Thursday, December 15, 2005

I can count your grain bins, neighbour...

...but you can't see my house.

My daughter downloaded Google Earth, and I've been snooping around. I overheard her friends talking to her on MSN while Googling the Earth, and saying "This is scary!" Actually, I think it's perhaps an improvement over the former situation, when satellite images (and higher resolution air photos, available for many decades now) were accessible only to those few who knew how to get them, and could pay the price. With this new tool, high-resolution satellite imagery is becoming familiar territory for almost anyone who uses the Internet.

The resolution of the imagery varies. This fact became quickly apparent, as I looked at the vague blurs that represent our farmyard and the general vicinity of our house in town, and then went south to check out some different coloured landscape that I had noticed during the zoom in. The Moose Mountains had guided me in, with their characteristic oval of green southwest of the big lakes in Manitoba. I snooped around Arcola and the south edge of the hills for a while, but I was curious about that brown strip that started south of town, near the creek. I thought at first that it looked like land under different cultivation, but there was no reason for a large-scale pattern like that. I quickly realized that it must be simply a different set of imagery, taken during a different season.

Well, it turned out to be very different imagery: much higher resolution. Like I said, neighbour, I can count your grain bins, without driving into your tree-shrouded yard. I think I see your truck parked in your driveway.


Madcap said...

My husband can spend HOURS on Google Earth! I think I've mentioned the "geo-porn" thing before; well, this has taken it to new heights.

Funny how some patches are high resolution and others seem to barely make the map. A lot of Africa is very clear, and in some of the villages the images are clear enough that you can actually see people walking beside the houses!

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