google earth

google earth continues to blow my mind again and again.

there is a news story about tamil rebels fighting in boats off the northern peninsula of sri lanka called Jaffna. i flew over to sri lanka in a moment and found the city of Jaffna. this part of the world is fairly high resolution. upon zooming in i could seen individual streets and even houses. the interesting part is there are very few paved roads. i saw whole neighborhoods with dirt trails between houses. i can see where the tree population is dense and where there are barren fields.

I flew over to J's condo building in chicago. i know what the park a block away looks like and i have seen all the neighboring freeways. google earth has given me an understanding of the planet like ive never dreamed of. it runs very quickly and its completely free.

i have a first hand sense of the distance between USA's east coast and Africa's west coast - across the atlantic. i can hover 13000 feet over my home city, change my point of view to look out east and fly across the nation. every school in the world should be using this to teach geography. as i fly over the bread basket of america i see a great lake. its not a blue blob on the map but exactly what the great lake looks like. i can zoom in and look at an individual boat on a marina at the shore of the lake. just awesome.