Google Tour Builder / Tour Creator

Google Tour Builder LogoGoogle Tour Creator logo

Google Tour Builder and Google Tour Creator are web-based storytelling tools that allows users to create their own interactive map by using Google Maps and Google Earth and adding multimedia content. Students and teachers can use Google Tour Builder or Tour Creator to design virtual tours for studying places, locations of key events, settings in books, real world issues and more. This is a great way to get students engaged with the material and constructing their own ways to showcase their learning.

Tool Snapshot

Price Free
Learning Constructivism (viewing); Constructionism (creating)
Ease of Use ★★★★
Privacy ★★★
Accessibility ★★
Class Size Unlimited
Login Yes
ISTE*S Knowledge Constructor, Creative Communicator
Yes (for GSuite for Education users)

Google Tour Builder/Tour Creator Overview Video

Google Tour Builder/Tour Creator & the SAMR Model

The SAMR model, developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, is a framework for examining the purpose and advantages of technology integration. It reminds us to think about the ways to use technology beyond just substituting low-tech alternatives, and aim for the redefinition of the task, adding functions that could not be done without the technology. Below are some ways Google Tour Builder and Creator can be used at each stage of the SAMR Model.

  • Substitution: Pinning locations on Google maps as opposed to adding pins to a physical map.
  • Augmentation: Teachers/students add multimedia content to each location (pin) such as pictures, videos and links to other resources.
  • Modification: Students use Tour Builder in Google Earth to explore locations in 3D.
  • Redefinition: Students use Tour Creator to design their own 360 degree virtual reality tours.

Far too often, technology is used as a direct substitute for other low-tech tools (e.g., pencil and paper). While substitution has some benefits (e.g., students develop their technology skills and knowledge), we encourage you to think about how you might use Google Tour Builder/Tour Creator to modify or redefine learning.

Phone taking picture of street in city

Learning Activities

Social Studies: Tour the sites of historical events. Tour a country or civilization. Tour your local community.

ELA: Follow along the locations in a book to gain a better understanding of the background and setting (see Google Lit Trip – Frankenstein)

Math/Science: Solve problems connected to real-life locations. Discover the sites of famous scientific discoveries / geological features.

Foreign Language: Create a virtual tour of a native speaking country to learn more about its culture.

Other: Allow students to create their own maps showcasing a variety of things, such as sharing a personal experience (e.g., summer road trip) or a tour of the community or public school spaces like the library


Student using VR headset

How to Use Google Tour Builder

  1. Go to
  2. Click “Sign In” and sign in with a Google account
  3. Making a Tour
    • Click “Create A Tour” to start
    • Choose a tour name and author name
    • Choose story type (Disabled/Story/Hub) (2D/3D)
  4. Editing Locations
    • Click “Add Location” search for location and click “Add to tour”
    • Add up to 25 pictures or videos
    • Edit location information (include links to addition resources)
    • Add Start/End dates if chronological
    • Edit map view by dragging, using the +/- buttons and click “Lock this view”
  5. Saving, Sharing and Presenting
    • Click “Save Now” to save work
    • Click “Done Editing” and “Share” to get sharable link
    • Click “Settings” and “Open in Earth” to view in Google Earth


Cochrane, Thomas. “Mobile VR in Education: From the Fringe to the Mainstream.” IJMBL 8.4 (2016): 44-60. Web. 15 Nov. 2018. doi:10.4018/IJMBL.2016100104

Macklin, Kate and McCann, Andrea. Google’s tour builder [online]. Interaction, Vol. 43, No. 1, Mar 2015: 40-41. Availability: <;dn=128310770499696;res=IELHSS> ISSN: 0310-7949. [cited 15 Nov 18].