4.03.2006

Google Earth


Google Earth is one of my favorite internet musings. You can go absolutely anywhere in the world. It's the next step from the Atlas, but truthfully by "next step" I really mean next Universe. Who would've thought the "next step" would be so outstanding. I have always loved maps. I've actually had people become fearful and desperately mindful of the time when the question falls from my lips, "Where's your Atlas"... Replies range from the innocent and polite "Um... you know, haven't seen it in ages" to the more aggressive and blatant, "No. We cannot do this right now!"

I just spent the last two hours with Google earth. I remember places well and my sense of direction is fairly strong so I can navigate myself pretty decently anywhere I go. I don't forget places very easily, either. I just spent a half hour in Munich (summer '03) retracing my steps from a walking tour a friend and I took of pertinent places in Hitler's rise to power. I visited the meeting place of our group's gathering and took a walk through some main streets to get to the main train station. Found the art store I liked there. Found the toy store I had the most random coversation with a woman in (we discovered we knew a mutual friend from New York - maybe I'll write about that tomorrow). I strolled to the BMW pavilion and took the above ground route to my host home in the more suburban area. I went to Munich tonight because of Google Earth.

I also went to Prague. I found the Jewish ghetto where Franz Kafka was born and revisited my hotel. I found Jan Hus' monument and took a walk over the Charles Bridge to the Cathedral overlooking town because of Google Earth.

I went to Moscow just for a bit and saw Red Square and St. Basil's. Jess, I have a funny picture of you in front of Lenin's tomb somewhere. I forgot to look for the IKEA I remember off the expressway leaving the city. I forgot to look for this on Google Earth.

I went to Split, Croatia and walked through Diocletian's palace . Tried to go to Livno, Bosnia but the image was bad. I went to Krakow, Poland. I went to Vladimir, Russia. I went to Vienna, Austria. I went to Sudan and Kenya because of the book I just finished. On a more local level, I went to the spring of the Mississippi river and followed it home. I would like to revisit London and Dublin, Victoria Fall and Durban. I may visit Tokyo tomorrow. I may not. But I can.

It takes seconds to cross and ocean and get somewhere other . My mind is gone in moments. It takes no time at all... thanks to Google Earth.

4 comments:

Jess said...

Ha...Lenin's tomb. That was an awesome trip. And I love maps and google earth too...what a fun way to travel the world!

kate said...

jenn - you and the atlas are a dangerous pair. i still have no idea what happened to that atlas. you have inspired me, and i too have spent some significant time taking spencer reynolds on a tour of all the places i traveled in latin america. and since he is working on his australian accent, i have promised him a tour of the land down under. it is good that all it costs me is some laptop battery.

Scottie said...

Jennifer Freakin' Swift! I was wondering how to get ahold of you, but now I can just relax. What has been up? I don't think I've talked to you in over a year (last time was at that Youngstown place).

I'm borderline addicted to Google Earth too. I spend alot of time retracing my steps in the QC and Florida when I get homesick, which is most of the time. We haven't done much traveling in the UK yet (but, when you're near Cambridge, you really don't have to go far). We'll go to London soon, before the baby gets here in September.

Anyways, my e-mail is scottie_in_the_uk@yahoo.com, feel free to e-mail me. I want to see what you've been up to and how that artist's group is going that you started. Bye for now!

Holly said...

Just another strange thing we have in common. NPR..now maps...I like you more every day. My dad birthed the obsession in me and I've now passed it down to Elijah. I've never experienced Google Earth... no doubt it will become as much of an obsession as blogging?