Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a complete tech geek. I love gadgets, gizmos, and gear of all kinds. I do IT for a living, and I’m always on the look out for some new gadget. As such, I’ll be making entries here from time to time about some great new piece of technology that may have slipped under the radar. Today, I have one such item and it’s called Google Earth.
Google Earth is a great program that has been floating around on the Internet for awhile, but has only gotten attention in geek circles or amongst geography nerds who want to explore the planet from their desktop. It uses streaming technology to downloaded the latest satellite imagery allowing you to zoom in on nearly any place on Earth and see a detailed picture of what that place looks like. The software will also provide a variety of information on various other locations in the area, including restaurants, parks, hotels, and even places to get a WiFi connection. You can even use it to get driving directions, and Google Earth will show you a map of the route.
On top of that, a large, active community has sprung up around this piece of software. Members of that community are able to place markers on the map to provide more information about an area, or to mark items of interest. You’ll find all kinds of wonderful landmarks from around the globe already listed on the maps. Want to see the Eiffel Tower? It’s marked. The Great Wall? Yep, it’s there too. You can even create mini-tours to various places to show off to your friends. All of this is included in the program, and it’s free for download.
As if that wasn’t enough, for $20 you can get a version of Google Earth that integrates with your GPS system, allowing you to mark points on the map, and then download the coordinates to your device as you head out for the day, making it even easier to arrive at your destination. There is even a Professional version of Google Earth ($400) that can be used for commercial use and includes even more detailed images and information.
The software has been available for Windows PC’s for some time, but has just recently been released for Mac’s as well. Download it, install it, and then lose hours while you explore the world. I use it all the time, sometimes just for getting directions, and sometimes just to find cool stuff all over the maps. What cool stuff have you found??