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Take a free flight over Marietta

May 3, 2008 - Art Smith
Google is offering free flights over Marietta.

No, the popular search engine has not gone completely mad. The flights are not real, they are virtual.

Google Earth, a free application available for Macs and PC, provides stunning views of Marietta and the rest of the planet.

Google Earth is a remarkable project that takes thousands of photos from aerial photos from around the world and merges them to become one planet. This allows the users to literally fly from global view to a street level one in a few seconds.

The program is loaded with features that add to the user experience. A user can add landmarks to the images for instance, you can overlay the current weather on the globe, obscuring areas until you “fly” below the clouds, you can even add terrain to the globe.

Terrain puts hill and valleys where they belong allowing the user to dip into the Grand Canyon or explore the rim of a volcano. I’ve used it to help my children study. I hope area teachers find it useful in the classroom. It sure beats the pull down wall maps we had as kids.

Since Google gets their images from different sources, some have more detail than others. Some areas of the Earth are extremely sharp at the street level while others are a blurry mess.

Until a few months ago Marietta fell into the blurry mess category.

Not any more. The images of Marietta are stunning. They appear to have been taken during the winter of 2006-2007. The leaves are off the trees. Dawes Library at Marietta College can still be seen even though it was torn down last summer. My dad put a fence up in his Aurora Street front yard a few years ago. It’s clearly visible in the photo, as is his blue van.

Take a short flight to Parkersburg in Google Earth and you will find it still falls into the “blurry mess” category

The Google Earth project started 10 years ago and continues to grow. It one of the remarkable tools that allows Internet users to not only explore their world, but literally their own back yard.


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On top of Harmar Hill, looking towards downtown.


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