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Google Earth
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
I thought I was going to write an article on visual learning this evening. That was before I popped into Google Earth. Before being acquired, this was Keyhole. I tapped in my home address and zoomed from space to a satellite photo that shows my house. From there, I flew across the United States to my parents' former house in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.

Alexandria, Virginia

Then I flew over the Atlantic to Paris and checked out the symmetrical avenues Baron Haussman destroyed medieval Paris to construct. Checked Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, Les Invalides, and the Tour Eifel before flying to Berlin and on to my wife's hometown of Braunschweig.

Braunschweig, Germany

Hard to see, I know. (These are clickable.) I love seeing the curvature of the earth.

Google World is a bit jumpy on my aging Sony VAIO. Some of the satellite photos are fuzzy. Undoubtedly those things will fix themselves in the future. Imagine when this becomes as clear as the Above _____________ books. Wouldn't it be great to be a kid in, say 2010, able to study geography by zooming around an accurate representation of the world? Maybe I'd even be convinced that the planet really is round.

In time, I envision an Internet Archive/FlickR/Google Earth database that lets you look at close-ups from whatever date you choose. "Show me the Champs-Elysees in July 1945."

Google World is an awesome resource.


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