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Showing posts with label google earth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label google earth. Show all posts

August 10, 2017

There's No "P" in Huacachina

Today's Bing page has a lovely image of Huacachina, a village in southwestern Peru, built around a small oasis surrounded by sand dunes. It is in the Ica Province, about five kilometers from the city of Ica in the Ica District. The oasis features on the back of the 50 Nuevo Sol note. Huacachina has a permanent population of around 100 although it hosts many tens of thousands of tourists each year.

I decided I'd open up Google Earth and look at the satellite imagery, then discovered it also had the Street View.  I started my "tour" just outside the oasis, just as if I were driving into the town.  I didn't go very far until I saw this:

It's a little hard to see with this screenshot, but it sure looks like the guy is peeing right by the side of the road!

Google has been sued before for showing people urinating, so I was surprised they left this one un-blurred. I forwarded the view a few feet and saw this:

As you can see, I had missed the green garden hose the first time.

April 8, 2014

ACME Planimeter

ACME Planimeter has got to be one of the best online web tools I've ever used.  I love to look at real estate ads, then find them on Google Earth or Bing Maps, but the Google Earth measuring tool has limitations - at least in the free version I use - in that I can use it to outline the dimensions of the property, but then have to use my calculator or an online acreage calculator to figure out the total area.  That takes time and often isn't all that accurate, the cause of which is not completely my incompetence.

Well, I want to believe that, anyway.

Here's the outline of a property I'd love to own near Quitman, Texas. (home town of Sissy Spacek) The listing says it's 50 acres and using the ACME Planimeter gives the exact same figure.

It's really easy to use. From the website:

Drag the map with your mouse, or double-click to center.
Click on the map to place points.
The enclosed area is shown below.

The page remembers your most recent position/zoom/map-type for the next time you visit. If you haven't visited before, it tries to figure out your location based on your internet address. The area computation is done using spherical geometry, so it's correct for large regions.

June 30, 2013

Borderline Trivia

Did you know there is supposed to be ten feet of both sides of the Canada–United States border free of trees, brush and other obstructions?

If you ever look at the border on Google Earth (or Bing Maps) it might not be obvious on flat prairie land, but it's more apparent through wooded areas, such as this Google Earth screen shot of northern Washington state.

See more US-Canada border information:

More Than You Probably Ever Cared to Know About the US-Canada Border

June 5, 2013

Music Album Cover Locations

As regular readers of this blog know, I'm a huge Google Earth fan. One of my favorite sites to which I subscribe via my Google reader is Google Earth Hacks, which posts interesting sites to visit via the GE application and also supplies the .kmz file for the location.

One of the latest posts has Music Album Cover Locations, places around the world where album covers were photographed.

Recognize the place? Perhaps the album cover insert (too small to be seen in the above screenshot) will give it away.

Yes, it's Abby Road in London, the street where the Beatles took the name for one of their most famous albums.

The .kmz file has many other great album covers and locations; some more Beatles records, as well as others from ABBA, Pink Floyd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Elton John and more.

Download the file at:

Music Album Cover Locations

July 9, 2012

Google Earth vs Bing Maps

Actually, not so much of a review of the two, but sharing a fantasy of mine.

Since I installed it, I've absolutely loved my Google Earth program. I've "traveled" all over the world, looked at the houses of my best online friends, viewed my home town and the area where I grew up, toured national parks and thanks to websites devoted to them and the Street View feature, seen some odd and funny things others have stumbled across while using the application. (such as people using the bathroom, people passed out drunk, some staged scenes - when they knew in advance or saw the Google Street View vehicle coming - and a naked woman out on her front porch, one of several similar events)  There have also been some uproar over Google showing addresses and some lawsuits over privacy concerns. I believe some countries have forced Google to delete some of that information.

Since that time, Microsoft has come out with Bing Maps. (previously known as Microsoft Virtual Earth)  Unlike Google Earth, it's web-based and needs not be installed. (but there are plug-ins for the service, such as 3-D and some phone apps) It has some advantages over Google Earth, but also some disadvantages.

One of my favorite things to do with both is to look at real estate I've seen for sale online or in the back of magazines; my favorite for the latter is the classified real estate ads in Texas Monthly.  I've always dreamed about living in the country and they have some ads detailing fantastic properties for sale. Of course, I'd have to win the lottery or inherit millions of dollars to get the most desirable places, but hey, it's fun to dream!

After finding out the exact address of the real estate I'd like to own, I look for it with Google Earth or on Bing Maps.  Sometimes it's hard to find them, because all the properties I wish for are out in the country and don't have an exact street address, but I still manage to locate them.

Here's a place I'd love to own;  it's north of Dallas, not quite a section of land.  It has a good-sized spring-fed lake on the property, several other decent sized ponds and a few smaller ones.   There's a lot of timber and over a dozen fenced pastures, sectioned off to take advantage of the water required for livestock.  It has a big barn/workshop with office and kitchen as well as holding pens and working facilities (chute and scales) for cattle. There are also four "huge" homes, plus three cabins, all connected by paved roads.

Here's a screen shot of the place in Google Earth.  I couldn't get all of it, but that's about half of the property - the part with the main lake and homes.   I hope it's clear enough so that you can see why I have fallen in love with it.

Hard to tell from the above shot, but there's a lovely feature on the property, a peninsula jutting out into the lake right behind one of the large homes.  It has a gazebo right by the lake and a two-stall covered floating boat dock as well as two "slips" for jet skis.

Google Earth has some features that Bing does not, one of which is a "time slider" which allows you to view historical imagery.  The above shot was taken in April of this year, the following in 1995:

It stunned me when I went back to the earliest shot, not only how much better the satellite imagery has come in that short time, but that there was nothing there then!  Whoever built that place not only spent a lot of money on the houses, but probably spent nearly as much clearing the land and doing the dirt work required to build the dams to hold in the water for the lake.

Bing has done it better than Google in some things, though.  Here's a Google Earth over head shot of the owners home. (4br, 4b w/ pool)  This is where I would live! (because of the pool, the other houses are just as big...but no pool!)

Google lets you rotate the image and you can zoom down, but it doesn't enhance the detail.  Here's the Bing view of the house before zooming down.

This is where Bing does it better than Google. You can use the overhead view, but selecting the "Birds Eye" view feature, you can pick up much better detail.

As you rotate the image in Bing's Bird's Eye, it changes and shows different shots from satellite imagery taken at different times. As you can see above, it must have been winter because the grass is brown.(and a pickup in the driveway)

Here's one of the larger ponds south of the homes.  With the Google Earth ruler feature, I've estimated that it's an acre in size, probably a bit larger. 

That would be my own personal pond and I'd stock it with nothing else but bass (about 200 would be the max, I think) and plenty of minnows and other bait fish for them to eat. I'd build some "minnow motels" for them to spawn and reproduce as well as put in some gravel spawning beds for the bass...and then I'd pretty much leave it alone for a few years, let the bass get trophy sized. (I'd probably seine it now 'n then to get some of the smaller bass out, put them in one of the other small ponds.

Here's where the ruler feature in Google Earth can come in handy, measuring the dimensions:

As you can see, it's a decent sized pond.  The image looked a little different in an earlier satellite shot and I was concerned that the pond was drying up because it looked like the small pier/dock was getting "high and dry" but I realized that was just moss growing along the shoreline, a regular occurrence in clear water lakes and ponds.  When I stocked it with the bass, I'd put in a few triploid grass-eating carp to take care of that. (I've read a LOT about lake/pond stocking and maintenance)

I wouldn't run any cattle in that pasture, but I would build some "chicken tractors" (movable coops) and let the hens free range.  I'd move them every week or so, keeping them in the open areas during the winters, but move their coops under the shade of the trees during the hot Texas summers.  There's nothing better than FRESH eggs. (unless it's a freshly butchered chicken!)

I'd raise chickens (all kinds) and ducks and geese and guinea fowl, as well as peacocks (and pea hens, so the cocks would display their lovely tails when they're feeling amorous.  Hey, that's what I would do, too!)  I'd raise quail and pheasants and other game birds, not to eat but to watch. I'd buy a dozen cows and a bull and raise some delicious grass-fed beef, rotating them amongst the pastures when necessary.   I'd also have a few pigs - maybe just for pets and leftovers disposal -  and any other animals I wanted...dogs and cats  - lots of cats, but probably have to watch them around my chickens - and since I would be rich enough to have bought the property in the first place, I'd buy a matching set of swans for my lake. ("only" $2000 bucks in one of my poultry catalogs I get in the mail)

Sorry, got carried away with my gentleman farmer fantasy.  Back to the Google Earth vs. Bing Maps theme.

Bing doesn't have the fine rotation control as does Google Earth, so I couldn't compare it at the same angle, but the detail is much better.  This shows the difference in the pier from the other version.

My nephew would say that "looks bass-y".  Some might say it isn't deep enough to raise anything other than a few catfish, but Google Earth has elevation numbers (where Bing does not) and the pond is at least 10-12 feet deep in the middle. (using comparisons with new and historical imagery. Those are the TOPS of trees sticking out, particularly there in the lower middle part)

I could blather on and on about my fantasy, but I won't bore you with it any longer.

I noticed something odd when I was looking over the property the other day in Bing Maps. Here's the image of the area just south east of the property line:

Here's the historical image from a few years ago in Google Earth:

Just some pasture land and trees, as you can see.

At first I was dismayed, thinking that maybe the reason the people were selling such a beautiful property was because an adjacent landowner had sold his property for a sand and gravel pit. Who would want to live next door to one of those? There are several in the area, but they're quite a few miles away. Much the same thing had happened to a property I had looked at several years ago, but not as nice or large as this one.  No wonder they were wanting to sell their place!

Then Google Earth came out with updated images and I found out it wasn't an ugly gravel pit, but someone else was doing the same thing as with "my" property! 

It's not as large of a lake as the other, but I really like that island with the trees. Zooming down in Google Earth, it looks like it's going to be a huge mansion right by the side of the lake. (I wonder if they'll put a bridge over to the island? According to the Google Earth ruler, it's right at 55 feet at the narrowest part, a little too far to stretch w/out some supporting piles in the middle, but I'm no structural engineer, so what do I know?)  I'm sure the water is funky looking because of the lack of any vegetation in the lake as well as turbidity from being freshly filled. I'm looking forward to when Bing updates their imagery so I can see it when it's finished.   Google updates more frequently, seems like, but the detail won't be there like with Bing.

If you want to have a look-see at my property, go to these Bing Maps coordinates

Maybe whoever is building that will be my neighbor by the time that happens!  Off to buy my lottery ticket! (or, someone could give me the 4.5 million to buy the place.  If you don't want to give me the mucho dinero, then buy it and let me at least live in one of the little 1BR 1B cabins.  They look much nicer than the 1BR 1B hovel I'm living in now.  I'll feed the chickens for my rent, OK?)

March 18, 2012

Strange Blob on Radar

Some storms have been popping up in the region and I read on a Pampa woman's Facebook wall that she had seen storm chasing vehicles in town today, so I've been keeping an eye on the NWS Amarillo radar. We've been under a tornado watch since about three this afternoon.  Most of the storms are quite a ways away, down near Childress and moving on into Oklahoma. There are a few storms firing up near Perryton but they too are rapidly moving out of the area. I hope it stays calm; I'm not ready for a tornado. (now or any time)

The last few times I checked the radar, I saw an odd anomaly between here and Amarillo, close to White Deer. It looks like a small thunderstorm - most t-storms are ten miles or less in area - but it stayed in the same spot. The funny thing was it increased and then decreased in size when I set the radar in motion.

At first I thought it might be a grain elevator complex just to the north of Highway 60 - the distance looked about right, but I couldn't be certain, so I used the distance tool on the radar website and saw that it was around 17 miles from Pampa.

I then opened up Google Earth and measured 17 miles and realized the blob on the radar had to be caused by the Llano Estacado Wind Ranch™ near White Deer. I switched to street view in the application and couldn't see anything, but while the turbines can easily be seen from the highway, the closest one is around two miles away. The overhead view was better, however, and while a good side view of the turbines isn't available, they showed up, casting a long, detailed shadow.

July 19, 2009

Largest Lips in the World

And they're not Angelina Jolie's.

In the Darfur region of western Sudan. View in Google Maps.

Reminds me of the opening of Rocky Horror Picture Show.

January 23, 2009

Walking Through West

It's been years since I've been through West, Texas and but a couple of times in my life at that. The town is on a "lonesome" stretch of I-35 and the highway doesn't go through the town but instead zips around. It's very near a place I'd love to live and a few weeks back I thought I'd use the street view in Google Earth to see the places of interest in the town. The town doesn't have a very good resolution in their particular swath of satellite view, though.

A listing for a Chzeck restaurant caught my eye, so I clicked on the little orb in Google Earth to see what sort of building housed the eatery. According to the place mark, it was located very near or in the two story dilapidated house shown below.

A man walking caught my eye.

The Google van taking the photos took several photos going by the guy.

He glances over, reaches into his pocket.

Looks like he's shouting something, doesn't it?

The van rolls on, the man's hand returns to his jacket.

Up the same street, parking just down from the Family Dollar there's another figure coming out from beside a bright red car.

The van keeps snapping photos:

A little blurry, but it's a pretty young girl with her hair in a ponytail and I'd bet that was her car because it looks as though she's got keys in her hands.

She pays the Google van no attention.

And I'd bet she is looking at the back of her dusty car and thinking she needs to wash it.

She keeps going.

Right towards the guy walking down the street.

You should see the next few shots.

Or maybe not.

September 26, 2008

6-Man Football on the Map

View the public schools in Texas playing six-man football thanks to this post at the Google Earth Community.

To view in Google Earth, you will need the software, but it's also available in Google Maps.