I have used it as a tool to plan vacations, as a way to become familiar with a new neighborhood, to ‘find stuff’ and as a way to “visit” places that I will never have the pleasure of visiting in person.
Last month the Google map-makers strapped on 40 pound odd-looking camera/backpacks and set out to hike the Grand Canyon and photograph it all the way down.
I’m delighted with this project. Chances are I will never have the opportunity to walk down the Bright Angel Trail, a 10 mile hike down to the Colorado River. But with this group of adventurers and their huge collection of images, I’ll be able to “take the walk” and see how the trail changes as it goes down.
And this will be of great use for real life hikers, as well. Being able to view the terrain in advance will help hikers prepare for the adventure.
After writing this post, I spent a bit of time going on a “google street view” tour of the world. If you haven’t tried it, please do. (Just go to Google maps, zoom into a city, and slide the little orange man onto a street.) I picked a random town in Canada, Mexico, Turkey, Russia and Japan, and spent a little time wandering the streets. I never tire of that. It reminds me all the time what a small world we really are, (especially when I see McDonald’s Golden Arches in St Petersburg, Russia and a street advertisement for Clinique. Hmmmm. Not quite sure how I feel about that. :)).
It is still spotty on the small towns, though. The
small tiny European towns where my grandparents were born are not yet street-view visible. When that day comes, I’ll be very very happy.