Not only is Google Earth a useful tool, it’s also a lot of fun. What sorts of things or places do you tend to look at purely for the entertainment value? I’ll bet one of the first things nearly everyone does is zoom in where they live and see how good the resolution is of their home. I’m guessing other popular things to look at are landmark structures – e.g. the Pyramids in Egypt, the Eiffel Tower, Red Square, or the former location of the Twin Towers.
Personally, I have a preoccupation with obscure and remote locations. For whatever reason I like to zoom in on small islands in the Hebrides, or in the Solomons, or look at the isolated settlements dotting the coast of the Arctic Ocean in the Northwest Territories, Alaska, or Siberia, or maybe some village in midst of the Gobi Desert. When I look at the tiny communities in such locations I wonder about the people’s lives that dwell there; why do they live there? What do they do for a living? What contact do they have with the ‘outside world’? What is their daily existence like?
Other things I find entertaining to do are to look at farms in different parts of the world and compare their shapes and layout and speculate how and why they assume the form they do. Military installations are always fun to look at – you can’t help but wonder how much benefit countries without satellites gain in terms of the intelligence Google Earth offers. Granted, the images are months old and only a moment captured in time, even so I could still see how such images could be of use (for the record, sensitive areas on US military installations don’t usually offer good resolution. e.g. take a look at Fort Knox, in Kentucky. No Goldfinger is going to be using Google Earth to plan his next heist! )
What do you look at when you use Google Earth?