I've been playing with Google Maps's satellite photos for the last few days (note the words "map" and "satellite" in the upper right and click whichever most interests you). They're a good way to pass time during slow afternoons at work: legal, decent, non-profane, unobtrusive and utterly inoffensive, yet still fascinating and even educational! Yesterday I invented a little game in which I'd click on a completely random spot in the U.S., center the map there and then zoom in as far as I could to see what I'd clicked on. I wound up in a forest in central Michigan, so far outside of the nearest city that the streets weren't even labelled (they key thing about Google Maps that makes this work is that you can click back and forth between map and satellite at the same scale, and I had to zoom waaaay back out to see anything labelled on the map at all).
That was such a successful experiment that today I started doing it again. I roamed around northern Mexico and southern Texas for a while looking at perfect circles of green god-knows-what. I investigated a dark red blob of unknown (and unlabelled) nature growing out of the side of one of these perfectly circular fields. Somewhere around Lubbock I started wondering how close I was to the Mexican border, so I zipped back to the map and zoomed in on it only to find it pretty boring. I tried the border crossing south of San Diego (which was much more interesting with its million lanes of highway and big official-looking checkpoint), followed a nearby railroad line for a while, and found myself at a tiny airport just over the line in Mexico. I could see planes on the runways! I tried Burbank Airport, and then JFK, and when I got to SFO I actually found a plane that had been photographed while taking off. It was so close to the ground that I could see its shadow on the runway.
I'm planning on looking at satellite photos of the Pentagon next, just so the government can stop wondering if all this border-and-airport searching means I'm up to something. I am undoubtedly up to something, and if you figure out what it is, please let me know.Posted by dianna at April 19, 2005 04:24 PM