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Google Earth is cool

A week or so ago a co-worker of mine showed me a program he was playing with- Google Earth. Its a beta, and I had heard of it before, but it hadn’t really intrigued me very much until Dan showed it to me.

I guess I am a contrarian. Google is “cool” and “happening”: if Google does something, all the “cool” and “happening” people notice. I’m not in the “cool and happening” herd, and I guess without even noticing it I was boycotting their mooing. But Google Earth looked sort of neat: imagine a visual tour of earth based on detailed satellite images, including a searchable database of places.

I installed Google Earth this morning on my home computer and spent a happy hour finding things like my house, the mall nearby, and other landmarks. I was able to approximately date the images by looking at construction activities: most of the images for our area (Lower Mainland, British Columbia, Canada) appear to be about two years old. That’s not bad, but a long way from anything approaching “real time”: don’t expect to see your car parked out in front of your house from last night.

The world…

Canada…

Canada Place, Vancouver, showing two docked cruise ships…

My wife asked me an obvious question: its neat, but what use is it? I can see uses, like geomapping data on crimes or urban development studies for example. Mostly, though, for the average user, its just fun.

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