Some of the sights you find in Google Earth are just plain mysterious. For example, why is a fighter jet parked (Google Earth coordinates 48.825183,2.1985795) in what looks to be a residential neighborhood lot near Paris? And why is this lake in Iraq (33.39845000,44.48416800) blood red?
Sometimes Google Earth is lucky enough to catch things as they happen. Here Google Earth captures a truck that crashed (Google Earth coordinates 46.765669,-100.79274) outside of Bismarck, North Dakota. In another instance, Google Earth caught fishermen illegally bottom-trawling (28.102512,-14.265835) beaches near Spain’s Canary Islands.
The unblinking eyes of the satellites record not only human achievements, but our less successful moments as well. One example is this huge ship (Google Earth coordinates 30.541634,47.825445) floating on its side after a maritime accident in the waters of Basrah, Iraq.
For aviation buffs, Google Earth offers the unique ability to spot airplanes in midair. One Google Earth Community has Placemarks for more than 3300 planes in flight, including this World War II bomber (Google Earth coordinates 52.336392,-0.1953462) flying over Huntingdon, England.
Google Earth doesn’t have advertising, unless you consider the corporate logos and trademarks big enough to be seen from space. This giant Ford logo (Google Earth coordinates 42.302284,-83.231215) is found near (where else?) Detroit, Michigan. You think that’s big? Check out the massive Coca-Cola logo (-18.529225,-70.25002) etched into a hillside in Chile with 70,000 Coke bottles. Haven’t they heard of recycling?
Nothing can replace hopping in a plane and going somewhere, but Google Earth gives you a small taste of what you might see when you visit some of the world’s tourist destinations. This spectacular shot shows Victoria Falls (Google Earth coordinates -17.925511,25.858223) on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Other virtual destinations worth flying over are Mt. Everest (27.985866,86.92844) and Mt. Kilimanjaro (-3.0726042,37.343093).
Google’s satellites sometimes catch the Earth’s inhabitants on the move, like these ten African elephants (Google Earth coordinates 10.903497,19.93229).
Think parking is tough where you live? In Westenbergstraat, Netherlands, drivers apparently have to park on the sides of walls (Google Earth coordinates 52.069207,4.3139865).
National Geographic partnered with Google Earth on a project called Africa Megaflyover. The magazine has made more than 500 high-resolution images accessible through Google Earth, including this close-up view (Google Earth coordinates 15.298693,19.429661) of camels and their caretakers taking a water break in Nigeria.
Spend enough time on Google Earth, and you start thinking that the world is a pretty low-resolution place. But Google Earth is steadily updating its maps with high-resolution pictures. Zoom in on this Google Earth satellite shot of Australia’s Bondi Beach (Google Earth coordinates -33.892351,151.27538), and you can almost read the designer labels on the bikinis.
If you’re in the intelligence business, Google Earth makes hiding big things nearly impossible. This image is believed to be of a 1.8-square-mile scale model of a disputed region on the border of China and India. Google Earth spotters found it in a remote area in north central China (Google Earth coordinates 38.265652,105.9517). One theory on why this model exists comes from the Australian publication The Age, which reported that the scale model is used to train tank drivers.
As if Oprah Winfrey’s celebrity weren’t big enough already, an Arizona farmer built a 10-acre homage to the talk show host (Google Earth coordinates 33.225488,-111.5955). Visitors can tell their friends, “I got lost inside Oprah’s head.”
Without a doubt, the best thing that ever happened to crop circles is Google Earth. This circle in the desert just outside Beatty, Nevada (Google Earth coordinates 37.401437,-116.86773), is one of hundreds spotted with the software.
This giant pink bunny (Google Earth coordinates 44.244273,7.769737) in Prata Nevoso, Italy, was built by a group of artists from Vienna, according to published accounts. It’s 200 feet long and answers to the name “Hare.”
Dubbed The Badlands Guardian by locals, this geological marvel (Google Earth coordinates 50.010083,-110.113006) in Alberta, Canada, bears an uncanny resemblance to a human head wearing a full Native American headdress–and earphones, to boot. Of course, The Guardian was produced naturally.
Caught an image of grass fire on google maps. This is above Africa in the Republic of the Congo just east of Kikwit.
PHOTO CREDIT:Tom Spring, PC World Jul 9, 2007, http://www.pcworld.com/article/134186-16/in_pictures_the_strangest_sights_in_google_earth.html