I Can See My Couch from Space

Have you seen the satellite version of Google Maps lately? If not, have a look. Of course you’re going to want to check out your house; it, or the condo or wherever you live will be in 3D.  Everything is rendered in 3D. There was a time, not to long ago, where independent model builders and digital designers would create 3-D models of famous structures in Earth while everything else was as flat as a pancake and often blurry.  Not any more…I guess those guys are out of a job.

So, we moved into a condo a few years ago with great, spacious terrace. It’s almost like having a back yard that’s paved. We bought some outdoor furniture with a nice L-shaped couch in a distinctive fabric. Well there she was, plain as day on Google maps. Heck, I could even read the Tim Hortons sign from the store unit across the street.

Here’s another example. The photo on the left was shot facing north from the 95th floor of the John Hancock building in Chicago. I’ve got other shots from around the building but I kinda like this one, with the water and the beach. The shot on the left was from Google Earth, at about the same height and point of view. The similarities are striking, especially the 3D rendering of the buildings. The only thing missing are the people and the cars.

As I write this, I’m watch The Right Stuff, a movie that recalls the glory days of the Mercury astronaut program, the pioneers of space. It is incredible to think of the tremendous personal sacrifices, the failed attempts, the billions of dollars invested in technology so that Google can show me pictures of my couch from space.