Tour Builder: Tell your stories with Google Earth

Monday, November 11, 2013 at 8:23 AM

As we’ve worked with veterans and their family members on projects like Map The Fallen and VetNet, we’ve heard many amazing stories and seen how helpful storytelling can be. So we thought it might be useful to make a very simple storytelling tool. One hallway conversation led to a joint project between the Google Creative Lab and Google Earth Outreach, and today, in honor of Veterans Day, we’re excited to share Tour Builder—a simple tool for recording and sharing stories on a map.

Though originally inspired by veterans, we quickly realized that Tour Builder has the potential be a simple, useful tool for any aspiring storyteller. You could be a high school history teacher explaining the geography of the Revolutionary War, a musician updating your fans from the road, or a grandmother who wants to share her family’s story of service in WWII.



Creating a tour is easy: give it a name, add an introduction photo and a quick description. Then search the map for where your story begins and drop a placemark. Describe each place and embed photos & videos as you guide people through your story. You can dive into Street View or pick the perfect 3D view to show off your adventure.

For inspiration, just download Google Earth and explore our Gallery, which showcases some incredible journeys that have already been created using Tour Builder:
  • Elizabeth O’Herrin’s story of service in the Air National Guard from Wisconsin to Afghanistan and back.
  • The veterans of Team Rubicon who deploy emergency response teams following natural disasters like the Haiti earthquake
  • Dr. Jane Goodall's multi-generational saga of the chimpanzee “G Family” and how her Institute is protecting endangered chimpanzees with high-tech tools
  • BRAC’s efforts spreading anti-poverty solutions in 11 countries through the 100,000+ people they employ worldwide.

We invite you to try Tour Builder, and share your memories and stories with the people you love. Let us know what you think—we’d love to hear your ideas and feedback at tourbuilder-team@google.com for how Tour Builder could be a better storytelling tool and we’d love to see your tours.

Happy Veterans Day and thank you to all of the service members and military families, past and present, whose stories of service, patriotism, survival and achievement inspire us all.