Being a news guy, I do my best to keep up on current events, especially those that affect this community.
That’s why I sheepishly bring you this news, which I’m sure it isn’t “breaking news” to some of you.
It’s about Google Earth, that free program that lets you see satellite images of any spot on the globe.
It’s great software and fascinating to use.
You just type in an address or click on a map and zoom right to the spot. It’s loads of fun to visit familiar places, famous landmarks even check out the backyards of homes you lived in decades ago.
Sounds neat, huh?
There was just one problem, at least for this area. The local satellite photos hadn’t been updated in years. In the photos of downtown Oneida, for example, City Lanes, which burned down April 22, 2007 was still standing.
If that weren’t bad enough, the photos weren’t just old, the resolution was low. As you would zoom it the pictures would quickly get fuzzy.
|From The top: VVS High School, OHS High School, Casolwood Golf Course, Turning Stone Casino - Resort, Sylvan Beach, and The Dispatch Building on Broad Street in Oneida. That's my Jeep in the red circle.|
But no more. Google Earth now has fresher, higher resolution photos of the local area, taken on June 6, 2011 and July 21, 2011.
I hope this heralds a change bringing more frequent updates, but I’m tempering my expectations. Truth be told, when Google decides how much attention our area warrants compared to the rest of the world, we have many factors working against us. Some are fair and some aren’t. They include:
• We’re not an economic powerhouse like Los Angeles, Manhattan, Geneva or Hong Kong.
• We’re not densely populated like Tokyo, Taiwan or Miami.
• Does anyone working at the Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif., consider Upstate New York anything more than something you fly over when you go “back east?”
• Aerial photos are only useful when they’re taken when the sky as clear. What percentage of the time is that true? If it’s cloudy when the satellite passes over, we’re SOL until the next time it comes through.
All this aside, Google Earth is a must have, and at free, the price can’t be beat. It runs on Mac, Windows, iOS and Android. It’s easy to figure out how to use it, but you should have a fairly recent computer, because it takes a bit of oomph to manipulate those big photo files.
Get Google Earth: earth.google.com