Designed by SA Tourism and Quirk eMarketing, the SA layer is built upon existing Google Earth technology which allows users to travel the world's cities by means of satellite imagery and aerial photography.
The South African layer includes over 120 points of interest and a fully functional supporting website, providing an itinerary planner and detailed information about specific areas.
A 2010 sub-layer has also been included, providing potential visitors with key information regarding the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Among the thousands of images incorporated into the South African layer are 360 degree images that function as virtual tours. Developed by Virtual Africa, the tours available include the view from Table Mountain and the Kruger National Park.
MD of Virtual Africa Tinus Le Roux says, "Google Earth allows us to market our beautiful and diverse country like never before."
"This fresh approach to browsing content provides a much higher level of engagement and overall utility for users" says Tim Shier of Quirk eMarketing
"We've provided Google Earth content which has full content write-ups, links to virtual tours, places of interest and contact details, allowing users to engage with their destinations while having the necessary resources to explore further," he adds.
"This project fulfills two fundamental objectives for South African Tourism" said Quirk eMarketing CEO Rob Stokes. "Firstly, it brings more tourists to South Africa, and secondly it offers real value through their online presence."
Google Earth attracted more than 300 million unique users between January and May 2008 and is available in 27 different languages.
Google Earth's satellite imagery now covers 30% of the world's land surface.
To view the layer, go to: http://earth.southafrica.net