The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Google Earth Can Take You Back

Where will you go?
Yearning to return to your college campus, to your old hometown stomping grounds, or to that favorite tourist site? Don't have the time or the scratch to go personally? No problem. You can go virtually via Google Earth. Take some friends with you and make it a party!

Years ago my wife and I returned physically to the college campus where we obtained our first degrees. We found the experience ... uncomfortable. It was during the summer break and the place felt like a ghost town. Worse, it felt like we were the ghosts from an earlier age haunting places we had once known. We each kept expecting to see certain friends rounding specific corners where we'd meet up with them during our time there. Of course, they didn't show. Recently, I returned to the campus and had a much happier experience. I looked down on the place from above via satellite and was fascinated to see how the place had grown. From that bird's-eye view, however, I did not get that painful experience created by memories triggered by actually being on the ground, I didn't have to spend a lot of time, effort, or money to visit, and I satisfied my curiosity.

Since then, I've returned virtually to old stomping grounds where I once lived and have toured some sites I've never seen before. It's been fascinating. I can do it on my computer or my iPad equally well. Who knows where in the world I'll go next. Where will you go? What places do you wish to see again ... or for the first time?

Now, with Google Earth 7, you can take a 3D tour of many locations, seeing things more from a pilot's perspective rather than a satellite's. Enjoy the ride.

Update: I just went back to Google Earth for the first time in a while. Now you can follow a tour guide function at the bottom of the screen that will show you specific regions (like the Appalachian mountain range), get beautiful photos of highlights of the region, and when you zoom in to one specific location, you can center a person-shaped icon on a street and get the street view from that location. All very impressive.

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