A friend recently asked me if Google Earth could help him determine which mountains he sees as he looks out of his window. He lives in Cool, California on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. As he looks east, he sees some prominent peaks on the crest of the Sierra near Lake Tahoe.
The traditional method of identifying these mountains would be to obtain a compass heading for the direction you are looking in and mark a map with a line from your vantage point heading in this same direction. But in Google Earth, I suggested a different technique for my friend.
First, I put a placemark at the location of his house. Next, I made sure that the terrain layer was on. Using the navigation controls, I rotated and tilted the view so that it was looking directly east (the direction of the peaks my friend sees from his house) from close to ground level. I found that the peaks were difficult to pick out, so I exaggerated the terrain to 2.0 so I could see the peaks more clearly.
Having picked out the peaks, I then navigated from my friend's house to the highest peak on the horizon. In the Layers panel, I checked both Alternative Place Names and Geographical Features. This last step displayed the name of the peaks, which answered my friend's original question (click the image in this blog post).
Using the Measuring tool, I was even able to determine the distance between my friend's house and these peaks.