Random Asides

Stalk Your Friends With Google Earth

There are many ways to stalk your “friends” these days. The Facebook, My Space, and cell phones with GPS devices are a few examples of modern stalking tools. Google Earth is another tool you can use to stalk your “friends.” You can look up where they live, where they work, where they go on vacation, etc. and then tell them things about these places. When they ask how you know, you can creepily reply, “because I can see you. Or, rather, my satellite can see you.” You just have to hope the images on Google Earth are recent enough to cull out important details. Also, you might want to make sure that your new “friend” doesn’t know where you live so that the cops don’t show up at your door too quickly.

When a new acquaintance tells me where they live, I sometimes look them up on Google Earth. So far, I’ve resisted slyly asking my new friends, “So, do your neighbors still have a red car?” or, “Can we have a barbecue on that great back porch at your apartment?” and such. I don’t want people to think I’m too strange. But it is fun to look at where people live, and Google Earth is so easy to use.

One of my favorite forms of procrastination is playing with Google Earth. Because I am a geologist, I feel less guilty about this form of procrastination than other activities. At least I’m learning more about the Earth, right? Now that I live in Boston, I also often use Google Earth to find my way around. The aerial views are fantastic for navigation by foot. I used Google Earth to find my way to the dentist the other day. None of these silly street maps– aerial maps are the way to go!

For those of you who will be stalking Rebecca and myself on Monday night, here are a couple of images to help you along. Just head to the little dot that says, “Redline.” We’ll be there.

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Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

And, just for kicks, here’s a picture of where I am right now. Do you see me? I’m waving to you out my office window. Really. Just look harder. Look fast, though. I need to return to my giant magnet and my crystals.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


Evelyn is a geologist, writer, traveler, and skeptic residing in Cape Town, South Africa with frequent trips back to the US for work. She has two adorable cats; enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking; and has a very large rock collection. You can follow her on twitter @GeoEvelyn. She also writes a geology blog called Georneys.

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  1. Google Earth is one of my favorite time wasters too. I'm not extroverted (or some kind of 'verted) enough to stalk other people with it, though.

  2. I waste a HUGE amount of time in Google Earth. Using Google Earth, I discovered the the university where I did a summer abroad program in Siberia in 1992 was just a few km from two ICBM sites. It's also really useful for planning bike tours, which I did in Mexico last December. However, the satellite images don't always make it clear which roads are one-way, the wrong way (as I discovered).

    You can find some lovely natural and artificial art in GE, such as:

    53.53174 N 1.35672 W (It must have been aliens!)

    and this one was in the news recently:

    50.0102 N 110.1138 W

    I use this image in my archaeoastronomy course– we look for astronomical alignments at the temple of Ur:

    30.96267 N 46.10314

    Great fun…

  3. February 10, 2007 at 2:26 am, mfaison wrote:

    "and this one was in the news recently:

    50.0102 N 110.1138 W"

    Someone drove around there just to make it look like an ear …

  4. I can't wait until this is in real time. It'll be amazing.

    Granted it will also be super creepy…. but I'm willing to accept the creepy level for the chasing your freinds through the streets in a complex game of cops and robbers level.

  5. I always thought NASA World Wind was pretty cool, too. It doesn't have the same level of detailed aerial imagery as GE, but there are tons of GIS layers and other stuff you can throw on top of the pretty pictures.

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