Jet-set on a global online adventure

A new book combines the power of the page with the interactivity of the net to create an amazing global adventure.

London Spread from The Great Global Puzzle Challenge with Google Earth

By Heather Camlot

We know the web is our ticket to foreign lands, new cultures, outer space and so much more, and yet when we boot up our computers we tend to use it for more narrow explorations, like checking our email and posting to Facebook and Twitter.

But a new book hopes to challenge the way we use our computer, at least for a little while.

Great Global Puzzle Challenge with Google Earth, written by Clive Gifford and illustrated by William Ings, combines the power of the page with the interactivity of the net to create an amazing global adventure.

To get started you need to install Google Earth onto your computer and follow the easy set-up instructions so you can navigate through the challenge and the web.

Once you’re up to speed on how to use Google Earth, you’re off. Each location in the globe-hopping game has its own colourful and intricately detailed spread in the book, upon which you’ll find the coordinates to enter into Google Earth as well as a slew of facts, brainteasers, games and clues that will help you solve the mystery coordinates for the final destination.

Along the way, you’re asked to delve deeper into the location online, by zooming into and taking a tour of top spots, like the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Sydney Harbour in Australia and Central Park in New York City.

After you’ve hit all 11 fascinating destinations, you should have all the coordinates you need to enter in Google Earth and jet off to the final landing. Once there, the tour and travel continue with more search-and-answer questions and fun facts.

At first, the book may seem like a big promotion for Google Earth. But once enrapt in the adventure, what you gain by navigating the mapping program and trekking across the planet online and on the page far outweighs any such thoughts. And even if it was one giant ad, wouldn’t you feel better spending your precious time seeing the sights and learning about the world on Google Earth than repeatedly hitting refresh to see if any new email, posts or tweets have come through? We certainly think so.

First published September 29, 2011, on


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