Cybernaut 

Google to the Moon

If you haven’t had the pleasure of browsing through Google’s fascinating satellite maps, I suggest you drop everything and visit http://maps.google.com .

The Map feature works kind of like a conventional atlas, zooming into incredible detail in the U.S. and Canada – try zooming in on Whistler, and you’ll be amazed to find your street clearly marked in up to 50 metres of scale. This feature also works with Google Local, helping you find addresses and attractions.

Outside the U.S., the Atlas portion of the map is still pretty rudimentary, but it is, according to Google, a work in progress – realistically, every street in the world could be mapped within the next decade.

The Satellite feature is even cooler when applied to Whistler, although the extent of that particular satellite imagery stops at a scale of about 500 metres. Still, the golf courses, lakes and ski runs are clearly visible.

Using Whistler as a starting point, you can take a trip up Highway 99 to Duffey Lake Road, check out the Pemberton Ice Cap, or peer into the valleys beyond the Overlord Glacier in the Spearhead Traverse.

Or take a trip around the world – check out the dunes of the Sahara Desert, the Great Pyramids of Gaza, the Great Wall of China, Ularu and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Amazon River, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Everest, the Eiffel Tower, London Bridge, the Colosseum of Rome – it’s all there to see at varying scales. And while you’re browsing around, look for shaded areas – these are usually urban areas or other sites of interest, and means you can zoom in even closer.

Take the tour offered by Google to get a better idea how to use the maps, either to find street addresses, locate businesses or get directions from A to B. Several other websites are cropping up around the world that use Google maps for games, studies, and educational purposes. One popular game involves taking a shot of a map, and posting it for everyone to see. The first person to find that place on the Google Map, using the clues provided, wins.

You can visit almost anywhere in the world using Google Maps, but last week, on the 36 th anniversary of the moon landing, Google added a navigable Lunar map as well.

Compiled using photographs from NASA, you can check the maps out at http://moon.google.com . From there you can link to Google’s strange Corpernicus initiative, a semi-scientific project to set up a Google headquarters on the moon.

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