“I’m a map I’m a map I’m a map…” If you think Dora The Explorer’s “singing” map is popular, well it’s merely a “d-list celebrity” compared to the status of Google Earth. In this Web 2.0 generation, when even Aborigines can avail WiFi internet access, there’s no question that Google Earth the "a-list" reputation in the information superhighway. Scientists in the 60s could never have guessed that the flight of Vostok 1 will lead to Eskimos looking at the streets Beverly Hills. This is the reason why Google Earth is so popular. Instead of more than 50 cartographers stenciling the outlines and borders and measuring longitudes and latitudes, Google Earth uses aerial photography from artificial satellites. The resolution of these “bird’s eye view” images are so high, you can try zooming at the animal droppings on your next door neighbor’s roof. So if you’re in the mood of looking into the world, here are ten ways of using Google Earth, Flash Earth, or whatever virtual globe software you have.
10. “I’m Still Using The Computer!”
Using the computer doing homework
Have you experienced your brother or sister not letting you use the computer just when you needed it most? Well, if you’re planning to take a revenge, Google Earth is the best way to annoy your brother or sister who are addicted to the PC. Picture this: If your siblings only see you playing video games, they still have a reason to force you to leave the PC. Perhaps nag and ask mommy to convince you to do something else instead. By using Google Earth, it’s very easy to concoct legitimate excuses why your brother and sister needs to wait for you to finish. Google Earth is not so boring, so you can make them wait “like forever!”
9. “This Is Why I’m Always Late.”
Being late on the job is due to many reasons
Explaining to the boss
. Of all the alibis we can think of, traffic and distance is the number one on people’s list. What better way to seal a “distance” or traffic alibi with a print-out from Google Earth. When you know you’re gonna be tardy, just go to the site, choose the screenshots you need to show and simply print it out. Of course, you still would have to cut it and perhaps use a sticky tape to align the printouts. By the time you’re finished doing this, your Google Earth visual aids will just confirm your reason for tardiness. It’s a perfect strategy.
8. “I’m Just Hanging Around”
Hooked on the computer
Trying to figure out how to kill your time
? Nothing else better to do? Google Earth might spare you the trouble. When you start using this software, you will find yourself sucked by some kind of force that prevents your butt from leaving your seat. You will find yourself playing with the controls, rotating the earth round and round. Using the direction arrows to just go north, south, east and west. You will find yourself entertained by twirling the masses of land, going into a 3 dimensional view of places like Taj Mahal or seeing the way you zoom-in and zoom-out from one place to another. You will find yourself just looking for the smallest of Islands and following the main roads and highways for no specific reason at all. Just doing it all for time’s sake. “Sigh”
7. “Oh My God, Our Country Doesn’t Look Hygienic!”
An environmentalist holding water samples fomr the lake
Environmentalists can actually use Google Earth to promote their causes. If you happen to be an activist for Greenpeace (for example), pimp your MySpace profile with a background image you can lift from Google Earth. You can pick and zoom to a location in Google Earth and use the image to support your environmental views. You can try the virgin forests threatened by deforestation, or perhaps the beaches with silt and black sand. You can try the congested areas or ghettos of the world, or use the image of a famous dump site. Google Earth opens a lot of possibilities for creating awareness. Many people have lifted images from Google Earth and used it in their blogs with opinions like “Our country’s infrastructure is ghastly, where do our taxes go?” (Tips on how to save the rainforests
6. “Image Courtesy of Google Earth”
A snapshot from Google earth
This is a no brainer. Mainstream media has used the site for their different agendas. You see this being used by a lot of TV stations, especially the News Programs. So it’s a great reference for proffessionals in the mainstream media. There are countless “flashes” of Google Earth images of Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, The Gaza Strip whenever the news talks about the war in these places. But do you know that Google Earth had been used in an action film? If you have seen the adrenalin rush movie “Crank”, the Google Earth images had been used countless times as some kind of “artictic transition” before the scene shifts to another character. The filmmakers of “Crank” used Google Earth as a unique way of transitioning from one scene to another. Maybe you can also try using Google on your homemade videos, see how creative you can get.
5. “Yeah Right”
Street map directions courtesy of Google Earth
With Google Earth, we can be our own Private Investigators. Of course, if you plan to use the site for in depth research, it’s best if you avail of the “paid” Google Earth service where there is more functionality. If you feel that you’re surrounded by “over-the-top” pathological liars blabbering things like “I know. Zach Effron just happens to be living in my street.”, “Do you know that last Saturday while, I was sun-bathing near our swimming pool, my crazy cat jumped on me”. It’s also a great way of instantly checking addresses. There are so many people we talk to that we inevitably can’t trust. You might want to cross-examine your long-distance chatroom lovers about their real location. You might want to double-check the travel stories of your pompous friends. Or what’s cool, you can use the site to sound convincing yourself. “Yeah I remember, it’s the place near the intersection, a few blocks from Bates Motel. I’ve been there”.
4. “Look, The River Doesn’t Reach The Sea Anymore”
Explaining the map
Before and after photos. Who wouldn’t use Google Earth to show how the world is changing dramatically. Google Earth is simple so visual it’s offers the best proof that global warming is real and maps have to be redrawn. If you are like Al Gore, going from one place to another, making lectures on how the earth is changing—use Google Earth. If you are a concerned citizen who is wants too see if indeed, the beautiful lake behind your house is shrinking, refer to Google Earth. First, sift through your old photographs or old maps and compare it to the images you see on Google. The images on the site may not be updated on a daily basis but it’s enough to show you the dramatic changes such as the shrinking of Lake Chad in Africa, the decrease of Arctic Sea Ice Cover, the erosion of land in Bangladesh, etc.”Look how beautiful our lake was, those were the good old days.” (Learn how to get rid of global warming
3. “I Spy With My Favorite Eye…”
A kid playing with google earth on the computer
Invasion of someone’s privacy. Sad to hear but true. In 1997, It was Google Earth that photographed the new Chinese nuclear submarine mooring at Xiangpingdao Base in China. This is the reason why certain states and special interest groups requested Google to blur out certain places. These places are considered to be “sensitive” because Google might provide information to carry out heinous acts like “terrorism”. Well, many of us are peace-loving citizens so it’s kind of strange to use Google Earth for something like planning the perfect heist. Still, it is human nature to be nosy. Especially if you have the resources to do so. Don’t you want to spy on the Pentagon? See if they have a Center for Alien Conspiracy
2. “Oh Look…Mountains!”
Dad showing his kid different places with Google Earth
Kids. They can easily drive the rest of us crazy with their tantrums. If your kids are whining because you can’t take them to DisneyLand
or Six Flags, use Google Earth to convince your kids you need some more time to prepare. If you are concerned that your child is playing too many video games, use Google Earth to divert their interest. Google Earth is the new window of the world and a better way of teaching kids about Geography. Show your kids famous places like Mount Everest, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, or The Pyramids of Giza. You can also show your kids the infamous places and its stories like The Alcatraz, Roswell, Area 51, or The Winchester Mystery House. Let those little tykes handle the mouse and see if they can explore the world on their own. You’ll be surprised that your child will run to you and say, “Mommy Mommy, I found Grandmother’s tomb.”
1. “Can You Give Me A Sketch?”
Giving directions using a sketched map
Gone are the days when you take out a piece of paper, draw lines and boxes, make an “x” and write the words “we’re here”. With a basic knowledge on Photoshop or even MS Paint, you can use Google Earth for providing a more creative and more effective sketch of any location. Simply strategize of how you’re going to do this and use the a graphic software to crop, resize and lay out the images properly. It’s a great idea for a location sketch because it not just shows where the gas station is, it shows how the gas station will look like. Location sketches derived from Google Earth can be advantageous in more ways than one. For example: you’re a real estate agent and your prospective buyers are asking for a site map, give them your Google Earth inspired sketch and say, “You see…the white sand beach is just around the corner from the house.”
There you have it, ways you can use Google Earth. By the way, did you know that some people cannot read maps? Well, you can also use Google Earth to find out if you really have a sense of direction. Maybe that’s why Dora The Explorer exists.