with coconut palms to rugged cliffs overlooking crashing waves, Costa Rica’s coast is a haven for nature enthusiasts.

Tour packages often include visits to lesser-known coastal destinations where you can enjoy activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, or even surfing lessons. These off-the-beaten-path coastal towns offer a more authentic experience away from crowded tourist hubs.

Whether it’s spotting sea turtles nesting on remote beaches or taking a boat tour through mangrove forests teeming with wildlife, coastal exploration in Costa Rica will leave you in awe of the country’s natural beauty.

In conclusion, Costa Rica tour packages offer unique and off-the-beaten-path adventures that go beyond the typical tourist experience. From immersive rainforest treks to volcano expeditions, cultural immersion in indigenous communities, and coastal exploration, these packages allow you to discover the hidden gems of this beautiful country. So if you’re seeking a truly unforgettable travel experience, consider booking a tour package to Costa Rica and embark on an adventure like no other.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


google earth record tour along path

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Record & play tours

These instructions are for Google Earth Pro. Get help with Google Earth for Web and Mobile.

You can use Google Earth 5 and up on your computer to record a tour of the world that you can share with others.

  • Open Google Earth.

and then

  • Click Touring .
  • Time Between Features: how fast the viewer flies to each location
  • Wait at Features: how long the tour stops at each location
  • Fly along lines: follow a specific flight path
  • Show balloons when waiting at features: place a balloon at each site when the tour pauses
  • Camera Tilt Angle: perspective you’d like people to see the location from
  • Camera Range: how much of the location or site they can see
  • Speed: overall speed of the tour
  • Speed: how fast the tour runs overall
  • Seconds Between Key Frames: length of a pause between images
  • Left to create a "Smaller File."
  • Right to create a "Higher Fidelity" file (higher quality and takes up more memory).

Record a tour


  • Navigate to each place you want to visit or go to the left-hand panel under "Places" and click a placemark to fly to that location.
  • In the lower right corner, a media player will appear and your tour will start playing.


  • In the box that opens, enter a title in the "Name" field.
  • To add more info about the tour, use the Description and View tabs.

Find out how to narrate your tours or create KML tours .

Need more help?

Try these next steps:.

Week 9: Googling Around

On this page, the record a tour button, follow a path, from a collection of placemarks, using google earth, taking a tour in google earth.


Creating Your Own Tour


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Earth Outreach

Creating a narrated tour in google earth desktop, tutorial contents, prerequisites, let's get started, create a kml tour, re-record a tour to add new actions, recording narration, tips & tricks for touring, discussion and feedback, what's next.

Absolutely no programming skills needed!

In April 2017, Google Earth on Web was released, which puts Earth on the browser. However, for this tutorial, you will need Earth for Desktop installed on your computer. Download the latest version here .

Open Google Earth.

Download the sample data to use during this tutorial, and open it in Google Earth.

For this exercise, make the Terrain layer visible. Go to the Layers panel , and scroll to the bottom. Check the box next to Terrain to make it visible.

Now, let's record a tour!

google earth record tour along path

The tour recording tools appear in the lower-left corner of the 3D viewer:

google earth record tour along path

Create your tour by flying, zooming, panning, and rotating the globe. Do what you would do if you were showing your Google Earth project to a user or audience in person. A 3D Space Navigator, like the one created by 3D Connexion , can be extremely helpful for navigating smoothly across the globe.

Double-click on placemarks in the Places panel to move to their unique camera angle or view. In this example, double-click on the placemark 'Flirt', then 'Patti', and so on. You can also pop placemark balloons and turn on and off your placemarks, paths and polygons in the Places panel.

google earth record tour along path

To save your KML Tour, click the Save to File button in the Tour Player, and give your KML Tour a name.

google earth record tour along path

It is then stored in the Places panel.

google earth record tour along path

To save it to a permanent .kmz file, right-click the tour in your Places panel, choose Save Places As… , and save your .kmz file to a location on your computer.

If you used content in your tour (clicked on placemarks, popped balloons, etc), you must put that content along with the tour into a single folder, and save that entire folder as a KMZ. Otherwise the file will have the tour only, and no content.

Want to add more actions to your tour? You can modify and extend a previous tour by re-recording a new tour while playing back the original tour.

Make sure your original tour is in the Places panel.

google earth record tour along path

You can pause the original tour, add some new actions or camera movements, and then un-pause/play the original tour to continue. Note: if you move the earth during the pause of the original tour, when you hit play on the original tour the camera will jump to the where the original tour left off.

Once the original tour is done playing back, since you are still recording a new tour, you can continue to add new actions or even start playing back another tour!

To see what a completed tour looks like, download the finished product here

google earth record tour along path

Audio recorded through your microphone is captured as an .mp3 file that is saved with the tour when you save it as a KMZ file.

Make sure when saving a Tour with audio narration to set the 'Save as Type' option in the Save window to KMZ, otherwise the audio will not be included in your file.

  • When adding an iteration to an existing tour, you can click and hold on a location on the globe (i.e. building, mountaintop, etc.), and the camera will stay on that location, swiveling around it. When you un-click from that location, the previously recorded tour will continue as before.
  • Navigation through time is captured in the tour, so if you drag the time slider while recording a tour, any actions that cause changes in the 3D viewer (appearing/disappearing points, animations, etc) will be recorded. For example, if you have Historical Imagery turned on (link), or have a time-animated KML in My Places, try recording a tour and also manipulating the time slider (in the upper left of the 3D map view). This allows you to make tours of time-animated layers, like the Declan Butler Avian Flu map, and also showing historic imagery from different time periods.
  • KML Touring allows for more advanced actions than can be recorded by the simple Add Tour feature in Google Earth. This includes dynamically moving placemarks, lines and 3D models, adding pauses to the tour, and changing the styles of your features during the tour. However, you will need to hand-edit the KML to create these actions. Please see the Touring in KML documentation on the KML documentation site for more information.

Have questions about this tutorial? Want to give us some feedback? Visit the Google Earth Help Community to discuss it with others.

See all tutorials .


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Create an HD Fly-Through Video Tour in Google Earth Pro

In January, Google decided to make Google Earth Pro free for everyone —that means we can all make use of features that previously cost $400 a year, and one of those features is the ability to record HD video of your tours. From floating along the Grand Canyon to zooming into your local neighborhood, here's how to record your own fly-throughs using the software.

First of all you need to download the Google Earth Pro software to your system. When you get to the login dialog, which pops up right away, enter your email address as your username and GEPFREE as the license key. You should then be into Google Earth Pro and all its features, including HD video tours.

Recording movies

There are a few different ways to approach this: The most straightforward is to click Tools , then Movie Maker , then Create Movie . The software then records all of the movements you make, in real time, until you click the Stop Recording button. Use the keyboard and mouse to move around, and your movements are recorded, it's as simple as that (the arrow keys, plus Shift and Ctrl/Cmd cover most of the navigation).

The Live mouse and keyboard navigation option needs to be checked in the Movie Maker dialog if you want to create fly-throughs in this way. Other options enable you to set the video quality (up to 1920 x 1080 HD), the video format, and the video file output location. When the recording is finished, you can view it straight away.

Creating tours

If you want to plan your fly-through in advance, you need to create a tour. You'll see the A saved tour option in the Movie Maker dialog. This is easily done: Head to all of the places you want to include en route, and set a placemark at each one via the Add Placemark button on the toolbar. It helps if you keep them organized in a single folder, and you can untick the placemarks if you don't want the yellow pins to be visible in your video.

Then, select the Record a Tour button on the toolbar. Click on the record button that pops up (hide the program's Tour Guide panel if you can't see it) and double-click each of your placemarks in turn at your own pace. Hit the record button again, and your tour is created. Use the floppy disc icon to save it, and it will become available in the Movie Maker dialog. as well as the sidebar to the left.

You don't have to stick to the placemarks—the tour will record any manual movements you make with the keyboard and the mouse too—but it's a simple way of jumping between particular points and views that you find interesting. The more placemarks you use, the more control you have over each step and camera position of your finished fly-through.

Tour settings

So, you can record your video freestyle, or use a preset tour, or even launch the recording in manual mode and then pick from your placemarks as you go along—it's up to you. The software also lets you create tours from paths (such as driving routes). Your finished recording will be in the specified location for you to use as you wish.

There are a few more options available if you click Tools and then Options (it's under Google Earth and Preferences on a Mac), then open up the Touring tab. You can set how quickly the tour moves between different points, and how long it waits before moving on, as well as various other features.

Google Earth Pro is a complex piece of software and there's a lot to explore, but those are the basics of recording fly-throughs. You can now experiment with tours, placemarks, paths and lines as you wish to get the best results. The audio button (on the record tour pop-up) lets you add a narration via your computer's microphone if you want to talk your viewers through the action. Check out the Help Center for more pointers.

google earth record tour along path

Create a Flight Path for your Google Earth Movie

You should be familiar with Google Earth Pro navigation controls before you create your Google Earth movie. If you've not read and done the steps in Create Google Earth Movies for your Listings -​Part 1 and Create Google Earth Movies for your Listings -​Part 2 , please do it now.

In Part 1 and Part 2 you learned how to create a basic Google Earth movie for your listing. In this installment, we'll add to those basic steps to create an even more animated aerial view. We're going to show you how to create a path and then fly the camera along that path. You can use this technique to highlight nearby features (ie. Lake, river, golf course, etc) or simply to show the best route to reach the property. Let's get started!

google earth record tour along path

Be sure you are using Google Earth Pro and you've signed in (sign in button is at top right).

google earth record tour along path

You should already have a placemark set at the listing address. If not, search using the listing address and create one. Ensure that this placemark is the only one active.

Use the Navigation Controls to zoom in above your placemark. Keep the altitude high enough so that you can see plenty of the area around your placemark but not too high. You want to be able to see the starting point of your path and the placemark. See the sample below.

Now's the time to plan your path. Are there any local features you want to fly over? Do you want to follow a main street or road and then turn off toward your placemark? Or just create a path that will take you to the front of the home. Use your imagination!

Here's an example of one that I wanted to highlight the lake and golf course.

google earth record tour along path

Before we create our path, let's look at a few settings that you'll need adjust before flying your path.

a. From the menu, select Tools > Options

b. Go to the Touring tab: I recommend that you use these settings to begin with. If you want to play around with the settings later, please feel free. Be sure to save your settings by clicking OK or Apply.

google earth record tour along path

c. Now go to the Navigation tab and set those settings.

google earth record tour along path

d. Click OK to save your changes. Please note that you only have to do this one time, Google Earth Pro will keep these settings until you change them again.

Now let's create our Path!

google earth record tour along path

From the Menu, select Add > Path. Tip: if Path is grayed out it indicates that there is an operation such as Recording or Play Tour that is still open. When you close it, the Path option will be clickable.

For the Name, enter the listing address (or whatever you want to call it).

The starting point of your path must be a distance away from the first thing you want your viewers to see. That's because the camera is not pointing straight down but at an angle. Remember that you can change the camera angle by going to Tools > Options.

Move your mouse pointer to the starting point of your path. The mouse pointer will be a square crosshair. Let's assume your path will start out as a straight line. Click once to set the first anchor point. Move your mouse to where you want to start a curved path and click again. You should now have a straight line for your path. You can click on an anchor point and drag it to a different spot if you need to. From this point, move your mouse slightly until the pointer changes back to a crosshair. You can click and drag your mouse to draw your curved path. When you get to the end of the path, release. If want to re-do the path at this point, just click Cancel and start over. Tips: use sweeping curves and/or straight lines for your path. I don't recommend sharp turns.

We need to set our flight path altitude. You are still on the Path properties, click the Altitude tab. Instead of Clamped to ground, select Relative to ground and then set the altitude (in meters) to 300. Of course you can play around with the altitude until you get the view you like. 300M is a good starting point.

Now hide your flight path by clicking the Style,Color tab and set the Opacity to 0%.

Save your Path by clicking OK.

You're ready to fly! Click on the Path entry you just created and then click the Play Tour button.

google earth record tour along path

Here's what it looks like:

Notice when you click the Play Tour button how the camera is re-positioned at the starting point of the path facing forward. Tip: you can stop the flight at any point by simply clicking anywhere on the scene. You could also transition to the placemark by double clicking it in the menu.

If you want to change the flight path, I've found that it's easier just to delete it and create a new one.

The flight path is just one part of a movie. To make the Google Earth movie interesting to your viewers, you must include several moving parts. Here's an example that uses several techniques to capture attention. This one starts from outer space but you could start at an altitude that shows the entire city and surrounding areas.

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google earth record tour along path

Google Earth Tutorial: Tours

Geobrowser's profile photo

The following are notes on my GTI presentations on how to create Tours in Google Earth. If you have questions please add a reply to this post and I will respond as soon as I can (if someone else doesn’t answer first!) - JB (1) What is a Google Earth Tour?

A Google Earth Tour is an option that allows a user to record their navigation in GE’s 3D browser as a KML file that can be played/saved. This is NOT a multimedia video file, i.e., it can’t be played outside of Google Earth (or similar software that recognizes the same code).

(2) Playing Google Earth Tours

When a tour file is generated or opened, the following control bar appears in the bottom left corner of the 3D browser window:

google earth record tour along path

The left-hand buttons allow the user to rewind, play/pause, forward the tour.

The slider and counter show progression along the tour. It can be used to “jump” to any portion of the tour. The right-hand buttons allow for play-looping and saving the current tour as a KML file. The latter is necessary if a tour has just been recorded using the Google Earth interface  because it is not automatically “saved”.

(3) Generating Automated Tours

The simplest method to generate a tour uses previously created Point-Placemarks or Paths. These items can be highlighted in the sidebar and then a play button at the bottom of Places pressed (see red circles in images below):

google earth record tour along path

Pressing the play button will generate a tour that jumps from Placemark to Placemark (or any other KML object in an active folder) until it reaches the snapshot view of that Placemark. Depending on the preferences set, the tour might pause at that location for a set time and/or open a description balloon. It them jumps to the snapshot view of the next Placemark.

Example: FlyingTour.kml

It is not necessary for the Placemark to be visible for the tour to work.

To adjust preferences:

         Tools -> Options -> Touring (on PC)

Under When creating a tour from a folder the following can be set:

- Time Between Features (how quickly the tour flies from snapshot view to snapshot view) - Wait at Features (how long the tour stays at a given snapshot view before moving on) - Show balloon when waiting at features (when the tour reaches a KML object, the description balloon will appear if it exists and this box is checked)

google earth record tour along path

Pressing the play button will create a tour that drives along a line. It is not necessary for the Path to be visible for the tour to work.

Example:  DrivingTour.kml

         Google Earth -> Preferences -> Touring (on Mac)          Tools -> Options -> Touring (on PC)

Under When creating a tour from a line the following can be set:

- Camera Tilt Angle (angle of tour viewpoint relative to nadir; 0 degrees looks directly down) - Camera Range (distance between path and tour viewpoint) - Speed (the relative speed of the tour)

(4) Generating Freeform Tours

Although simple to generate, freeform forms are restrictive in the forms of movement possible and the fact that the preferences settings apply universally, e.g., either all balloons open on a flying tour, or none.

However, tours can also be created with all navigation and visibility of features/balloon under the user’s control

The three simplest methods to start recording a freeform tour are:

(i) Use the menus (Add -> Tour)

(ii) Click on the icon (videocamera) in the toolbar

(iii) Right-click on the folder in the Sidebar and select Add -> Tour

Two buttons and counter will then appear in the bottom left corner of the 3d browser. When the left red dot (left-hand) button is pressed recording is started all navigation within the 3D browser is recorded.

Pressing the microphone (right-hand) button will recording sound (through a built-in or external microphone) in addition to the navigation in GE.

To stop recording press the left-hand (now red with white dot) button. The play controls described in section 2 now appear. Note: At this point the tour can be saved using the button with a floppy disc icon; it will not automatically be saved .

  • Keyhole Markup Language
  • Español – América Latina
  • Português – Brasil
  • Tiếng Việt

Touring in KML

Table of contents, introduction, the structure of a tour, tour timelines, flyto and flytomode.

  • Pausing and waiting

Adding sound

Toggling description balloons, incorporating historical imagery, known issues.

New in Google Earth 5.0, touring enables controlled flights through geospatial data, including:

  • specific flight durations between locations
  • smooth flight past locations, without stopping
  • playing sound files at predefined times during the tour
  • temporary updates to KML features within the bounds of the tour

For more information about tours from a Google Earth client point-of-view, please refer to the Google Earth User Guide .

Google's extension namespace

The KML elements that define tours are contained within a set of extensions to the OGC KML standard , using the gx prefix. To use them, you must include the correct namespace URI in the opening <kml> element in your KML file:

The touring-related elements in the gx extension set include:

Touring is supported in Google Earth 5.0 , but may not be supported in other geo-browsers. If your browser doesn't support particular extensions, the data in those extensions should be silently ignored, and the rest of the KML file should load without errors.


tour primitive : one of a set of elements that define an action in a tour. An example of a tour primitive is a FlyTo, defined by the <gx:FlyTo> element and its children.

playlist : the container for a list of tour primitives that define a tour. The playlist can be visualized along a timeline (see Tour timelines for more information).

Tours are constructed by placing specific elements, in order, into a KML file. The KML file can contain any other legal KML elements together with the tour.

The following example shows a complete tour and a Folder containing a number of placemarks. The tour begins in the South Island of New Zealand, before flying North via Mount Taranaki, and demonstrates both smooth and bounce flyToModes, as well as the <gx:balloonVisibility> method of opening a description balloon. The tour elements are described in greater detail below.

google earth record tour along path

Tours are made up of a series of tour primitives - FlyTos, Waits, TourControls, AnimatedUpdates, and SoundCues. Some of these primitives are played one after the other, waiting for one primitive to complete before beginning the next. Others run parallel to other primitives, so that multiple actions can occur simultaneously.

Primitives that occur in series

  • <gx:FlyTo>
  • <gx:Wait>
  • <gx:TourControl>

These primitives take place one after the other, and must be fully complete before the playlist moves on to any other element, of any type. This means that only one series-type primitive (FlyTo, Wait, or TourControl) can take place at a time, and no additional SoundCues or AnimatedUpdates can be started while a series-type primitive is taking place.

Primitives that occur in parallel

  • <gx:AnimatedUpdate>
  • <gx:SoundCue>

These primitives are cued when they appear in the playlist. Once they are started, the playlist immediately moves on to the next primitive, without waiting for the SoundCue or AnimatedUpdate to complete. This means that:

  • any number of SoundCues and/or AnimatedUpdates can take place at the same time, by cueing them one after the other in the playlist
  • SoundCues and/or AnimatedUpdates can take place while series-type primitives are playing (though they can not be started while series-type primitives are playing)

The diagram below illustrates this behavior. Click the image for a more detailed view , including the KML content that is defining each primitive in the playlist.

google earth record tour along path

The diagram shows that each FlyTo takes a specific amount of time (specified in its <gx:duration> element) to complete. Only once that time has elapsed does the next primitive begin.

The SoundCue, on the other hand, takes place in parallel. The next primitive in the main timeline occurs immediately, at the same time as the sound file begins playing. The sound file continues until the end of the file is reached, or the end of the tour, whichever occurs first. If the tour ends before the sound file does, the sound file ceases to play. Any number of sound files can be played at any one time, as each is loaded into its own timeline.

Animated updates behave in the same way. If a placemark's icon is set to increase in size over a 5 second duration, it does so while the next primitives in the main timeline take place.

Tours move from location to location, each of which is specified using a <gx:FlyTo> element. This contains an AbstractView ( <Camera> or <LookAt> ) that defines the viewing location, angle, and altitude within Google Earth.

In addition, a flyToMode can be specified, that tells the browser how to approach the point. Prior to the introduction of <gx:Tour> , 'tours' were played in the browser by hopping from placemark to placemark - the flight speed (which was defined by the browser) would slow as the browser approached the placemark, ending with zero velocity before continuing to the next placemark. This behavior can still be specified in tours using the <gx:flyToMode>bounce</gx:flyToMode> element property.

The smooth flyToMode allows for smooth and controlled flight through space. Velocity between points is controlled by the inclusion of a <gx:duration> element, which defines the time the browser takes to travel from the current point to the next defined view. An unbroken flight is made up of a series of FlyTos with smooth flyToModes - the Earth browser interpolates the velocity and a curved path between points so that each placemark is reached at exactly the time specified in the KML. Unlike the bounce flyToMode, velocity never reaches zero until the flight is broken by any of the following events:

  • the end of the tour,
  • a point with a bounce flyToMode, or

Pauses , animated updates , and sound cues do not break the flight.

Initial FlyTo

The first <gx:FlyTo> contained within a playlist is flown to from the viewer's current vantage in Google Earth. The duration is observed, so that velocity to the first point will vary widely, depending on where the viewer is located in Earth when the tour is started. It is recommended that this initial FlyTo contain a duration of 5 seconds or greater, and be of mode bounce , for the best viewing experience.

If <gx:flyToMode> is set to smooth for the first FlyTo, and is followed by additional smooth FlyTos, the viewer's initial position will be considered as a point in the smooth curve, and will affect the curve of the path between the first and subsequent points. This means that the initial series of smooth FlyTos will be different for each viewer, depending on what they were viewing in the Earth client when the tour was started. If a smooth FlyTo to the initial point is still desired, a <gx:Wait> can be inserted into the tour code after the first FlyTo. This will separate the initial position from the rest of the tour.

The following examples show the difference between bounce and smooth flyToModes. Each tour visits the same placemarks, but uses different flyToModes. To play the tours in Google Earth, click the links above each code snippet, then double-click the tour name from your Places panel in Google Earth.

  bounce_example.kml <gx:FlyTo> <gx:duration>4.0</gx:duration> <!-- bounce is the default flyToMode --> <LookAt> <longitude>-121.303179</longitude> <latitude>45.993041</latitude> <altitude>0</altitude> <heading>-27.923387</heading> <tilt>71.600075</tilt> <range>22570.546801</range> <altitudeMode>relativeToGround</altitudeMode> </LookAt> </gx:FlyTo> <!-- ...snip... -->   smooth_example.kml <gx:FlyTo> <gx:duration>4.0</gx:duration> <gx:flyToMode>smooth</gx:flyToMode> <LookAt> <longitude>-121.303179</longitude> <latitude>45.993041</latitude> <altitude>0</altitude> <heading>-27.923387</heading> <tilt>71.600075</tilt> <range>22570.546801</range> <altitudeMode>relativeToGround</altitudeMode> </LookAt> </gx:FlyTo> <!-- ...snip... -->

Waiting and pausing

A wait halts the movement through space in a tour, but allows sound files and animated updates to continue. The length of a wait is specified in the KML.

A pause stops the tour at its current location, as if the user had clicked the Pause button, and affects all primitives. The tour resumes only when the user selects the Play button in the tour control in Google Earth.

This element affects only the camera. It specifies a length of time during with the camera remains still. Any currently-playing sound files and/or animated updates are not affected and continue through the wait. Waits can be used to give sound files or updates time to complete, before the next FlyTo is started or before the tour ends.

The length of time for the wait is specified in seconds, using the <gx:duration> element. Once the time has elapsed, the tour continues with the next specified action in the playlist. A wait breaks a smooth flight path, so that the camera movement slows to zero velocity at any point immediately preceding the wait, regardless of its flyToMode.

User-controlled pauses are specified using <gx:TourControl> and its child element, <gx:playMode> . The latter has a single allowed value of pause . Invoking this action is similar to the user clicking the pause button in the Google Earth - the tour pauses at that point, and remains paused until the Play button is clicked. During the pause, the user can move about at will in the Earth environment. When Play is clicked, they are returned to the point in the tour at which the pause was set.

Pauses do not break smooth flight paths, so that the velocity between points on either side of a pause is calculated by the browser as if the pause was not present.

An example of a wait is below. A sound file is cued, containing ten seconds of introductory speech. A ten second wait is inserted immediately after the sound cue, preventing the following FlyTo from taking place until the speech is complete.

  wait_example.kml <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <kml xmlns="http://www.opengis.net/kml/2.2" xmlns:gx="http://www.google.com/kml/ext/2.2"> <gx:Tour> <gx:Playlist> <gx:SoundCue> <href> http://dev.keyhole.com/codesite/cntowerfacts.mp3 </href> <!-- this file is ten seconds long --> </gx:SoundCue> <gx:Wait> <gx:duration>10</gx:duration> </gx:Wait> <gx:FlyTo> <gx:duration>5</gx:duration> <gx:flyToMode>bounce</gx:flyToMode> <LookAt> <longitude>-79.387</longitude> <latitude>43.643</latitude> <altitude>0</altitude> <heading>-172.3</heading> <tilt>10</tilt> <range>1200</range> <altitudeMode>relativeToGround</altitudeMode> </LookAt> </gx:FlyTo> </gx:Playlist> </gx:Tour> </kml>

The following example demonstrates the use of a pause. The viewer is flown to a specific location in Earth, then the tour is paused. The user can move around in the Earth environment for any length of time. When they're ready to resume the tour, they must select Play from the tour controls - Google Earth jumps back to the tour's last location and continues playing.

  pause_example.kml <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <kml xmlns="http://www.opengis.net/kml/2.2" xmlns:gx="http://www.google.com/kml/ext/2.2"> <gx:Tour> <gx:Playlist> <gx:FlyTo> <gx:duration>5</gx:duration> <gx:flyToMode>bounce</gx:flyToMode> <LookAt> <longitude>-79.387</longitude> <latitude>43.643</latitude> <altitude>0</altitude> <heading>-172.3</heading> <tilt>10</tilt> <range>1200</range> <altitudeMode>relativeToGround</altitudeMode> </LookAt> </gx:FlyTo> <gx:TourControl> <gx:playMode>pause</gx:playMode> </gx:TourControl> <gx:SoundCue> <href> http://dev.keyhole.com/codesite/cntowerfacts.mp3 </href> <!-- this file is ten seconds long --> </gx:SoundCue> <gx:Wait> <gx:duration>10.0</gx:duration> </gx:Wait> </gx:Playlist> </gx:Tour> </kml>

KML features in the Earth environment can be modified, changed, or created during a tour, including the size, style, and location of placemarks, the addition of ground overlays, geometry, and more. For more information about updating KML, read the Updates section of the Developer's Guide .

Updates to the KML can take place during a tour, and are enabled through the use of the <gx:AnimatedUpdate> element. Update behavior within a tour differs from Update behavior in a NetworkLink in that:

  • updates to the KML are reversed when the tour is exited, and
  • updates to the KML are not included when the current state is saved.

In addition, any changes that lend themselves to interpolation (that is, that contain intermediate states, such as changes in size) are animated over the specified duration. Changes that do not have intermediate steps (such as description balloons opening or closing) are updated only at the end of the specified duration. If no duration is specified, the update occurs immediately (the default value for <gx:duration> is 0.0 ).

Other than the differences listed above, Update within a <gx:AnimatedUpdate> element behaves the same way as Update within <NetworkLinkControl> . It can be used to change marker size, location, and appearance; add ground overlays or models; and, using the <gx:balloonVisibility> element, toggle information balloons.

<gx:AnimatedUpdate> and the tour timeline

Animated updates run parallel to the timeline - that is, the tour continues directly to the next tour primitive in the playlist, while the animated update is taking place. The <gx:duration> controls the length of time it takes for the update to occur, but doesn't delay the next tour primitive.

To allow an animated update to complete before the next action takes place, insert a <gx:Wait> , with a duration equal to the duration of the update, between the animated update and the following tour primitive.

In addition, an animated update will be truncated if its duration extends beyond that of the last <gx:FlyTo> or <gx:Wait> element. You can either change the appropriate <gx:duration> values, or insert an additional <gx:Wait> element at the end of the playlist to give the animated update time to complete.

For more information about the timeline, read Tour timelines above.

The following code snippet shows a change in size of a particular placemark icon, from a scale of 1.0 to a scale of 10.0 . The change takes place over 6.5 seconds, during which the icon gradually expands from its initial to its final size.

Note the inclusion of a <gx:Wait> primitive at the end of the tour. Animated updates do not by themselves hold open a tour - only series-type tour primitives define the length of a tour. For this reason, a 2.4 second wait was inserted. Combined with the 4.1 second FlyTo, the Wait gives the update time to complete before the tour ends.

  animatedupdate_example.kml <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <kml xmlns="http://www.opengis.net/kml/2.2" xmlns:gx="http://www.google.com/kml/ext/2.2"> <Document> <name>gx:AnimatedUpdate example</name> <open>1</open> <Style id="style"> <IconStyle id="iconstyle"> <scale>1.0</scale> </IconStyle> </Style> <Placemark id="mountainpin1"> <name>New Zealand's Southern Alps</name> <styleUrl>#style</styleUrl> <Point> <coordinates>170.144,-43.605,0</coordinates> </Point> </Placemark> <gx:Tour> <name>Play me!</name> <gx:Playlist> <!-- The order and duration of TourPrimitives is important; in this example, the AnimatedUpdate needs 6.5 seconds to complete. The FlyTo provides 4.1, and the Wait 2.4, giving the update time to complete before the Tour ends. AnimatedUpdates don't hold Tours open, but FlyTos and Waits do. For more information, refer to: http://developers.google.com/kml/documentation/touring.html#tourtimelines --> <gx:AnimatedUpdate> <gx:duration>6.5</gx:duration> <Update> <targetHref></targetHref> <Change> <IconStyle targetId="iconstyle"> <scale>10.0</scale> </IconStyle> </Change> </Update> </gx:AnimatedUpdate> <gx:FlyTo> <gx:duration>4.1</gx:duration> <Camera> <longitude>170.157</longitude> <latitude>-43.671</latitude> <altitude>9700</altitude> <heading>-6.333</heading> <tilt>33.5</tilt> <roll>0</roll> </Camera> </gx:FlyTo> <!-- wait for the AnimatedUpdate to complete --> <gx:Wait> <gx:duration>2.4</gx:duration> </gx:Wait> </gx:Playlist> </gx:Tour> </Document> </kml>

Sound files can be included in tours and played at any point using the <gx:SoundCue> element. A child <href> element specifies the sound file. Supported formats are dependent on the codecs installed on your system, and include, but are not limited to:

No duration is specified.

Sound files play in parallel to the main timeline, meaning that the playlist moves on to the next tour primitive(s) while the sound file is playing. Read Tour timelines for more information. Note that, similar to animated updates, sound files do not hold open a tour - only series-type tour primitives define the length of a tour. If the tour ends before a sound file is complete, the sound file ceases to play.

Playing multiple sound files

Many sound files can be playing at any one time - Google Earth will mix the files together. This is useful in cases where a background music file is loaded at the beginning of the tour, and voice-overs are supplied at specific points throughout the tour.

Allowing a sound file to complete before the next primitive is played

If you want the tour to wait while a sound file is played, include a <gx:Wait> element immediately after the <gx:SoundCue> primitive. <gx:Wait> specifies in seconds an amount of time that the tour should wait before continuing to the next primitive.

A sound file cannot continue playing past the end of a tour. A wait can be used to extend the life of a tour while a sound file finishes playing.

The example tour below is 15 seconds long, defined by the combined <gx:FlyTo> and <gx:Wait> durations. The first sound clip lasts 15 seconds, and plays throughout the entire length of the tour. The second file is cued 5 seconds in, is mixed with the first file, and plays for 10 seconds. The <gx:Wait> is required to extend the length of the tour so that the sound clips have enough time to complete.

  soundcue_example.kml <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <kml xmlns="http://www.opengis.net/kml/2.2" xmlns:gx="http://www.google.com/kml/ext/2.2"> <gx:Tour> <gx:Playlist> <gx:SoundCue> <href> http://dev.keyhole.com/codesite/AJsBlues.mp3 </href> <!-- 15 second audio clip --> </gx:SoundCue> <gx:FlyTo> <gx:duration>5</gx:duration> <gx:flyToMode>bounce</gx:flyToMode> <LookAt> <longitude>-79.387</longitude> <latitude>43.643</latitude> <altitude>0</altitude> <range>1200</range> <tilt>10</tilt> <heading>-172.3</heading> <altitudeMode>relativeToGround</altitudeMode> </LookAt> </gx:FlyTo> <gx:SoundCue> <href> http://dev.keyhole.com/codesite/cntowerfacts.mp3 </href> <!-- 10 second audio clip --> </gx:SoundCue> <gx:Wait> <gx:duration>10</gx:duration> <!-- continues the tour for 10 seconds --> </gx:Wait> <!-- while audio clip plays --> </gx:Playlist> </gx:Tour> </kml>

A placemark's description balloon can be opened or closed during a tour, using <gx:balloonVisibility> within an animated update. Balloon visibility changes will be made at the end of any specified duration - they will not be animated over the specified time. Omitting a <gx:duration> value will assign the default value of 0.0 (the balloon will open or close immediately).

  balloonvisibility_tourexample.kml <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <kml xmlns="http://www.opengis.net/kml/2.2" xmlns:gx="http://www.google.com/kml/ext/2.2"> <Document> <name>balloonVisibility Example</name> <open>1</open> <gx:Tour> <name>Play me</name> <gx:Playlist> <gx:FlyTo> <gx:duration>5.0</gx:duration> <!-- bounce is the default flyToMode --> <LookAt> <longitude>-119.748584</longitude> <latitude>33.736266</latitude> <altitude>0</altitude> <heading>-9.295926</heading> <tilt>84.0957450</tilt> <range>4469.850414</range> <gx:altitudeMode>relativeToSeaFloor</gx:altitudeMode> </LookAt> </gx:FlyTo> <gx:AnimatedUpdate> <!-- the default duration is 0.0 --> <Update> <targetHref/> <Change> <Placemark targetId="underwater1"> <gx:balloonVisibility>1</gx:balloonVisibility> </Placemark> </Change> </Update> </gx:AnimatedUpdate> <gx:Wait> <gx:duration>4.0</gx:duration> </gx:Wait> <gx:AnimatedUpdate> <Update> <targetHref/> <Change> <Placemark targetId="underwater1"> <gx:balloonVisibility>0</gx:balloonVisibility> </Placemark> </Change> </Update> </gx:AnimatedUpdate> <gx:FlyTo> <gx:duration>3</gx:duration> <gx:flyToMode>smooth</gx:flyToMode> <LookAt> <longitude>-119.782630</longitude> <latitude>33.862855</latitude> <altitude>0</altitude> <heading>-19.314858</heading> <tilt>84.117317</tilt> <range>6792.665540</range> <gx:altitudeMode>relativeToSeaFloor</gx:altitudeMode> </LookAt> </gx:FlyTo> <gx:AnimatedUpdate> <Update> <targetHref/> <Change> <Placemark targetId="underwater2"> <gx:balloonVisibility>1</gx:balloonVisibility> </Placemark> </Change> </Update> </gx:AnimatedUpdate> <gx:Wait> <gx:duration>4.0</gx:duration> </gx:Wait> <gx:AnimatedUpdate> <Update> <targetHref/> <Change> <Placemark targetId="underwater2"> <gx:balloonVisibility>0</gx:balloonVisibility> </Placemark> </Change> </Update> </gx:AnimatedUpdate> <gx:FlyTo> <gx:duration>3</gx:duration> <gx:flyToMode>smooth</gx:flyToMode> <LookAt> <longitude>-119.849578</longitude> <latitude>33.968515</latitude> <altitude>0</altitude> <heading>-173.948935</heading> <tilt>23.063392</tilt> <range>3733.666023</range> <altitudeMode>relativeToGround</altitudeMode> </LookAt> </gx:FlyTo> <gx:AnimatedUpdate> <Update> <targetHref/> <Change> <Placemark targetId="onland"> <gx:balloonVisibility>1</gx:balloonVisibility> </Placemark> </Change> </Update> </gx:AnimatedUpdate> <gx:Wait> <gx:duration>4.0</gx:duration> </gx:Wait> </gx:Playlist> </gx:Tour> <Placemark id="underwater1"> <name>Underwater off the California Coast</name> <description> The tour begins near the Santa Cruz Canyon, off the coast of California, USA. </description> <Point> <gx:altitudeMode>clampToSeaFloor</gx:altitudeMode> <coordinates>-119.749531,33.715059,0</coordinates> </Point> </Placemark> <Placemark id="underwater2"> <name>Still swimming...</name> <description>We're about to leave the ocean, and visit the coast...</description> <Point> <gx:altitudeMode>clampToSeaFloor</gx:altitudeMode> <coordinates>-119.779550,33.829268,0</coordinates> </Point> </Placemark> <Placemark id="onland"> <name>The end</name> <description> <![CDATA[The end of our simple tour. Use <gx:balloonVisibility>1</gx:balloonVisibility> to show description balloons.]]> </description> <Point> <coordinates>-119.849578,33.968515,0</coordinates> </Point> </Placemark> </Document> </kml>

If the user has enabled historical imagery in their client, your tour can specify the date from which to pull imagery. To specify the date of image to display, include a <gx:TimeStamp> element in the AbstractView . Note that <gx:TimeStamp> also affects time-based KML and sunlight .

The last specified date will be used for all proceeding imagery.

  historicalimagery_example.kml <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <kml xmlns="http://www.opengis.net/kml/2.2" xmlns:gx="http://www.google.com/kml/ext/2.2"> <gx:Tour> <name>Small town over time</name> <gx:Playlist> <gx:FlyTo> <gx:duration>5.0</gx:duration> <Camera> <gx:TimeStamp> <when>1990-08-04</when> </gx:TimeStamp> <longitude>-121.991</longitude> <latitude>47.857</latitude> <altitude>7000</altitude> <altitudeMode>absolute</altitudeMode> </Camera> </gx:FlyTo> <gx:FlyTo> <gx:duration>3.0</gx:duration> <gx:flyToMode>smooth</gx:flyToMode> <Camera> <gx:TimeStamp> <when>2009</when> </gx:TimeStamp> <longitude>-121.991</longitude> <latitude>47.857</latitude> <altitude>7000</altitude> <altitudeMode>absolute</altitudeMode> </Camera> </gx:FlyTo> </gx:Playlist> </gx:Tour> </kml>

The Google Earth client does not currently comply with touring KML completely. Some known issues are listed below; these may be fixed in upcoming releases.

  • <gx:AnimatedUpdate> and <gx:TourControl> elements will break the curve created by a series of smooth FlyTos. FlyTo points on either side of these elements will be joined with a linear path.
  • Sound files loaded with <gx:SoundCue> continue playing during a pause initiated by <gx:TourControl> . When the tour is resumed, Google Earth will skip back to the point in the sound file at which the pause was triggered.
  • When using altitude modes other than absolute, the path between FlyTos may jump up or down as the camera approaches a point. This is caused by updated terrain data being loaded into the client - as the camera approaches a point, the information about that point becomes more and more detailed. As a result, the elevation of the ground below the point may be updated, requiring a correction in the path to that point. The recording mechanism in Google Earth specifies absolute altitude modes for all FlyTos for this reason. You should also convert altitudes to absolute values if these path corrections are interfering with your tour.

Except as otherwise noted, the content of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License , and code samples are licensed under the Apache 2.0 License . For details, see the Google Developers Site Policies . Java is a registered trademark of Oracle and/or its affiliates.

Last updated 2023-11-03 UTC.


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  6. Creating a Narrated Tour in Google Earth Desktop

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