Today I tried out Google Earth (http://earth.google.com/). I shouldn’t have because it kept me distracted for too long, but it was really neat. (Google Earth is different from Google Maps http://maps.google.com/; I mention that because I’m hoping to research a new feature in Google Maps in the next two weeks and will mention it soon.)
In their own words, “Google Earth combines satellite imagery, maps and the power of Google Search to put the world’s geographic information at your fingertips.”
It’s not a web site, it’s a software application. So, I downloaded it. I didn’t delve too deep into the options but I could plug in an address or location (such as city of country) and the software would fly me there. I say fly because it looks as if you’re in an airplane. You can see the terrain as you pass and once you get to your destination you can steer right, left, up, down or you can zoom in and out or tilt your camera view.
I checked out Dublin and tried to find the place I used to live – but had marginal luck. (And then only because I lived near a major landmark.) But I checked in St Paul, which I know quite a bit better and had no trouble zooming onto my block.
My intention had been to check out some of their new tools but I must admit I’m not there yet. In short they have partnered with new content providers to offer even more info on places through Google Earth, such as Discovery and the United Nations Environmental Program.
For today I just had to tell you about this not-so-new, but new-to-me tool. Someday I am going to work with my kids to learn more. One thing I liked (for kids and others) was how it gives you an idea of where things are and how big they are (such as the US is compared to Africa). It also gives you a glimpse at the different terrain and housing density. I once lived in a town in Spain with no grass or trees – it was very fun to compare that to Dublin or St Paul. (The town is Mollerusa, Spain – in case you want to check it out.)