Google Earth is a fantastic tool that combines high-resolution aerial imagery with a “flying” engine so that users can travel anywhere in the world in seconds. The problem is that most people don’t know where they’re going. Jay Baggett is on the way to solving this problem for students and teachers of the Bible. His new website, Land of the Bible, features more than a dozen video tours through the 3-D landscape of Israel and Jordan.
After you get an introduction on the home page, you can see a list of the flights in the left sidebar.
You’ll notice that Jay has plans to create many more in the future. If you want a short tour, you can start with “David & Goliath,” which begins David’s hometown in Bethlehem and brings you down to the Elah Valley and the stage for the famous battle. As the video proceeds, the “tour notes” on the right make it clear what you are seeing and why it is important.
For a longer tour, click “From Dan to Beersheba.” This is a great way to get a feel for the whole land and how one site is related to another. If you want to “pick up the pace,” you can always click the “fast-forward” button; each click doubles the speed of the video.
Most of the tours are located in the “Pilgrim’s tour of Israel and Jordan.” Since most visitors see similar sites on the same basic route, this tour will be useful to many tourists even if they were not on Jay’s trip last year.
The videos require a Google Earth plug-in and they do not seem to work in Firefox. This is a great tool and I look forward to seeing the new fly-overs as Jay finishes them.
2 thoughts on “Flight Tours over Israel with Google Earth”
Bother! No plugin for Linux. I do have Google Earth though – is there a KML/KMZ file that will be equivalent?
I intend to offer the KMZ files with flights in the future. There are some stunning options for enhancing the flights if we're not stuck in the Google Earth plug-in window. The downside will be not being able to have the accompanying tour notes shown side-by-side with the flight.
I'd also like to continue maintaining some control over the data until I've satisfied myself this is how I want to present the different regions of the land and I've heard from users about mistakes I've made in locating the various sites so I can make corrections. As you know, once I release the KMZ file "into the wild," it can get passed around and posted elsewhere without my having any ability to correct errors.
I will make this a priority, though, for flights that I'm certain won't trigger any of these concerns in the future. Thanks for your interest.