Flying with Google Earth: “Oh, the places you’ll go!”

January 4, 2013 — 1 Comment
"Oh, the places you'll go!" ~ Dr. Seuss

“Oh, the places you’ll go!” ~ Dr. Seuss

Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. That’s the website description for Google Earth. The new app for smart phones and tablets premiered this past month. The reviews have been 4 and 5 star.  The  app is free and for any of you who have had issues with the your map application with iPhone 5 or upgrade (arrgh — I have) , it downloads a new App for Google maps, too, which is in beta, but so far, it gets you where you need to go.

I had a mystical experience with Google Earth. This is ironic because I cast a wary eye on technology. Perhaps it was the new year transition, or the fact that the world fits into your hand. But it happened. “Oh, the places you’ll go!”

While I was trying out the new App, I found myself intrigued with the “flying” element in the App which literally falls across earth and zooms to the destination of your search. It takes you  through roads and streets and swimming pools. After a successful tour of my old high school, I found myself searching and flying past the towns of my youth and the cities of my career.

I even got a pretty good look at my New York Apartment from several years back. This was all within the space of an hour. And the “flying element” added a veil onto it of fancy and fun.

It was as if I was  being escorted by  Clarence Odbody or Tinkerbell.  I have to admit that it was as satisfying a nostalgic experience as any session with a box of old photographs. If you have an hour and you are feeling small, I would definitely recommend an hour with the Google Earth. You’ll feel expansive by the end of it!

I remember Joseph Campbell saying all perception in life changed with the first shot of earth from the moon. For the first time, man saw himself in a very different reality with the new icon.  Holding that earth now in your hand also strikes me as seminal. Some kind of giant leap for mankind.

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One response to Flying with Google Earth: “Oh, the places you’ll go!”

  1. If anything, you’ve understated it, David. For my money (especially for free!) Google Earth is the killer app of the 20th century. I upgraded my computer back in 2006 just so Earth would run better. For a writer, it’s an indispensable research tool. I can “walk” (or fly) around locations I’m writing about, peaking down alleys and leaping from rooftop to mountain top. Granted, going to those places in person would be better, but financially and physically prohibitive.

    My family’s roots in Italy lay spread out before me in glorious 2-D. Planning vacations becomes a whole different (and more fun) exercise.

    GE also brings me closer to my friends in Haiti. I can actually watch the progress being made there by SFH (shameless promotion: http://www.servantsforhaiti.org) and others. And how can it not help my prayers be more heartfelt?

    I don’t have a smartphone – mine has an IQ of about 5 – but Google Earth is rarely given a rest on my laptop.

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