Google Earth to measure distance

I am using Google Earth to measure distance for all the fence lines for my property.  Why?  Cause it is the middle of a snowy winter and I am planning for the installation of new fencing and wanted to know the measurements of the fencing I will need to budget for this year.

However, using Google Earth to measure distance is a technique you could use to calculate any large scale farm dimension such as the length of a boundary, the length of a hedgerow or windbreak, a length of a river frontage and so on.

Google Earth is a free mapping tool that you can download for your computer or mobile device from here.

Google Earth to measure distance – how to do it!

Step 1. Finding your farm
Open Google Earth.  In the search box in the upper left hand corner, type in the address of your farm….then click search and watch it zoom in!  Google Earth will place a red pin and display the address of your search on the image.  You can zoom in and out and change the orientation using the zoom bar tools on the right hand side of the image.   To remove the red pin (which I find annoying) and address you just click the blue X under the search results box on the left hand side.  For now, zoom to a level so you can see the entire outline of your farm in the image.

Step 2. Select the measurement tool

Google Earth has a tool bar that sits at the very top of the image.  You can hover over each of the tools and it will tell you what they are.  Find the Show Ruler and click on it.

A box appears that allows you to choose the units you want to measure in.  It will allow you to measure just one straight line (LINE) or a number lines all connected (PATH). I grew up in the metric world (awesome) but have had to adapt to the world of feet and inches in the USA.   So I now set the units for feet in this case.

Step 3.  Start measuring!

To measure a LINE
Make sure the Line tab is selected.  You need now to move your mouse pointer to the place from which you want to measure.  Click once.  The pointer will change to a white square.  Now when you move the mouse it will draw a yellow line and the distance of that line will be calculated and shown in the box.  When you decide you are at the end point you want to measure, click the mouse again and the final distance is saved in the box.

Using the buttons in the box you can save the measurement for later, or you can clear the measurement and start again.

To measure a PATH
Make sure the Path tab is selected.  You need now to move your mouse pointer to the first place from which you want to measure. Click once.  Now you will see the white box but inside will be a small blue square.  This is the end of your path that you are measuring.  Move the mouse to the next place to which you want to measure.  The yellow line is drawn as before, but now the original blue square turns red and a new blue square moves to the point you selected.    Move the mouse to the next point and click again.  The path is drawn in yellow and the distance is measured and displaced in the box.  You can repeat this as many times as you need.

When you get to the end of your path, just double click the mouse and final total dimension will be displayed.

If you want to measure around a curved area, then just break it down into a lot of short straight lines as you move around the curve.

If you think you have made a mistake, you can move the mouse pointer over any of the red squares until it turns into a pointer hand and the square turns green.  You can then hold down the mouse button and drag the point to a new location.  It’s really simple to get all this correct!

Again you can save or clear the result.

Using Google Earth to measure distance is quite easy – and a really worthwhile tool to use when planning around your farm or homestead.

Have you also seen:

Using Google Earth to zone your farm