I may be the last to discover this, but Google Maps has a really cool (and somewhat scary) feature available. It’s a bird’s eye or street view function. You have to zoom in all the way and then double click the map to activate street view mode. I’ve included a print screen image while viewing inside Stonehenge. You will notice I am not on the outside looking in; I am in the middle of the structure. I was actually quite surprised to be able to get this close at Stonehenge. Most of the cities I’ve tested this with, the views are from a moving vehicle riding down the streets and capturing images.
This feature may not appeal to your average blogger, but if you’re also a fiction writer, this could be a very useful tool when it comes to describing a city that you’ve never visited. You can see the engravings in architecture, details in street lamps, the names of the streets, the surroundings. It’s just a really cool feature. This is not the most comprehensive review I’ve written. I guess I’m like a kid in a candy store brimming with excitement. But those who know me will tell you I’m often like a kid in a candy store.
I did discover that not all locations have this feature available. Cities such as Moscow, Frankfurt Germany, and Cairo Egypt are a few I tried to see. I don’t know if these countries will not allow their streets to be captured this way or if those cities just aren’t available at this time.
The scary part I mentioned earlier? Well anyone can now see the layout of towns and cities and learn their way around without actually visiting. I do wonder about the safety of cities in light of many bombings and attacks over the last decade. Other than that concern, it’s a really awesome feature. In fact, I’ve spent way too much time there playing around and “walking” the streets of London and Paris. But, I also thought it’d make a cool post to share with everyone.
Now go play and then come back and let us know your thoughts. We’d love to hear about your “travels.”