June 13, 2005

Mindless Google Maps fun

I love Google Maps. Operating the site is simplicity itself. Drag the cursor to pan around. Use the slider to zoom in or out. Click "Map" or "Satellite" to switch between views. Type an address into the search bar and get a little "push pin" graphic pointing directly to your destination.

I have spent literally hours just zooming in and out looking for landmarks, famous attractions, historic sites, even friends' houses. It's a real timewaster! I've made a game of finding them with as little help as possible: relying primarily on my knowledge of geography, visualizing what landmarks would look like from space, identifying shadows, etc. (Using the search bar to get a pointer would be cheating.

Some of these American landmarks were easy to locate; others were a real challenge. Can you find:

  • the Chrysler Building?
  • "Old Ironsides"?
  • Walt Disney World?
  • the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center?
  • the Sears Tower?
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
  • the Sunsphere?
  • Graceland?
  • the Gateway Arch?
  • Mount Rushmore?
  • the AMARC "Boneyard"?
  • Caesar's Palace?
  • the Seattle Space Needle?
  • the TransAmerica Pyramid?
  • the Hollywood sign?

Unfortunately, at this time Google Maps covers only North America, and primarily urban territory in the United States, at that. So there's no chance of seeing Picadilly Circus, the Eiffel Tower, or the Sydney Opera House at this time. But can you find these Canadian landmarks?

  • Lions' Gate Bridge?
  • Calgary Tower?
  • Portage and Main?
  • the Big Nickel?
  • Toronto City Hall?
  • Parliament Hill?
  • Olympic Stadium?
  • Chateau Frontenac?
  • Province House?
  • the Halifax Citadel?

If you want a real challenge, try what I've been trying to do for ages: spot an airplane in flight. Or see if you can find pictures of some of the USAF's niftier aircraft (the B-52s sitting on the desert at AMARC don't count), or even Barbra Streisand's Malibu mansion (remember her suing that coastline conservationist for taking pictures of her beachfront property a few years ago?). I've found all the above, not always without difficulty. Still looking for flying planes, though.

Postscript: Name this site, if you can.